Tuesday, February 24, 2009

leaving for hong kong

after spending a very "normal" birthday, i wake up the next day all excited about my hong kong trip. i got up at around 5am, plenty of time to get to NAIA terminal 3 at 6, just two hours before our flight.

unlike the last time, the whole check-in procedure went well this time, since we already knew where the travel tax counters were. and because we were there at such an early hour, we didn't have to wait long. we checked in, paid the terminal fee, then went through immigration.

more restaurants can now be found in the pre-departure area, and i almost bought myself a jamaican beef pattie until i saw that one beef original cost P60. so i just settled for miso soup at the japanese stall, which went for just P35.

flight left a few minutes late, and i found more interesting cebu pacific merchandise, most especially the little coin purses. i wanted to get the HKG one, but they only had the orange CEB. maybe next time. i wasn't even interested in joining the contest this time--didn't like the prize.

we encountered some turbulence during the flight, just as i was on the toilet peeing. it's no fun when you hear the pilot declare that the fasten seatbelt sign is on and that no one should attempt to go to the lavatories, while you try to keep yourself from falling off the best seat in the house.

but we got to hong kong safe and sound, with me getting more and more excited as i take a whiff of the sweet hong kong international airport air. immigration lines were long, but i felt like jumping already. at baggage claim, i was amused to find that they neatly lined up our luggage, all orderly-like.

we located an atm, got our HKDs, and tried to figure out where the buses were. i suddenly found myself in a bad mood, which meant that i was hungry. so we stopped by cafe de coral, where i ate noodles with mushroom, and all was well again with the world. it took us a while to figure out where the buses to the city were, but we figured it out.

Monday, February 23, 2009

i went to hong kong for my birthday, and all i got was a lousy hat

actually, my hat is far from lousy. it was a great buy, it makes me look fab, and it helped me mesh a little with the hongkee landscape. :D

but apart from that, shopping in hong kong is hell. it should not be attempted by those who have limited funds, like me. i had brought a small amount of money, intending to go the full budget mile, but it was kind of painful when you're bombarded by designer brands left and right.

while shopping has gotten incredibly expensive, food is still cheap in hong kong. HKD 60 per meal is quite enough, sometimes even more than enough. the key is to not be picky, and try out the dodgy-looking places. we ate in a carinderia in the old stanley market area, and i ordered a filling chinese mushroom noodle bowl for just HKD 16. so what if i just saw a rat scamper away from the stall?

another good way to get the most of hong kong is to never, ever discount the establishments on the upper floors of every building. the well-renovated and shiny facade of the shops on the ground floor are just a mere prelude to the gems that you can find when you climb the dingy stairs up the old, tall buildings. susie discovered mykonos cafe along granville road this way while trying to look for a restroom in the middle of the busy shopping street. it's a cozy little nook on the fourth floor of one of those buildings that offer fresh tea and fried cuttle fish. it's a weird combination, i know, but it was delicious.

we also made the most bang for our buck this trip because we didn't use the MTR much. as in love as i was with this efficient HK train, it became a little too much to bear on my pockets, so susie and i tried out the tram instead. it was also actually the only form of transpo that could access our hotel. those 20 minutes spent inside the tram going to and from central were one of the most relaxing parts of our vacation, and it offered us a great view of hong kong for just HKD 2 per ride.

susie and i also skipped on the museums this time, visiting only one far-flung museum in the new territories. it was our first time on the east tsim sha tsui rail, and we ended up in quiet tai wo, where the railway museum is located. if you must find yourself in these parts, don't forget to stock up on water here. it costs a third of the cost of bottled water in central and TST. even my clump of bananas cost much, much less here.

the rest of the time, we were just walking along the city, visiting parks, taking some time to rest and eat, or down a bottle or two in a bar while talking about this busy, busy city. i got to see some of the famous malls this time, but made no move to do some shopping. it was very hard for me to part with HKD 200 for one shirt.

i found myself shedding a tear when we were on board the bus to the airport. hong kong just feels like home. no matter which part of hong kong i'm plunked in, i never feel lost. as tiring as it is, i revel in the fast pace, not feeling the exhaustion until the end of the day. there's just so much to see and do, that i can't bring myself to slow down.

so definitely, i'll be back.

Friday, February 13, 2009

hong kong excitement

it's less than a week before i leave for hong kong, probably my favoritest city in the world. it's my second time to spend my birthday season there, and i'm hoping that i get to see new places this time.

but i want this hong kong trip to be more relaxing than the last. that, however, hasn't stopped me from trying to figure out every last detail on how to get from one point to the next. this is my first time staying in the western district, and i want to know how to get around before i get there.

that's where the loveliness of the internet comes in. a simple google search of "western district, hong kong" has yielded a very useful map of hong kong central and the western district. i've been zooming in and out of the map, scrolling left and right, looking for the places i want to go to.

i was also really happy when i found out that we get a chance to use the hong kong tram, since our part of western district is too far west that the MTR doesn't even reach there. the hong kong tram is a much cheaper alternative, costing just HKD 2 per ride, no matter where you get off. you can check out the hong kong tram route map to see where it can take you. speed, of course, is a problem, but since i'm not in a hurry, then it's a nice, leisurely, and cheap way to see hong kong. :)

counting down the days before i gotta go! to hong kong! :D

Sunday, February 1, 2009

i've got tickets!

wow, 2009 is promising to be an entertaining year, with me having tickets to different shows left and right. i just got tickets to the ccp dance gala for friday, and i'm watching videos of jeremy clarkson et al to get ready for top gear live in hong kong.

last week, i also got to watch keo woolford's i-land. it was entertaining, but nothing memorable. what i won't forget, though, is his body--completely devoid of fat! all muscle, and his hula moves were pretty smooth.

anyway, going back to my tickets. i'm pretty psyched to see the dance gala. i haven't seen a dance show in a while, the last was when i was in college, i believe. the show is entitled turning... turning 40, and i'll get to see performances by ballet philippines, philippine ballet theater, ballet manila, and the ramon obusan folkloric group.

now as for top gear live, this is mostly due to susie and ger, who are so excited to watch top gear live in HK. susie's pretty lucky our trip coincided with the show dates. it's a good thing there's a buy two, free one promo, so i'll be taking the free ticket while they both ooh and aah at the HKCEC. to be fair to them, i am loving the show; at least the ones i've watched on the top gear website, so far.

february just started, and i'm already off to see two more shows! i'm really excited for the ccp dance gala, but will keep an open mind for the testosterone-y treat that is top gear live! :D

photo taken by g!