Fast forward 18 years, I was back. I chose Sheung Wan as our base, relatively away from the tourist hotspots but close enough to Central to be convenient. The area seems a bit dodgy and dirty, like a typical China town in any other city (I know that sounds funny. I guess all towns in China are china town :P) but it's actually very safe. I kinda liked being away from the skyscrapers and shopping malls. It made it seem more authentic :) It's pretty close to Soho where most expats seem to be congregate. I like that area. It reminds of Paddington or Surry Hills in Sydney, and Soho in New York.
|Wandering in Soho|
|Found San Miguel, popular beer in the Philippines|
|Hong Kong alleys|
I thought 18 years has taken its toll in Hong Kong. Though still the financial capital in Asia, the city seems a bit dated and grey to me compared to the last time I was there. I was looking forward to shopping in Hong Kong, but surprisingly, prices of high street brands seem the same, or even more expensive than Sydney. Sydney! where people, including me, always complain about getting ripped off voluntarily. The number of shopping centres seemed to have doubled, and i surprisingly found myself complaining about having too many malls. Not to say I left empty handed. I could easily spend a month's salary in Tsim Sha Tsui alone within an hour if I had let myself. All the luxury and high street fashion brands were nothing but a glass window away. The fact that Hong Kong was our first stop and i barely had room in my luggage prevented me from going crazy with the credit card.
Despite my initial disappointment, and knowing Hong Kong was merely a stopover, I was glad to see it again, this time with M who was there for the first time. Perhaps that busy-ness of it all wasn't what i needed after working almost non-stop for a year and a half but I guess that's the beauty of being in a new place. It gave me a sense of perspective of how I've changed in the past few years. Designer bags and shopping for miles no longer excite me as much as it used to, and a little peace and quiet, away from the bustling world was what I wanted at this point.
More photos on my Flickr.