Return to Hong Kong, part 1.

by Sue

Before I finish packing for my trip for my return to the motherland (Hong Kong), I wanted to share a few things that I am definitely looking forward to eating, seeing, and doing. Mostly eating, let’s be real. It’s been five years since I have been back, and all indicators suggest that I won’t actually enjoy it all that much when I’m there. For one, it’s become more crowded and more polluted. Apparently our once pristine and wonderful smelling (I’ve always had this weird liking for things that smell like tape or anything adhesive… You know the smell. When you’re opening up a fresh pack of Post-it Notes or that new roll of Scotch tape. Shut up, don’t judge.) MTR stations are not so wonderful smelling or clean because certain people (no judging here at all either) thought it was a good idea to urinate and defecate out in the open instead of inside strategically placed toilets. Speaking of toilets, I’m not looking forward to having a sudden urge to pee when I’m shopping in a seven-story mall. There’s like one bathroom on every two floors or something from what I remember. But let’s get on with the things I’m going to love and miss by the time I come home:

  1. McDonald’s. I know, there’s McDonald’s on every corner of the street, but trust me when I say that when you walk into a McDonald’s in Hong Kong, it is the best smell in the world. It doesn’t leave you gagging for a breath of fresh air because you can’t smell the chlorine and cleaning solutions. Instead, it’s this wonderful scent of freshly fried French fries. It’s like the perfect taste of a golden crispy fry when they just cleaned out the fryers and added a new batch of oil in. I’ll probably be in the Lok Fu McDonald’s (if it’s still here, by the Watson’s) every time I’m waiting for one of the small yellow buses to take me back to my aunt’s place on Broadcast Drive.
  2. Spare rib pot rice. I don’t know what the dim sum places call it in English, but that is my translation. There’s steamed rice on the bottom with a layer of spare ribs covered in soy saucey goodness on the top, and they cover it with a lid (hence my calling it a pot. It’s like a clay pot if you’ve ever had a clay pot dish at a Chinese restaurant.) The best thing is the rice because it’s been marinating in these spare rib juices and sauce and so you scrape and mix it a little to make sure you get all of the wonderful flavor and enjoy.
  3. Lamma Island (almost spelled it llama, oops). I’ve never been here before. Look at these jokers posing for photographs. I’m not going to even make a joke about that rock formation.
  4. Kowloon Park. I have never been here either, even though I’ve been on that side of town many of times in the past.
  5. Lan Kwai Fong. Okay, okay, so it’s full of expats and it’s basically a mini Times Square in a one block radius, and I’ve been here before, but I was there when I wasn’t even old enough to have a brewski in Hong Kong (legal age is 18), so hopefully this time around, I will be able to “experience” it for realsies. Of course my mother is freaking out over the prospect of me going to this place when crime is so bad nowadays~~! So I’m also hoping at least one of my relatives will accompany me, haha.
  6. Ride a junk. It’s what you do as a tourist, right? I’m a tourist, damnit.
  7. Wong Tai Sin Temple. I feel like as I grow older, I feel more affinity with my spirituality. I label myself as Buddhist because my parents raised me to be, and in a way, I believe it to be true. In more recent years, our family hasn’t set up altars or prayer tables during Chinese New Year, but we still go to temple when we can. In my case, I never go to temple for CNY, mainly because it affects my eyes more than regular folk. Joy of having no lens in your right eye so it can’t shield all the icky stuff like incense smoke! I’m really looking forward to going to WTS. I’m familiar with it. My family has always gone there looking for guidance. There’s history there, and I’m glad it’s still there so I can pay my respects.
  8. Any and all “western” diner food, Hong Kong style. French toast with that creamy condensed milk. Macaroni noodle soup with ham and a fried egg. Ying-yueng (half milk tea, half coffee). I’m salivating right now just thinking about it.
  9. Maybe the race track. I’ve never been, and my grandfather, being one of the most straight-laced policemen on the HKPD (comparatively speaking), was at the heart still a cop and enjoyed his fair share of gambling on a pony or two. Mom also bet on a pony one year when we were there. I don’t think she won, but that sounds like a good ole time. Maybe stats class will help me with my pickings, haha.

10. Lantau Island. Who doesn’t want to see the big Buddha statue? I’ve never been here either and neither have my parents.

I’m pretty sure there’s more, but it mostly has to do with food, and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. But I’m looking forward to posting real updates once I’ve completed each of the above ten things! (most likely multiple times for some of these, haha!)

And in case you’re wondering – because I’m sure you’re curious and all – I’m also taking a mini detour to Macau, the Las Vegas I’ve never been. I will also make it a point to visit my grandfather’s resting place in Shenzhen, visit the family in the same area, as well as find more pineapple “beer” in Guangzhou when we visit family there. The last time I took a train in China, I was in Beijing heading to Shanghai, and it was not a bullet train. I never want that overnight experience ever again, but from previous experience on traveling to GZ by way of train from HK, I don’t think I will be as mortified. We’ll see though. I’ll share the gruesome details and perhaps even pictures if anything happens…

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