Hong Kong

The last stop of my Hong Kong trip is Hong Kong. Now one of the great thing I like about Hong Kong is its transportation system. You can go from any point to any point in Hong Kong just by using its public transport. And you don’t have to wait for the trains to come. They arrive at the station every 2 minutes.


My objective was to get from A (Siu Hong) to B (Wan Chai). There are many ways to get there.


Thou shall not shower in the morning in hong kong. Remember this well.


Early morning on the bus to Wan Chai.


I woke up at 8 to get ready to go into the city. Its quite far from
where I stay so it requires the changing of some modes of
transportation. First I take the light rail then I need to switch to
the 960 bus. The 960 bus will stop near wan chai station. The wan chai
station is about 5 minutes walk away.


The Peak is within walking distance from the Wan Chai Station.



Looking at the number of containers will scare the numbers out of you.


907: It is cold this morning. Hopefully when the sun comes up it won’t
be so bad. I will be going to have a look at the peak probably.


They have Watsons here as well.


Morning view from Wan Chai Ferry Pier.


Early morning traffic.

1108: having my breakfast at mcdonalds at wan chai which is a busy
place at the city. Really interesting to see the working class going
about their daily errands. I will be walking towards the wan chai
metro to get to the peak. Really regretted not bringing the gps along.
Had it in my bag at home but I thought I didnt need it with all those
maps. Have to rely on my map reading skills now.


Check out the rentals!


Witnessed a demonstration.


Sometime later while walking around wan chai looking for the wan chai
mtr station, I stumbled upon one market that resembles our petaling
street but without gangster VCD sellers.


PCCW is always there.


One of the buildings participating in the Symphony of Lights.

After some shopping. I took the mtr to central station. From there I
exited from exit j2 and I took a walk to the peak.


One big motor to pull the tram up.


The tram driver.


In the tram.


Tram on its way to the peak.

Actually to the
peak’s ground station. We have to take a tram that will take us up
4000 feet to the highest point in hong kong. The tram goes almost
vertical at one point. The whole journey takes about 5 minutes.


This is how Hong Kong looks like from 4000ft in the afternoon.


Cold but not freezing cold. Weather should be perfect during summer here.

The
view here is incredible. The weather is perfect. The occasional cold
winds are inviting. One day I will have a house here overlooking hong
kong.


St John’s cathedral.


Informative road signs.

1543: I’m finally done at the peak. Now I will be going to find some
cheap (hopefully) electronics stuff at sham Sui po. Then I will be
heading to wan chai to have a look at the symphony of lights at 8pm.
Hope the camera battery lasts.


Golden Electronics Center, for cheap electronics.

When there is exquisity, there will be people there to rip you off. I
noticed one camera shop at the peak offering charging services. Hk30
for half charge. Hk60 for a full charge. If that’s not ripping people
off, its daylight robbery. Should invent a solar charger for cameras
soon.

To get from the peak to sham Sui po, its a short walk thru hong kong
garden to the admirality station and then take the mtr to central then
switch to the turn wan line and take to the sham Sui po station.

Golden computer center is the place to look for everything computers.
They sell at a pretty cheap price as well. And every next shop is
selling iPhones. No kidding, you can buy an iPhone anywhere you want
in hong kong. I didnt ask how much it would cost though I estimate it
to be around hk5300 which is about rm2300.

Had dinner at mcdonalds. Really, mcdonalds is everywhere. I was
thinking of dinner at mcdonalds and when I exit golden computer
center, there it was, right in front of me.

Note to self: octopus reload stations only accept hk50 and hk100 notes.

1857: I’m at the hong kong cultural center already, waiting for the
symphony of lights. The trip here requires me to take the mtr to tsim
sha tsui. At tsim sha tsui, exit at the j5 exit and walk towards the
harbour bank. You can’t miss it. Just follow the blinding lights.


The roads tell you exactly where to look before crossing.

Joel was right, this is indeed a good place to look at the city’s
night skyline. Its like nothing I’ve seen before. Its like Singapore,
but at a larger scale. Buildings and companies are competing for
advertisement space by building large and colorful electronic signs.
This is also a place where hongkees hang out at night. I would hang
out here just to see the lights everynight if I can.


The symphony of lights lasted 15 minutes. I really wonder how they
turn on and off the lights on those buildings. Overall it was
something out of the ordinary for me. After that I started to make my
way back. First from tsim sha tsui to Mei foo then to siu hong. Packed
everything because tomorrow early morning I’ll be heading off to the
airport early. I should book a later flight next time. But I have a
cameron trip to catch so it wasn’t an option for me.


Look at all the parked planes behind!

Anyways, early taxi tomorrow to the bus station to take a bus that
goes direct to the airport. I think I will miss hong kong and china.
It might be because of the nice weather, or the people, or the sights
it has to offer, or the ease of transportation. Or maybe its because
of the surprises that are in store for me everytime i visit someplace
new. It has been such a great eye opener for me. I need to spend more
time here next time. There’s still plenty to discover about hong kong
and china. And I need to find better things to eat other than
mcdonalds. Time to brush up on my Cantonese.

Will definately try and book an earlier flight next time. The weather
is freezing cold here. Morning forcast was around 15 degrees Celsius.

Made my way to the airport using taxi. My aunt figured it was too cold
to wait for the bus. So I arrived at the airport at 645am for my 915am
flight. Had breakfast at burgerking. My flight will board soon. Using
the free wifi here for the time being.


Nice weather. At least we’re not flying into a typhoon.

Arrived in kl at exactly 1255pm. Its good to be home.

Previous: Macao: Casino Heaven Continue reading

Firefox kills

Now this should be the funniest story I’ve read about detentions. You can get detentions for not doing your homework, for beating someone up, for taking drugs, for not listening to teachers. But getting detention for using Firefox? What’s next? Getting expelled for using OpenOffice in Linux to compile your project paper?

Source: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/ha/high-schooler-gets-detention-for-using-firefox-334477.php Continue reading

Macao: Casino Heaven

I never understood why people want to go Macao to gamble. It’s so far away. One hour by ferry. Only after I’ve been there did I finally realize.


Macao is only reachable by ferry. For now. A bridge is being built to connect Shenzhen and Macao.


Fast. Surprisingly it’s not really affected by the big waves.


1630: on the high speed turbo jet ferry now. We’re crossing very
choppy waters on our way to Macao. It should reach in about 15
minutes. Ticket costs hk138.


Seats like plane seats.

I’m going to go through immigration almost 6 times today as I leave
Shenzhen, enter hong kong, leave hong kong, enter Macao, leave Macao,
and enter hong kong again. For this trip alone my passport would have
been stamped 10 times.


Looks like a plane’s interior.

1645: arrived in Macao already. For the first time it really felt cold
here. Even colder than the cold winds in guangzhou. It should be
around 18 degrees Celsius. And the immigration is not helping much
with ridiculously long queues. And the guy in front of me just cut me
and pretends that nothing is wrong. Will be in macao for a while and
will be taking a ferry at night to go back to hong kong.


One of the big casinos here: Sands.

Now that we have passed immigration we’ll be going to a casino to have
a look and try our luck.

The casino always wins. There’s no doubt to that. Else no one would
bother to open so many casinos on one island that is Macao. They would
rather open shops that sell aircond during winter. At least they might
have customers who will install them during winter for summer use.


Look at the rows and rows of gambling tables!


The Venetian.


Me in front of the Venetian.

Anyways, I had the time while in Macao to visit one of the newer
casinos here. It’s called the Venetian and its a hotel and shopping
center and casino. Interesting thing to note about the Venetian: its
built on top of reclaimed land.


Ceiling of the Venetian.

As expected, the security personnel asked me for some Id when I told
him I’m 20. That’s one of the disadvantages of looking younger than
you actually are. Well, look on the brightside, sometimes I get to
play in the kids playground.


This is where you queue up for the bus back to the ferry terminal.

The good thing about casinos here is they provide free transportations
for their gamblers. They have many large buses that bring people from
the airport or the ferry terminal or from other casinos to their
casinos. And after you have lost everything, they send you back to
where you came from. It’s like a very expensive bus ride. Technically.


More gambling tables.


And more.


1947: I’m now on my way back to the ferry terminal on one of these
very expensive buses. I need to catch the ferry back to hong kong
before they close the mtr. Wish I have more time here in Macao. Well,
maybe when the weather is a bit hotter. Its freezing cold here now at
night. Just want to get back to hong kong now.


The Venetian from the outside.

Tip of the day: if you ever need to get to macao’s international
airport from the macao ferry terminal, take one of those free Venetian
buses to the Venetian. Then switch bus and look for the one that goes
to the Macao international airport. There, I just saved you 47 Macao
dollars. That’s equivalent to almost rm25.


Nice escalators.


2145: reached hk ferry terminal. Immigration was again very fast. Had
late dinner at the station’s mcdonalds and then headed off to go back
to my aunt’s place. This is also quite a commute because it requires
the changing of many stations.

First off from sheung wan I have to take the train to central. At
central I have to switch trains to go to mong kok. At mei foo I need
to switch rails to the KCR west rail and I need to travel till Sui
hong which is the second last station.

Useless stuff: the Chinese tv has been highlighting the plastic bag
issue a lot these days. From a certain date onwards there won’t be
plastic bags at supermarkets anymore. Just something that maybe you
should take note of if you want to shop for groceries next time in
china.

You may have the impression that Chinese people are not as open
compared to western people. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here
in hong kong. I see PDAs all over the place. So don’t be shocked if
you see people hugging and kissing in mtrs.

Today for the first time I saw someone making a call on an iPhone. And
the owner is not a guy.

Finally reached sui hong apartment where my aunt lives. They keycode
to the door is **** will be exploring hk city tomorrow.

A funny thing happened at mcdonalds just now. I ordered a meal and the
total cost was hk24. So I paid the guy with two twenty notes and I
expect some notes back. But he gave me 3 coins back. I was a bit
surprised, thinking he had short changed me. Then I looked at the
coins. One of them was a 10 bucks coin and the other was a 5 bucks
coin. Can’t blame me on this. I come from Malaysia where the biggest
coin we have is worth 50sen.

Previous: Shenzhen: The Stopover

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Shenzhen: The Stopover

Sorry for the long break. Was waiting for my trip photos to arrive. Now that they have, we can start talking about Shenzhen.

My trip to Shenzhen was a short one also. We arrived in Shenzhen at about 6pm and stayed at the Railway hotel which is on the station itself. Not bad for RMB180 (RM90) per night. (Unedited trip notes in BOLD.)


Had dinner at the mcdonalds at the Dongguan station. I’ve been having a lot of
fast foods for the past two days because it was convenient. I think
people here feel the same too because on one street alone you can find
more than 3 mcdonalds branches.


Night view of the Shenzhen station at Luo Hu.

On the train to Shenzhen now. Ok, I take back my words on china’s
weather being cool. Its freaking cold now with freezing winds. I’m now
tapping away with freezing cold fingers. The train ride to shenzhen
would take about half an hour from here. Will stay the night at
Shenzhen before going to Macao the next day.


Morning view.

These train toilets are like plane toilets. You press a button and the
valve opens and a strong vacuum force sucks everything out. But the
toilet is as dirty as train toilets can get.


They should hire me as their English transcriber. At least I won’t “destroy” their facility.

Like langkawi, china train stations are filled with trouts. They offer
hotels, cheap transportation and travel packages. The general advice
is not to pay any attention to them. Sure, some of them may be trying
to earn an honest living, but you won’t know if any of them have plans
to con you.


The bridge connecting the station to our hotel room. This place has the most foot massage parlors.

1750: At Shenzhen already. Went around looking for a hotel near the
Shenzhen station. Finally we settled on the Railway Station Hotel
which is connected to the station itself. It is like the Meridian
hotel at KL Sentral. But like most hotels in china, it is very cheap.
A room for rmb196 per night which is less than rm100. The room is
pretty decent with 2 beds and everything else a hotel should have. Will be calling it a day now. Travelling long distances in the cold
can take a toll on you. Temperatures reached 20 today. It is expected
to drop even more tomorrow.


View of Shenzhen skyline from the station.


This is the Hua Qiang plaza at Hua Qiang Lu.

Weather is fine once again today. Hopefully it will be fine until I
fly off on thursday. Woke up early and checked out early to visit hua
qiang lu which is famous for computers and electronics. Like the place
at Guangzhou, they sell anything you can think up of. And the place is
huge and crowded.


This is Hua Qiang Lu (Hua Qiang road).

Another thing I notice about china’s public places. People like to
smoke a lot. I’ve seen people smoking in restaurants as well. The
inside of buildings are filled with smoke too. I wonder how the people
working there who are non smokers can stand the 2nd hand smoke. No
wonder the china has the highest rate of cancer, with the pollution
and all those smoking.


Crowded. Unless you know specifically what you want, you won’t be able to make up your mind which shop to go.


One shop selling all capacitors.


All the memory (chips) you would ever need!


Rows and rows of parts.


The whole building full of it.


Saige is one of the more famous buildings there. They ate trying to
apply for five star status so a lot of shops have cleared off their
questionable goods in case the authorities come around for a spot check.


This place must be very popular among chinese teens.


1400: Now I have crossed the border and entered back into hong kong.
Will be taking the metro to wan chai station to take a ferry to Macao.
Macao is famous for gambling. I’ll be there until the evening and then
I will head back to hong kong.

There’s a culture that can be seen all over china. People never queue
up. At train stations, mcdonalds, security checkpoint, ticket counters
and bus stops. Everyone just rush for it like their lives depend on it.


Getting from lu wu to sheung wan is quite a commute. First you have to
take the metro from lo wu (not shown on map) to Kowloon tong, then change to the other
line and take until mong kok and switch to the other line and take
until central and then change again to reach sheung wan. Sheung wan is the place to take a ferry over to Macao.


That’s about it for my short stay at Shenzhen. Next stop, Macao.

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