The Hongkong in my mind was derived from 1980s HK action films and Wongkarwai’s Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. I wanted to walk along the crowded neon lit streets and get myself some semblance of a burrito, similar to what Faye Wong sold to Cop 663. I had a colour palette in my head with hues of yellow and blue. I even imagined a cramped apartment room with a fish tank. However, Wayne and I had different goals at the time so I ended up going with the flow. Not that it was bad, in fact Wayne asked me if there was someplace I wanted to go to. The Goldfinch restaurant, mecca of Wongkarwai’s cult following was temporarily closed down so I told him it didn’t matter. After all, we didn’t have time for Disneyland either.
I arrived in Hongkong in the evening, purchased an Octopus Card and dropped myself off at the train stop. I didn’t know which direction or alley to walk to my hotel so I asked for directions from a group of Filipino ladies by the stoplight. While it is sad to see our people in exodus it is also quite comforting knowing that there’s a kababayan somewhere who’s willing to help you out. Wayne had insisted I take a cab from the airport which I found ridiculous. Why would I take a cab when HK’s MTR was so manageable? I found the hotel quite easily and had a breezy check-in at Harbour Grand HK (not the Kowloon branch), While at the front desk I saw my complete full name written on the key card, as if Wayne was making sure I didn’t get the wrong room. I’m pretty sure it’s because he thinks I’m a mess and will get lost hence, the cabs and the keycards. When I got to the room I freaked out about the transparent bathroom! I guess space was really an issue here but it did have a huge bathtub. When we were deciding hotels I said I wanted a tub because I wanted to use my lush bathbombs but of course I didn’t have the time for that. Wayne had arrived a day earlier and was already out with Loretta, a friend from Vancouver. When he got back I was completely settled in and welcomed him as if we hadn’t seen each other for months. I was already based in the Philippines at the time. We talked a bit and went to sleep afterwards since we were both too exhausted from our respective trips.
The next day was planned out to be an “Instagram Excursion.” It was basically a day for Wayne’s instagram image and Loretta had everything mapped out. We had 1) rooftop pool 2) city view from hotel room 3) victoria peak + view 4) ferris wheel and macarons 5) lounge drinks etc. etc.
Unfortunately there was construction going on outside and the weather was gloomy so we didn’t have the best view or lighting from the room or the pool. We took a dip in their rooftop pool before heading for breakfast but since I’m not the blogger, I don’t have a rooftop pool photo.
I swear they had the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever encountered. You can see from this spread the kind of selection they had, not including the dimsum I ate. The blogger didn’t finish whatever he put on the table, and people were looking at us funny.
Passed by this empty hall before going to the breakfast area and just found it so hauntingly beautiful!
I don’t think the server behind us was very happy.
After breakfast we took a cab to Victoria’s Peak to meet up with Loretta who’s originally from Hong Kong. The peak was foggy so we couldn’t take a photo of the view. Wayne was also getting grumpy even before Loretta arrived. I wasn’t really sure if it was something over breakfast or just that nothing was going his way. I didn’t realize his grumpiness until much later because Loretta and I just hit it off and we were busy chatting away and having fun.
Loretta introduced us to a common HK fare – noodles, HK milk tea which I really loved! We then took a cab down to IFC and rode a ferris wheel for photos. Guess who was scared of riding ferris wheel? The blogger, but of course he prevailed for instagram! Wayne even brought macarons from Laduree which he gave me because he doesn’t even eat it! The night before he also had pastries for me from his shoot. Afterwards we had some mid afternoon cocktails and headed out to Lan Kwai Fong where we walked through hipster neighbourhoods.
We then had dinner at a modern Korean restaurant called Jinjuu. It was more of a wide open space that served modern Korean cuisine and doubled as a cocktail lounge. Unfortunately we didn’t take photos of the place because it was packed and we were pretty hungry. Wayne was sweet enough to serve us girls the dishes. Maybe he sensed he was being too grumpy and we were keeping the day light. Hahaha. Conversation over dinner was hilarious mostly focusing on people we dated and accusing each other of things.
Here are photos from Jinjuu’s website just so you can get a feel of the place:
I remember we had prawns, and fish, and dumplings, and bibimbap. After dinner we headed to a really cool lounge called Foxglove and had cocktails, again! They had a really nice marine theme going on, including the bathrooms. Then we headed to an almost empty club (it was a weekday though) with a name I can’t remember.
The next day we decided to have breakfast sent to our room for another instagram shot. One never gets to enjoy hot meals when travelling with a blogger. Our oriental breakfast came with two choices- Chinese and Japanese food. I ate my grilled cod cold. Too sad.
Here you can see those cold, sad noodles and a snapshot of what it takes to get a good image. I actually have a lot more footage of behind the scenes.
After breakfast we both worked on our own things, during the entire trip I was actually doing sound recording in Hong Kong for a short film. I was so happy to hear the sounds I recorded when it was shown on the big screen! I was carrying a recorder in a “dead cat” and my huge headphones around the city and people were looking at me but it was a fun thing to do, exploring the city by following the sounds! Unfortunately I don’t think I have pictures of myself while working.
I was also able to enjoy Hongkong on my own. Wayne had to fly to Taiwan and the original plan was that I also follow him to Taipei but I booked a ticket to Seoul to see my sister. So his flight was a day earlier than mine. I explored Kowloon, the area connected to mainland. I stayed at a hostel and made friends with the owner. He helped me out and recommended Mongkok for all my gadget needs. I didn’t really shop save for small purchases for my laptop i.e keyboard cover and card readers but I took a few photos, had some random good food and bought a Xaomi power bank which I love to death because I bought it on my own in HK!
Sadly I wasn’t able to really get a taste of Hongkong’s street food. Wayne did lament that fact and said the next time we should explore some streetfood and Disneyland. I honestly wanted to go explore Chungking Mansions to which both Loretta and Wayne vehemently disagreed because it was “dangerous” and had a lot criminal activities going there. So I took their word for it, but then friends of mine said they stayed in the area and that it was fine. So, I think it was their firstworld instinct at play but I’m kind of a mix of both and I’m pretty much cowboy when I need to be so that’s one thing on my list for the next trip!
All in all, I enjoyed this trip. I was able to see a lot of things and I managed to explore both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. There’s still a lot more of this place I’m sure!