I was not expecting myself to do very much sightseeing after such an intensive morning on Day 1. And I didn’t. 😛 Other than meeting up with my friend who is working in Hong Kong, I did not do very much. Even then it has been a rich experience.
1. Causeway Bay
Even though I have been to Hong Kong twice, I have never visited Causeway Bay, for reasons I can no longer recall. I was not quite sure whether I would be visiting Causeway Bay this trip but since I have heard a lot of good things about the place and because my friend arranged for us to meet there, I guess that kind of sealed the deal. In terms of shopping, Causeway Bay did not impress. Then again, I hold the view that globalisation has spoiled travel shopping, at least in developed cities, so shopping overseas these days do not quite excite me.
Food wise, I was rather taken with Lei Bistro. Firstly, they serve such a wide variety of dishes that looked so yummy on the menu that I wanted to order everything! Not sure of the portions, we erred on the safe side so as not to waste food. After all, we could always head for dessert after this. When the food was served, we found the portions to be just nice for two ladies. Their daily soup has no parallel in Singapore (based on my personal experience) and their salted egg yolk prawns and roasted pork… you simply can’t get enough of them!
Yes, we have a full meal but that was not going to stop us from dessert. We just needed to walk around a bit to make some space in us. We ended up at Cong Sao Dessert (聰嫂私房甜品), a tiny set-up that one can easily miss in one of the alleys. And I was glad we didn’t miss that! The glutinous rice balls were absolutely to die for! There were rather tiny but just of the right size for a lady to pop the entire thing into her mouth. That is not all. The soup is not too sweet and you can taste the ginger without the stinging after-taste. Now, how’s that for quality?! I know I am gushing but I don’t think anyone has made this dessert to this standard in Singapore.
P.S. I love this place so much that I returned for another trip and had 3 desserts (2 takeaway to enjoy as afternoon tea and supper). *blush*
Oh! And before I forget (how could I!), I actually saw this humungous Apple Store right before my eyes and this fan girl can only squeal! Thankfully my friend was patient enough to go in with me for a short ‘tour’ before moving on.
2. Singapore International School in Hong Kong
After catching up with my friend yesterday over dinner, I thought to visit her work place and that was how I ended up visiting informally SIS. However, it was only painful journey travelling from Yau Ma Tei to Wong Chuk Hang. I waited close to 40 minutes for Bus No. 71 at Pok Fu Lam Road. I did not consider other options because it was rather complicated with multiple transfers by bus. The ride was rather jerky and uncomfortable but it also showed me a perhaps more suburban side of Hong Kong. Along the way I chanced upon a village that looked like a slum, reminding me the complexity amidst the glitz and blitz of Hong Kong.
I have always been curious about the SIS in Hong Kong and today when I visited, I was pleasantly surprised by its coziness and sensible set-up, nothing opulent or extravagant. The students appeared well-behaved and it was heartening to hear that co-curricular activities in SIS were primarily interest-driven. It was also nice to see teachers having the afternoon free after classes to catch up with admin matters, marking and lesson planning. The school you see, didn’t believe in remedial or after-school programmes (which I totally agree!). When I was there, I see students and teachers walking from one place to another calmly, a stark contrast to the frenzy we are all too familiar with in Singapore. Yes, SIS has this unhurried atmosphere which did not negate its serious attitude towards learning.
3. Nathan Road
I almost did not visit Nathan Road even though my hotel is just next to it. Well, eventually I did, as I walked out to grab dinner from a random cha can teng. Nathan Road was somewhat like what I remembered it to be. However, now that I am older and perhaps more worldly wise, I am less impressed and less intimidated by it. Looking around me, the shop names were unfamiliar local stores, and the streets were less busy than I remembered them to be. Overall, it felt tired… like many other parts of Hong Kong that I saw, which made me wonder if one day, Singapore would feel like this too.
Qualification: Nathan Road is a really long stretch of road and I think I only covered perhaps 1/4 of it, from Yau Ma Tei MTR to Jordan MTR, turning back before it got too late.
An Unpleasant Episode
As I was heading back to the hotel, I went to the Yau Ma Tei MTR station Customer Service to enquire about Airport Express ticket in whatever broken Cantonese I could manage. The young man at the counter was not only ungrateful about my attempt to accommodate, he was also rather rude, saying that “it might be easier for me to understand you if you speak putonghua.” I was embarrassed! Even though no one else witnessed the episode (well, now I am telling everyone! :P).. He was also impatient when I asked for confirmation that the information he gave me was accurate and before I could thank him for his ‘service’, he moved away from the counter.
I was tempted to rant about poor service in Hong Kong but when I take a step back, I realised that a Hongkonger could be in Singapore and talking to a local service staff of the same age (early twenties) and receive the same bad attitude! So… it made me wonder if our young really had bad manners, and then I remembered my elders telling me many years ago that my generation had bad manners. And I guess, this is what they mean by generation gap and by that logic, I am now the ‘older generation’. Uh oh~ I don’t think I like that very much! >_<
And with that I am almost at the end of my really short trip to Hong Kong. Honestly, I won’t miss Hong Kong but I will miss these moments where I can be alone in a different environment.