Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hong Kong Day 1

Thursday October 9th

After rushing all morning to get lesson plans together and materials for all my subs, I finally left Berhan for my Hong Kong vacation. With not but a granola bar in my stomach I ran to the train station with my ridiculously large orange backpack on. I bought my tickets for the next possible train for Taipei, which left 5 min later. I waited for Lish to show up, pacing back and forth in front of the station looking from side to side like a caged panther. I was just hoping that by some miracle she would make it in time. But the time passed and I still stood looking hopelessly out into the distance. The women that sold me the tickets beckoned me back, obviously seeing that I would need to change my tickets. But right as I handed my tickets to the women, the clouds opened and Lish appeared at my left elbow. I mumbled something incoherent and grabbed my tickets back, hopeful to make the train. Fortune smiled on us that day, as our train was delayed 2 min. It gave us just enough time to get the platform, look woefully around as we saw no train, and then realize that it had yet to come.

The ride up was uneventful,filled mostly with reading in the guide book, and a sleepless nap.

We arrived at the Taipei late. It turns out the miracle that helped us catch the train, also delayed it by 20 min by the time we arrived. We stopped for sushi, and tried to find our way out of the labyrinth which is the underground train station. But the time we got to fresh air we had to find a bus to the airport. Just as shot walk and we where there at the bus terminal. But as per usual we were accosted by the taxi drivers. But for some reason they dropped it to a reasonable price and we hoped in. The traffic was congested and it tuned out that it was a good thing that we took a taxi, who knows when we would have gotten there had we not.

We made it there in plenty of time to take leisurely look around, eat a funky pumpkin squash tart at Starbucks and check out the only other American in out very small and unimpressive terminal. We boarded the plane and that were the fun began.

We had bought Economy tickets, so I was confused when we were shown up the the upper deck of the plane. The seats were liken to lounge chairs with movable head rest a real pop out leg rest. It was amazing. Leg room to spare, and a cupboard on the side to stow our purses. The most impressive thing about the whole thing was the small TV that popped out of the arm rest. What luxury! It was a wonderful way to spend the short hour and a half flight and set the mood for the trip.

We arrived and took the airport tram to the MRT station in Hong Kong. While we were wondering around trying to find the right train a well dresses business man in front of us grabbed his chest and leaned over. My instinct yelled, Holy Crap he is having a heart attack! But luckily for us he kept walking. Confused Lish and I eyed each other and said what the ... We have come up a few possible reasons what triggered such a bodily reaction in that man. 1) a sneeze 2) he was talking on his phone and someone said something very funny and had a very sudden explosion of laughter. 3) sudden case of heart burn. But what ever was the reason we were both very relived that we didn't have to administer CPR.

We found the street that we though we would find out hostel/ guest house, but the street ended up being the longest street ever and we soon found our selves lost. As I was searching the guide book for an address, or something a man came up to us and ask us we needed a tailor. I didn't want a tailor at the time all I wanted was to find a place to sleep for the night. I told him such and he told us that he would give us directions, but some how we ended up in a tailor shop and I getting fit for a pair of pants. I had been thinking about getting a pair it that was just a bit quicker than I thought it would be done. I tuned out that he was a very nice man a gave us a map and some direction to were we need to go. But in our wanderings we had happened upon a few police men that were more than willing to help us, and after some more wondering we found it.
We stayed in a place called The Maple Leaf Guesthouse. The room that we stayed in was about as big a maple leaf as well. We shared a bed the first night. The room was a bed built in to the walls, just enough space to open the door, and turn around and even smaller bathroom. It was rather convent ,really a toilet and shower all in one don't we all want that. But other than the obvious lack of space, the cardboard think walls, and the hard beds, it was clean and nice. But we didn't spend very much time in there so in the end it was was we needed, just a place to put our stuff and softish place to sleep.

He headed out to the Temple St. Night Market, right after we ate a very good, but expensive meal at a Indian/ Pakistani? food stand. We're pretty sure we got ripped off.
The Night Market was huge, with bigger stalls and all sorts of stuff to spend your money on. But by midnight we went back to our cupboard to spend a night of tossing and turning on a squeaking bed.

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