Arrival & Day 1!

We made it! Well, we made it through the 14+ hour flight across the pacific at least. Cathay Pacific had a wonderful selection of movies & tv shows to keep us entertained, but those are some hard seats. My butt, which already was sporting some sort of odd muscle-strain from one-too-many nights on couches, was severely complaining by the time we arrived. Bags made it safely with no problems, but we were so excited by the free wifi at the airport that we almost had to remind ourselves to keep moving! The whole cab ride in (which was actually reasonable, especially split by 3 people), we were straining to get our first glimpses of the famous HK skyline. Surprisingly, that never really happens. You all of a sudden go over a giant bridge, and then start weaving in and out of large apartment towers, and then boom, you're smack-dab in the middle of a giant city.

Our eyes were glazing over with the enormity of everything, tons of lights, cool architecture, tons of things to look at, when all of a sudden we turned onto our street. We elected to rent an apt from AirBnB for our first few nights here, just to get a bit more of a local experience. We're in the Wan Chai district on HK island, with a great view across to Kowloon (photo attached). The apt is teeny, maybe 500 sq ft? But does have two little bedrooms, a mini-kitchen & nice bathroom & shower, along with a comfy main room. Unfortunately, it doesn't have heat, something we did not anticipate needing... But there is enough of San Francisco in this city that a little warm air would be helpful!!! It does have free wifi though, so that's fab. After arriving, we drug ourselves outside to find a light dinner. The neighborhood is full of restaurants & bars, with lots of variety too - everything from Subway to Italian to unpronounceable Chinese corner joints. We went with a Malaysian place recommended both in the guidebook and by the mass of people there, even at around 9:30pm. After a beer and a light meal, we were bushed & called it a night.

After an interesting breakfast (again, at a place crowded with locals), we wandered through the raised walkways over to the ferry terminal. For a teeny price, you get a nice quick ride across the harbor & we finally got to check out the impressive skyline! Even with the haze (which seems to be constant here), it really was unreal. I think the lush mountains just behind all the skyscrapers is what makes it soo cool. We wandered along the causeway (and HK's own avenue of the stars), and the wound our way up through the ritzy stores to Kowloon park. Along the way we stopped at a corner shop for some fresh fruit juices- watermelon for Val & Gregg, dragon fruit for me. Yummy & refreshing, or so we thought... The park was cool, complete with flamingos, but it was funnier to see lines of people waiting their turn to shop at Prada, Chanel, and Gucci! We headed back down towards the ferry with thoughts of taking the actual harbor tour, but it was then that Gregg started to feel the effects of the fruit juice. Instead we retreated to the apt for some rest and recuperation, but facts are facts, and we have a soldier down. Hopefully just for the afternoon! While Gregg rested & Val tended, I ventured out for an afternoon walk which was pretty interesting. I went from a crowded marketplace, to nice interior design shops, and found another cool spot- Hong Kong park. It's an amazing quiet little refuge nestled in between a mountain & giant skyscrapers. Then I found my way back home via these adorable antique trams, which are a cross between SF's muni-cars and the Night-Bus from Harry Potter. I love them- and again, one super low flat fee!!!

Now we're off to get some dinner & possibly do a little pub crawling, depending on the delicate belly. Hopefully tomorrow we'll all be at top strength & will be able to explore more of this cool city!