Oh, man. Just found out that it’s not quite time to relax yet. I thought I just had to make it to Friday and I was home free, but alas, no such luck. Next week there is a holiday, so I get a day off of work! However, to compensate I have to work Saturday and Sunday. Blah, a 7-day work week is the most fitting way for this month to go out, isn’t it? March is determined to totally wear me out.
The good news is that I have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off! And then I’m a mere 2 days from the weekend again! So, next week is looking pretty alright, and from there hopefully things will return to normalcy. The even better news is that Kevin has Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off, meaning we have a full two days to spend together! With our opposite schedules we have not had that much time together since Chinese New Year. We might just have to go away. And by away I mean one of the several day/2-day trips around Chengdu that we’ve been wanting to take but never have time. Maybe. We’ll see. Even if we just bum around the city it will be nice to be able to relax together. Just gotta make it until Monday..
To keep on trucking through my HK visit I wanted to post some pictures of downtown Hong Kong Island. Downtown HK definitely has a different vibe than Kowloon- it feels business-y and sophisticated. It’s the next area I visited as it’s where the visa office is located.
I thought HK island was gorgeous! There was green everywhere and the buildings seemed new and fresh and clean. I loved how the traffic is much more manageable, and there are pedestrian bridges everywhere to lessen the probability that you will get run over by a car (which I think is unusually high in Chengdu, but maybe it just feels that way). Also, if I haven’t made it perfectly clear, I LOVED the public transportation. The new/clean/easy-to-use metro/bus/ferry combo makes getting around town SO easy! I was seriously worried about my ability to navigate by myself. I am the girl who had to hail a cab coming back (completely soberly) from a restaurant that I go to all the time because I made a wrong turn a few blocks from my street and became completely lost. But I needn’t have worried; HK is user friendly. I am completely in love with good public transportation systems. And the Octopus Card, which works EVERYWHERE, was pretty much my best friend.
Getting my visa was easy and straightforward. Despite the map being very clear and the area being well labeled (there are signs all over HK pointing you in the direction of important places and tourist attractions), I still managed to be confused about where to go. Luckily, there was a information desk which was very helpful. There was a huge line outside the visa office both times I went, but it went by really fast. The whole process was simple.
While in the business district, I decided to grab some lunch. I started to search around for a place recommended in my guidebook called Maxim’s Palace. They have a lunch dim sum special that was very affordable. Dim sum is a great way to try some upscale food in HK at very reasonable prices. Lunch dim sum tends to be very affordable, costing around HKD20-40 per order (~$3-7), even at places where the food on the regular menu would totally obliterate my budget. Plus, I learned, dim sum is absolutely delicious. It’s now on my top favorite foods list. Dim sum is definitely best eaten in a group so you can sample many different things, but I only had me so I tried to eat as much as I could on my own (although I never managed to get past 2 dishes and wasted food when I pushed for 3).
Anyway, Maxim’s Palace was the best meal I ate while I was in HK. I had the best steamed pork buns ever, this delicious, soft, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth fried turnip cake, and some egg tarts which I didn’t mean to order but were good anyway. The thing is, on my way to Maxim’s I got stuck in an elevator and had a semi-serious panic attack. I have been waiting for this to happen to me since I got to China but wasn’t expecting it to happen in the brand new, totally modern building I was wandering around trying to find this restaurant. It was pretty traumatic, although apparently much less so for the 7 HK businessmen who were in there with me who looked a bit surprised/uncomfortable with my obvious discomfort (we laughed it off later when I almost cried with joy as the doors opened). The point is, I was totally shaken up when I found the place a few minutes later. Like, chopsticks shaking. And I kept dropping things, so I felt self conscious. So I ordered some egg tarts on accident. And I didn’t get up the nerve to whip out my camera and take pictures of the place. But I should have. It was totally adorable. And the food was great!
I did manage to get a picture at Yung Kee, another guidebook recommendation that was totally amazing. The regular menu prices almost made me have another panic attack, but the dim sum was quite reasonable. My meal was about HKD 110 (~$15), and I got a pot of tea. I realize the picture looks very white and not totally exciting, but I couldn’t steer away from the buns! SO delicious! And I had big dreams of ordering more food but promptly got full about 10 bites in. Those buns have a lot of bread! Again, no regrets. I was a very happy eater in Hong Kong.