Thursday, February 24, 2011

My own "Before Sunrise" in Hong Kong

It was my 2nd time in Hong Kong. The first time I went there in 2004, I was with my whole family, there were more than 20 of us then and during that time, HK Disneyland wasn't open yet. Last 2009, I decided to go to HK again to experience the magic of Disney. I was supposed to travel alone since I've always wanted to do that. I admire people who travel by their lonesome. I find it really cool! =D Since my mom's birthday was around the time I booked my flight, I took her with me. It was my gift to her -all expense paid trip to HK.

the famous double-decker buses
It was a 3D/2N vacay and since I didn't have that much of a budget, I planned to check out of our hotel on our 2nd day and just head straight to the airport after we go to Disneyland then just wait until morning for our flight back to Clark. We didn't bring lots of stuff, my mom and I shared just one bag for our clothes (it's not even a luggage) and I also had one bag for my small bags and shoes. Skipping one day in the hotel means more shopping money. haha. And it would be pointless not to, since we would be out the whole day and would have to go to the airport very early in the morning the next day.

My Disneyland experience was really fun, I had a blast. It brought out the kid in me! After it closed, I told my mom we should stay there a bit so we won't have to stay in the airport for a very long time. There is scenery outside the park, there is none in the airport. It was almost 10pm when we decided to go to the airport. We will be taking the Disney coach which will take us to another train station then from there, 1 station away (Tsing Yi), we'll get to the Airport Express. Going around in trains is easier, more convenient, more accessible. Besides, I'm not even sure if there are buses in that area and cabs would be expensive.

So we took the train and when we finally got to the Airport Express station, I was really shocked when the ticket guy told me it's HK$60 each so that would be $120 for two tickets. That time, what's left of our dollars was just around HK$90. I didn't expect the ticket for the Airport Express would be that expensive because it's just ONE station away from the airport. The train ride from Mongkok(went there after we check out of our hotel to buy some souvenirs) to Disneyland which was about more than 10 stations away only took $20 off our Octopus card. I felt a little panicky that time then I realized there is a mall adjacent to the station so I went ahead and looked for a Money Changer. Rotten luck, money changer's already closed.

I looked for cabs but I had a hard time communicating with drivers since very few locals speak/understand English. Good thing, there was this passenger who alighted a cab then translated what I was trying to ask the driver. As I've expected, the fare's still expensive, more expensive even. I looked for buses but it was really hard to look for one that goes to the airport from that area. I tried asking passers-by, no dice, the language barrier was really not helping me. I was hoping that time to see a fellow Filipino who can give us directions or possibly let me exchange my Pesos to their HK Dollars. I found none.

My mom and I kept walking , hoping we would find where the buses are. We were so exhausted already. We found a promenade along a waterfront. It was more like a park and there were benches(I love benches!). We stayed there for a while then something came up my mind, I had a plan. We would be staying there until around 2 am then get a cab, tell the driver we're short of dollars then ask him nicely if he can take pesos. That was the plan. But I wanted to take a rest first. The place was really nice. When we got there, there were still a few people- lovers, friends, young, old. And then we were the only ones left. There was a mini playground and the childish me really got excited and tried out the kiddie slide. I had so much fun!

Moments Later, a guy entered. He looked professional. I reckoned he speaks English and might be able to help me. When I talked to him, he did not understand me but he smiled then walked away. After a few minutes, he came back, he was trying to converse with me. He finally got what I was asking him because I kept reiterating "bus to the airport". He pointed somewhere then we walked a few meters but I really could not understand what he was saying. We went back to the park. My mom was sleeping with her hands on her face.

Avenue of Stars
I sat on one of the concrete benches near the body of water and the guys was standing in front of me, leaning on the steel rails. We talked for almost 3 hours. I enjoyed the time I was with him notwithstanding the language barrier. We barely understood each other's language, I was talking "carabao English" so he would understand me. He tried his best too, he was even making sign languages. There were times we would say just 1 word but would understand completely what one is talking about. That time, one word told a story.

We shared a couple of great laughs. I felt a connection with him. I felt so happy that time and regretted that my camera's dead. I so wanted to document that experience. He asked for my name and he gave me his but I forgot what his name was! :( It's hard to remember, it's Chinese. And oh, he was good-looking. hehe. He stayed with me until my mom and I left for the airport. That was the best part of my HK trip! Up until this day, that experience brings a smile on my face. Indeed, everything happens for a reason. I ran out of dollars and was unable to go the airport sooner so I could experience what I would consider a "magical moment". Forgive my cheesiness.

This is that unforgettable place. :) got this photo from Wikipedia
Plane tickets for two, hotel accommodation, Disneyland tickets, shopping spree: thousands of pesos. Spending a few hours with a stranger in a foreign land, talking under the moonlight and star-filled sky in a park in front a harbour, with the gentle night wind touching your face: PRICELESS!!!

As for the cab ride, good thing the driver was really nice and agreed to have me pay for the remaining fare in pesos. =)

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