My flight from Kuala Lumpur was early in the morning and as usual I decided to sleep I KL airport to save some time in the early morning/late night.
Unfortunately, although it seemed it was going to be a perfect night at the beginning because I started making friends among the sleepers around who would be my roommates for the night, I didn’t get much sleep because the night became extremely noisy and transited. I reckon I got around 2 hours maximum and when my alarm rang at 4am was when actually things got quieter and I was getting some sleep, so I got up quite cranky. But I was able to check in fairly quickly and without much hassle and that made me a bit happier. By the time I got in the plane, I got lucky to be seated in a two seats row and to have nobody next to me. So I spent the 3 hours of my flight sleeping quite solidly using both seats. That helped a lot.
At my arrival to Macau, first the plane couldn’t land and once it did, they couldn’t open the door due to bad weather conditions. It was pissing rain!
Once that for sorted, I went looking for one of those free shuttles the casinos in the city offer to their place. I had been suggested to leave my backpack at the Venetian casino and I would be meeting there with Andreia later at night, as I would be couchsurfing at her place.
Everything was kind of easy to find and the casino overwhelmed me a bit. As it was raining so much outside, I went for a walk around it and was shocked by all the fancy places, shops, a lake with gondolas, a fake Italian decoration and a fake blue bright sky that made you feel in another place at another time. It was a bit crazy and made you completely lose the notion of time and place. Bloody casinos.
After that I took another free shuttle and made my way to Macau Peninsula, where I enjoyed a bit more of the architecture and the mixture of Asian and Portuguese once more, but differently. I wandered around streets, got lost here and there and checked a few nice hotels as a pitstop during all the walking. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the written Chinese everywhere and even though all the official stuff was compulsory in two languages and seeing Portuguese next to Chinese was bringing me the familiarity needed, at the time of looking menus, shops and the regular stuff the truth was that everything was exclusively in Chinese and I was totally out of my comfort zone. I understood how it was going to take a while to get used to these new situations and these places were a good point to start the immersion.
After a while, I got some dumplings for dinner in a supermarket and got a shuttle back to the Venetian hotel. The plan was to see a bit around it but it didn’t take very long because I was very tired and it was already dark so there was not much enjoyment. So I headed back to the hotel and tried to find my way back to the reception where I had left my backpack in the morning. It took almost one full hour to get back there. The place is massive and it was difficult to get orientation but I finally made it and all I could do was wait for Andreia there. She is a Portuguese girl living in Macau and the person that would host me that night, because the city only has luxury hotels that I can’t really afford. I loved to stay with her, I loved the ideas she had about money, about life about just live and don’t care about the rest. We also did boys talk and particularly Asian boys talk, which seems to be the favourite topic lately. I went to bed a bit late but I really wanted to talk to her and know more about the lifestyle there among others but I was too tired. I would have loved to stay longer with her. She reminded a bit to myself in some stuff, we had a lot in common.
But next say when I woke up (and that took a while) I made my way to the pier to take a ferry to Hong Kong. The city was waiting for me!
My arrival to my place was shocking. I had heard about it but now that it was in front of me… Was a bit intimidating. Chunking Mansions was the building were I was to stay. The atmosphere couldn’t barely be any worse: lots of people trying to get you something or somewhere or selling stuff or…. Dark, dirty and impossible to find my way to the place I was staying. But hey, I have been to worse places and immediately took control of the situation, used the hand to stop people keep talking and offering stuff to me and asked around to finally get to the elevator that would carry me to my place. The situation there was ridiculous and you had to que until the one elevator serving 16 floors but only the odd ones was back to the ground floor. This means it was slow as f*ck. But I made it and that’s what matters. Then, I got upgraded to a “two people dorm” where I got to share the room with a Balinese guy for a couple of days. And that was it for the day, cause I was feeling really tired and didn’t feel like doing anything at all. I got to the closest 7 eleven and stocked up with stuff to spend the evening. I couldn’t deal with anything else for the day. I think the lack of space and the lack of any kind of charm in the place was hitting me hard. But it could be anything really (the food, the heat, …)
Next day it was tough to get out of bed and it took a long while. Then, I decided to explore the surroundings and got lost in between old tall buildings, wet markets and loads of people everywhere. I wasn’t liking it. I was still feeling tired, not finding anything interesting and becoming particularly disinterested in everything. When I got to the park, a short walk and a few birds after I was enjoying myself again. The views of people practising different stuff around the park, outdoors, not giving a crap about people looking at then practising taichi or other stuff… That I liked so much! I saw a lot of flamingos, which are pretty cool birds. But then, I had great plans for the afternoon and I met Alex at the doorstep of an Irish bar with the hope of seeing the city from a local perspective. And that’s exactly what happened, because she was sweet, fun, interesting and willing to tell me a lot of stuff about this city in between all the chats we had. First we grabbed a drink and enjoyed to sit down near the promenade. Before that, she showed me the best toilet in the city and warned me about the toilets in mainland China. It sounds like I will be thankful in the near future for creating these expectations. After, we enjoyed the city getting dark, the buildings lighting up and the light show. And to end the night, we went for a very typical dinner. I loved to learn about the city, to realise how not Chinese these people are and to find how British they still consider themselves.
After such a cool day and experience, the next day I was decided to take a ferry to Hong Kong island and get lost between skyscrapers. But what I enjoyed the most of my day was to feel the atmosphere of a Sunday in the city. I could not stop seeing people camping in the streets, having food, making crafts, playing cards and Dancing to choreographies! It was really cool just to spot them and look at them. Then, I got to a big park where I just sat to enjoy the views of this same thing but in huge proportions. They were even practising martial arts and recreating traditional Chinese stuff. On the way back I saw a group of teenagers doing some street show with skipping ropes that left me with my mouth open and once I took the ferry, I came across the Asian championship of breaking dance and had to sit down and watch a bit. There were individuals and groups as well, participating in choreography category. It must be an Asian thing. After a while a had to head back to my place to wish my mum a happy day because it was Mother’s day.
My last full day in Hong Kong was easy and simple. I walked through the avenue of stars and visd a heritage house where I became more familiar with the architecture here, reason why I enjoyed it so much. I also got myself one of those phone rings that everyone has here and one I got back to the hostel I managed to drop it and instantly break it while cleaning my phone to stick the ring to it and at the same time, the door of the room closed and left me locked out in my pyjamas bottom. As there was nobody around I had to get to the lobby and use the common stairs to get down and look for reception, as it was situated in another mansion of the building but… There was nobody in reception. After a good while someone showed up left me in and could get me spare keys. And after I went to change my new phone ring and problem solved! All that was left was a bit of relaxation to ensure I was all rested up to catch my flight to Osaka the next day! I am leaving Chungking Mansions, the place where all kind of stuff was offered to me everytime on my way in and out. So far and that I was aware of, I was offered tailor, fake bags, handbags, clothes, watches, Indian food, other foos, a few different kind of drugs, rooms, guesthouses, and God knows what else because I wans’t even listening most of the times. Anyways….Japan, here I goooo!