Technically it wasn’t my first work trip. I’ve travelled to Kuala Lumpur, alone, once before. But being on an hour flight, and being in a Muslim country. I didn’t feel alone most of the time. So the work trip to KL was okay for me.
But the boss decides to drop the bomb on me, 2 weeks prior that is – that I will be heading up to Hong Kong for a week, as a representative from our local office. I was, ecstatic.. not.
In just 2 weeks, I had to prep myself. We were already busy with work itself here, locally, so it didn’t help that I had no time at all to figure out where to go, to find Halal food, etc.
But my bosses gave me an assurance that they would take care of me there, so I thought okay. Leave to HIS will. For whatever happens – only happens cause HE wills for it too right? So with prayers, I went for this trip. Almost crying like a baby when my parents sent me off at the Airport. (Read: I am not that young anymore)
So I was there from 13th till 17th Feb, home-sicked on the 2nd day. Haha. I am such a spoil child, at heart I guess.
Upon arriving in Hong Kong – as per advised by everyone else, I got out from the Arrival Gate. Went to get myself an Octopus card from the very tourist friendly information counter near the Airport Express Train. On board the Train, to the Hong Kong MTR Station. I almost took a cab from the station to my hotel which was located in Sheung Wan. But I was advised by my friend that there’s free shuttle buses from the Hong Kong station to few hotels. I checked – and tada! Save my monies, when I found out about this. I was contemplating though, when I was still in the express train, I was telling myself to just forget about it and hop into a cab – cause it was already evening by the time I arrived in Hong Kong. But upon tapping out from the Hong Kong MTR station – the shuttle bus waiting area was, just there. Haha! I approached one of the staff there and he asked me which hotel I was staying and directed me to the bus waiting area! Woohooo!
I was thinking – is this similar to the shuttle bus / airport limousine in Seoul? But nope, haha! I had to lug my own luggage up and off the bus, on my own.
Thanks Hong Kong, thanks.
Anyhoot, I arrived at the door step of my hotel safe and sound of course.
Which then after checking in, I went to the area near Hysan and got myself a Halal Indonesian Restaurant meal along with my superiors.
Through out the whole week, I was mostly occupied with work. So I was up and about from 7am till 2 in the afternoon. Short break in the evening, before continuing at 9pm till 1 – 2am in the morning. So sightseeing was already not in my itinerary, as I was telling myself that I want to lie on bed, alllllll day if there was a rest day. So I didn’t explore Disney Land, nor the mosque or whatever. I was just around the Central, Sheung Wan, Hysan, Harbour City area – most of the time.
This city reminds me a lot of my home country- just that their first language is not English. It was a bit hard for me, as even when I am speaking Chinese Mandarin (Singapore standard of course!), no one understands me. I just stick to my colleague who was kind enough to company everywhere I go, over there. Bless the kind soul, that he is. 🙂
In terms of Halal Food – there are plenty, actually. I was quite surprised. I was so worried that I can’t find my way around that I bought myself a electric hot pot – that was so useful! Mak’s sambal and rendang comes in handy of course. So since most of the time, I am back at the hotel room.
Anyway, Around the Chungking Mansion there’s loads of tourists friendly, and middle eastern food. Somehow, it didn’t remind much of Itaewon! (Again not being bias please!) There was a few Indonesian / Middle Eastern Restaurant that was around the area. And yes, how can I forget the Halal Popeye’s at Hong Kong International Airport? Ah yes, the infamous Halal Dim Sum at the Masjid (Islamic Centre) near Hysan Place MTR Station..
But in terms of living, what did this city left me with a remarkable impression?
I’ve travelled to Seoul so many times. Not being bias, but it is a warm (not technically!) country with ahjummas / ahjussis looking at you – asking where are you from and telling your headscarf is pretty, etc. The main point is, Interaction. I was probably expecting people to smile at me, without judging me, when I smiled at them. But sadly, it did not happened to me in Hong Kong. When I smiled at a stranger there – either they hesitant to smile back or they just looked away. So I was, to be honest, disappointed.
So yes, Hong Kong reminds me of my home county. Except that all the signboards there – are un-readable by me. Cause of the language barrier. And people here are not thatttt friendly. 😦 I was there when the weather went as cold as 9 Deg! So, cold weather + cold people = not very impressive please!
So sorry Hong Kong. I thought of coming back, but now I am thinking twice about it.