In this second (of only three (thank goodness (didn’t anyone ever mention how nested parentheses were bad (no) (well they should have!) ) ) ) post about my recent stay in HK, I’m here to talk about the town itself. Now, seeing as how I didn’t really get to explore all that much, it’ll be blissfully shorter than my typical post (ahhhh (stop it) ). What makes this one interesting (in my over-parenthesesed (was that even a word?) opinion) is how the city preps for Xmas.
In a word: Griswold.
What does that mean? Well, while the third installment of the National Lampoon Vacation series wasn’t great, the scenes with Chevy Chase lighting up his house for the season were classic. It seems as if the city planners for Hong Kong were somewhat, shall we say inspired by the film. Literally dozens of office buildings were lit from floor to roof with patterns, sayings, and lots and lots of colorful lights. Take a gander through the pictures below to get a better perspective of what I’m talking about – it’s really quite impressive!
I did get some time to walk, train, streetcar, taxi, and ferry around Hong Kong. The city has an interesting mix of architecture styles. On any given block you might find a decrepit, run-down apartment building right up next to a shiny new, glass-encased office complex. And then there are the occasional “mashups” where an older building recently got a bit of a face-lift, with the first few stories showing off a new facade, built around the older interior.
One particularly interesting stop was the toys outlet (cleverly hidden on the 16th floor of an office building). In the small store lays years of treasures, including very old-school, original Star Wars action figures, Transformers, GI Joes, and more. This place was an excellent stop on the tour, and I must recommend it for any fans or collectors
I had a chance to go pick up some
genuine watches for a couple of folks back home when I visited the famous ‘Ladies Market’ in Mong Kok. We showed up at around 11am, but interestingly this was apparently too early for the region. The market didn’t really get going for a couple of hours. We killed the time by avoiding the stinky tofu stalls in the vicinity, then stopped by the row of gun stores prior to moving on.
As I mentioned yesterday, I did get to spend the better part of a day in China. As per my last trip, the roads were both in poor condition and congested with an utterly ridiculous driving situation. Horns are used to inform your opponents of imminent impact, lanes are a suggestion at best, and you are welcome to use any gear, especially reverse, whilst on a freeway. I’ll talk about the factory visits in an upcoming post, but we did get a chance to stop in at a DVD “store” on our return.
While I didn’t pick up the Golden Girls DVD collection (per the picture), I did grab a copy of the entire Arrested Development series. Don’t fret – I’m going to buy the set myself as I am such a fan of the show (are you?), but I just wanted to have the copy with the Chinese writing. Plus, it was about $9 for the 15-disk collection. I checked out a couple of the disks – the quality is fine and all the episodes are present, but they aren’t all DVD-copies (there it is)! A few disks were simply shows downloaded from the Internet and burned to DVD. How do I know? Well, the Fox logo and commercials from a local NYC station were a bit of a clue… Duh!
Getting to the airport is extremely convenient in HK. Make your way to the airport express station in Kowloon (my hotel had a free shuttle service), then hop a 30 minute train to the airport. The best part is you check-in at airport express, and don’t have to lug your bags around. Nice! Free wifi in the terminals too. Double-nice!
As a final tidbit, I thought I’d share some of the funnier signs I saw around town. Most of these come from the subway, and you really need to zoom in to the full-size view to see the humor. Without a doubt, Safety Tips for Washing Machines (on the right) was my favorite. Why? Because it was located in such a useful place. You know, somewhere very convenient to get tips on using a washing machine. Like a subway station. Check out the others below for more fun.