Our adventure through Hong Kong began with a long journey to get here. After the Yangtze River cruise Adam and I had to travel on three different modes of transportation, including our last sleeper train in China, a 17 hour trip from Yichang to Guangzhou, just outside of Hong Kong. Once we arrived in Hong Kong I was amazed at all the skyscrapers, construction going on everywhere, trendy shopping stores, and LED lights on all of their signs. I think I counted a Starbucks on almost every corner. It made me feel a little more at home, which is nice every now and then. Another thing about Hong Kong is that everything there is very expensive, so we knew we had to try to be conservative with our money here.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have reservations at any hotel/ hostel so we had to roam around the city a little bit. According to Lonely Planet, there was a nice hotel called The Salisbury that was somewhat reasonable and few of the rooms had incredible views of Hong Kong. They said there was one room remaining when we arrived! Adam and I looked at each other and smiled and said, “We’ll take it.” The girl on the other side of the counter didn’t seem as enthusiastic as we did, as she told us , “Unfortunately, the only room available is a suite…” The two of us looked up at each other and I said, “Well, maybe we can celebrate our engagement tonight?” ( I know you might be laughing right now, but it was true. The day Adam proposed to me was an amazing day, but that evening it poured cats and dogs and the closest restaurant was a KFC and they didn’t even have chicken! How does that happen?) Adam gave in and agreed with me, like any good fiancée would do. The woman looked surprised because standing in this nice hotel stood two dirty travelers that hadn’t showered in a couple days and we just agreed to take their best room. Once we entered that room we were like little kids, flipping all the switches, running in and out of different rooms and found ourselves staring into a large, clean, white bathroom. We hadn’t had a decent one of those in almost nine days. We felt like we had died and gone to heaven, and our view of the Hong Kong skyline was breathtaking.
That evening Adam and I continued our celebration at the hotels buffet for dinner. There we had sashimi, smoked salmon, prime rib, etc. After dinner Adam and I had to practically roll ourselves to our room to enjoy the light show. To our amazement, all of the buildings across the river light up and synced up with music on one of the channels on the TV, it almost felt like I was at Disney World. After a week straight of some really rough travelling days through China, we really appreciated how much better we felt after staying here.
The next day we took our time waking up, enjoying the complimentary coffee and tea in the room while Adam searched the web for a hotel for us to stay for the evening. Staying at The Salisbury wouldn’t be cost effective for more than one night, even though it would have been amazing. One night was enough and soon we were hit hard with reality when we checked into our new hostel. This place was smaller than my closet at home, literally. Adam and I just laughed because it was so funny to go from one extreme to another in such a short period of time.
Our brief 36 hours in Hong Kong was a great experience for us, but sadly it’s not a place a backpacker on a budget hangs out for too long. Soon Adam and I found ourselves on a train towards the airport, ready to see our good friends Ai and Dan again for their wedding celebration in Tokyo. Adam and I walked up to the ticket counter to check in and wait and see if we could get on this flight. This was going to be a standby flight, so there was no guarantee, but with good timing things usually sort themselves out. After all the great things that had happened to the two of us, we received the bad news. The plane was overbooked, so there was no way we were getting on. There was also no way we were going to get back on that expensive train and try to find another expensive hole in the wall hostel. We agreed to make Hong Kong International Airport our residence for the next 24 hours.
We could have been stuck with much worse. This airport was clean, comfortable, and most importantly, had FREE wi-fi internet. There were plenty of restaurants and magazine shops to kill time in. Adam and I even had a dinner date at Popeye’s! I bought my first wedding magazine and read the other two that were on the shelf, I was quite pleased with myself.
Our time at the airport came and went, and before we knew it it was groundhog day all over again. We woke up, stood in the ticket line to check in and wait to see if we would be lucky enough to get on the flight this time, and BINGO! We got tickets, but when Adam and I were about to board the plane our tickets kept buzzing like something was wrong. My heart dropped and I thought the plane had been overbooked again and they were going to send us back. Nope, we were being bumped to first class because there were two seats still available up there! Hong Kong was a real roller-coaster experience, from nice hotel to a closet, from sleeping in an airport to a first class flight to Japan.