The last stop on my trek through Asia took me to Hong Kong. Autonomous from mainland China, it has a very western feel and for it's small size, Hong Kong packs a big punch. Known as one of the financial hubs of the world, the city's wealth is clearly presented by its impenetrable skyline, bevy of luxury cars, immaculate public transportation and standard city attire (suit or blazer) worn day and night alike.
While initially, I had planned on visiting Hong Kong with my buddy Brian, his plans changed which meant that I would be on my own for the next five days - well, sort of... While I was traveling on my own now, some of the girls we met back in our early days of Vietnam just so happened to be in Hong Kong as well and as such, I booked a room in the same location so it would be easier to meet up. Despite such logical thinking, it didn't work out as well as initially planned. First off, the girls I was meeting up with were flying to Hong Kong before they were assigned to international teaching schools in China. Among their program's disorganization, one of the girls ended up being assigned to teach in Mongolia (Mongolia!?!?) and left after a few hours of arrival and my other friend would be off to China early in the morning. So while it was a reunion among some friends, it was pretty short-lived, but nonetheless nice to catch up.
The other part of this story is the place I stayed. Now they say real estate in Hong Kong is some of the most expensive in the world and it never disappointed in that respect. Where I initially stayed was at least five times more expensive than what it should have been and also one of the sketchiest places I've stayed to date, well the lobby anyways – but I was up for the experience! When you walked into this place, aptly called the Chungking Mansions, it was anything but one. The first floor was something I could only describe as a scene out of the movies Blade Runner or Total Recall. Basically it was like an underground city of seedy characters.
When I actually got up to my room, which was locked off, clean and quiet (a plus), it was the tiniest room I have ever been in (a negative), literally 6 ½ feet by 6 ½ feet in total – thankfully I'm only 6'2”. I managed a few nights here and then made a switch to the Hyatt, which was a tad bit nicer. Ultimately, both of the places I stayed were very central to a number of attractions in the city. On to my highlights: