It was around this time last year that I finally made my long overdue trip back to Hong Kong. I would’ve loved to have blogged about it there and then – really capture the moments and experiences whilst they were fresh in my mind – but I was simply too busy having one of the best experiences of my life to do so. It had been 10 years since I’d last been… far too long. That was part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much more the second time round – I was at an age where I could appreciate the culture and everything else it had to offer.
The first time I went I was only about 10,11, maybe 12 years old? When you’re that young you simply get distracted by all the lights and noises of such a densely populated city. At first, that almost happened to me again. Before landing in Hong Kong international airport, if you’re lucky and you have a window seat it looks like your landing on the ocean – for those of a nervous disposition, take the aisle seat – it’s quite a surreal view, but I thought it was quite cool. I was reliving some of my early memories because the first time I flew, I was lucky enough to have the window seat and ‘landing on the ocean’ literally blew my mind.
The first time I went to HK, I think I only stayed there for 2 weeks… this time round, I was lucky enough to stay for 3 months. At first I was apprehensive about staying that long – Hong Kong is not a particularly large place, it’s smaller than the city of London – so I didn’t know if I was capable of keeping myself amused for such a long time. I thought after the first month of excitement I’d get used to it and grow to become less enthused. But I could not have been more wrong. There are so many things for you to do: new sights to see, new food to eat, new people to meet… there was not a single day where I grew bored – it’s for this reason that I’m having to break up this blog post as I simply wouldn’t be doing Hong Kong justice in one entry.
I travelled with my parents and we lived in the apartment belonging to my dad’s side of the family. I hadn’t seen my Grandad in about 7 years as he’s a very old nowadays so long haul flights aren’t exactly ideal. Luckily, my Gran is of better health so she occasionally travels to the UK and when she does I make sure I get to see her. As they live in HK, growing up I can’t honestly say I’ve gotten to know them very well, so this trip was an opportunity to make up for that. Turns out my Gran has a wicked sense of humour. Grandad – not so much. He’s of a very traditional background so was perplexed that I’d brought more than 1 pair of shoes with me… literally couldn’t get his head round why anyone on earth would need more than 1 pair of shoes.
One of the first things we planned to do was explore. Explore, explore, explore. We were all shattered from the flight, and the 2 hour bus ride from the airport to my grandparents apartment in Fanling, so we decided to go exploring the next morning.
Didn’t want to get carried away at first, so we all decided to take the exploration and sight-seeing slowly – that and I wanted to get my bearings. As a result, we decided to just walk around Fanling. It’s a small town, but it’s near where my dad essentially grew up and went to school, so I thought it would be nice if we went there…
It was a surreal experience for the old boy – it was his first time back there, so seeing it decayed and abandoned must’ve been emotional. He talked me through where he sat, where he played football, basketball, where he would play hide and seek etc. It was really quite touching. Dads of that generation tend not to show emotion, but whilst we were at his old school, you could tell he was welling up – bless him!
This blog post is getting quite long, so I think I’ll leave it at that emotional point for the time being. Make sure you come back for the remaining entries – I’ll try to make them a little more exciting!