Hell in the Pacific

Well I’m finally home.

In fact, I’ve been home for one week and one day now. The jet lag is pretty much gone, and life is slowly returning to normal.

I wish I could say that I had a good time in Hong Kong. I really do. In fact, Hong Kong itself isn’t a bad place — if you like strange guys on the street corner trying to sell you Rolecks Watches every five feet, and Buddhist priests blessing you and then asking you for money…

Okay, I have to admit it, Hong Kong is spectactular. Not only is the architecture absolutely stunning, but the free-enterprise-anything-goes atmosphere is wonderful.

Not even here in Communist Canada can we claim to be as free market as those in Hong Kong.

(Aside) How do you refer to someone from Hong Kong? I mean, Australia has Australians, Singapore has Singaporeans, but what about Hong Kong? Hongkies? Naaah… I don’t think so. People from Hong Kong are referred to as Hong Kongers, or, if you want to be really technical, Cantons, because Hong Kong is in the Chinese province of Canton.

McDonald’s in Hong Kong is quite different than what I’m used to seeing. I can’t tell you what they call a Quarter Pounder in Hong Kong because I really didn’t look, (but it *is* called The Whopper in Burger King) but the idea of a McCappuccino at the McCafe rather appeals to me.

Hong Kong is the only city I know of in the world where two breakfast Extra Value Meals cost $36.00.

But I can’t say I enjoyed being there.

I think it has something to do with the fact that about ten minutes before my wife and I were meant to get onto a bus to tour the city, I went running down the hallway to the mens’ room… and emptied my guts all over the toilet, floor, my shoes… you get the idea. I feel sorry for the poor person who had to clean it up, but what can you do?

The rest of the day just got worse — I spent a large chunk of time in the mens’ room that day, and finally decided that I had had enough and took a taxi back to the hotel. I almost made it too…

The staff of the hotel, the Hyatt Regency, were excellent, however. I can imagine the conversation inside the front doors:

Jim (in a deep english accent): Joe, there’s a man throwing up on the front steps.
Joe (also in a deep english accent): Oh dear. How revolting.

My wife had to deal with paying the taxi driver whilst fending off three hotel staffers who were trying to open the door for her while helping her out of the car and asking if I was all right. I was too busy to notice anything other than her voice saying, “he wants to see a doctor.” Which effectively made them back off for a few minutes.

So off to the doctor we go… and, contrary to my fear that it was food poisoning, it was just ye olde Gastroenteritis; aka the Twenty-Four-Hour-Bug. That was the good news.

The bad news was that my wife got it the next day (and therefore had to travel with it) and it effectively completely ruined the romantic part of our getaway together.

But that’s not really Hong Kong’s fault, is it?

The Hyatt Regency is a beautiful hotel. It’s situated in the Kowloon area of the city, and located right next to the Red Lips Bar. I don’t really know what goes on inside the Red Lips Bar, because we didn’t go inside, but I can say that there was a little old lady sitting outside at about midnight our first night there accosting all the single gentlemen.

“You, sir. Come inside! Only Fifty Dollar! You see beautiful things! It’s good for you!”

On the other side of the Hyatt Regency was a massage parlour of some sort. My wife and I didn’t go in there either.

Massage therapy in Hong Kong is rather different than massage therapy in other parts of the world. The sign outside showed what I can assume to be photos of their massage therapists; only I would have expected massage therapists to be wearing a bit more than the ladies in those photos.

But I will say that we learned a lot on our abbreviated tour, we saw some wonderful sights, and had a few laughs along the way. Would I recommend a visit to Hong Kong? Absolutely. Just remember a few things. First, be prepared. Hong Kong’s civic engineers can’t draw straight lines. Secondly, be careful what and where you eat. Be willing to pay top dollar for top quality — and above all, safe — food. Take the tour of the city, because it’s well worth it, and, above all else, avoid the hustlers.

Even the ones selling Rolecks watches.

About Steven Britton

Steve is a freelance programmer, partial billionaire, dad, Recovering Atheist, Conservative, and occasionally prolific blogger.