The Beginning of My Journey
So this is it. The day I had spent so many months of planning, preparing, and anticipating was finally here. As the clock ticked away my remaining time at home, nerves and anxiety began to sink in. Was this a huge mistake? What in the hell was I thinking? Why would I leave everything behind like this?
My next-to-last day was spent in the best way possible: hanging out with my mom, packing and enjoying American pleasures (pizza, bourbon, basketball). The pizza and bourbon were both amazing, and the NCAA championship was entertaining.
Finishing packing and emptying my room was certainly difficult; Louisville had been home for some years and I really loved it. I had to keep reminding myself that there was a reason I had planned this for so long. Of course I could hardly sleep that night, but I suffered through and woke up bright and early to get on the way.
My last meal in America was simple: coffee and doughnuts. My mom and I made small talk and had some laughs, but knowing that in just a couple hours I would be leaving for quite a while left the overall mood a bit somber. Eventually we made our way to the airport, said our goodbyes, and I was on my way.
Hong Kong International Airport
Arriving in Hong Kong
After enduring the 15 hour flight to Hong Kong (which I lucked out on and got an exit seat, which is a blessing for someone with legs as long as mine) I found myself en route to my hotel. The hotel was a "mini hotel" which basically means the room was as small as physically possible while still being able to fit a bed and bathroom. However it was clean, cozy, and in the vicinity of plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs.
After settling I realized that I was starving and that I needed to get out and see what Hong Kong has to offer. So I set out to take care of both. After shuffling through throngs of inebriated foreigners and locals alike (my hotel was in the nightlife capital of the city), I finally found a decent spot to grab a bite to eat.
I had dinner at Tsui Wah, a casual chain of restaurants. Upon entering I told them I was eating alone, and found myself seated at a table with a seemingly kind local lady also eating alone (I soon discovered that having to share a table with strangers was the norm in Hong Kong). We awkwardly avoided looking at each other for as long as possible, until it became too much to bear. So we made a bit of small talk, she told me I was eating my meal wrong (I didn't know you were supposed to mix the soup with the noodles), and then complimented my use of chopsticks (years of eating sushi regularly will do that). My dish of shrimp and rice noodle with honey-lemon tea to drink was simple, yet still amazingly tasty.
All in all it was a great meal and what could have been an awkward situation ended up being a nice welcome to the city. Afterwards I considered going to one of the many bars or clubs, but a headache and horrible jet lag convinced me to just go back and get in bed.
Now this is the part when I should have went to sleep. However anyone who has traveled before can probably relate to the "what in the hell" feeling of actually realizing that you're halfway across the world. Needless to say I felt a bit overwhelmed and had a little meltdown, convinced myself to go back home, and then convinced myself to ride it out, THEN I went to bed.
Pictured Above (from left to right): The street at night, dinner, and my mini-hotel room.
I awoke eager to explore Hong Kong. My flight didn't leave until 3 pm, so I had a fair amount of time to explore. But I soon realized I wasn't feeling like running around the whole city so I scrapped my plans of visiting the Giant Buddha and taking a cable car up the mountains and instead just wondered around. My breakfast of coffee, fresh oats and milk, and crisp buns sweetened with condensed milk was exactly what I needed to start the day right. This, along with getting to talk to my mom for the first time since I left, lifted my mood quite a bit. I was ready to explore.
I wondered around the city for a couple hours, just taking in the atmosphere. Hong Kong has a very unique vibe to it, and I must say that it certainly wasn't my thing. It was a lovely city, with great food, great shops, and lovely sights, but it was just... too bland? I found that the city felt very superficial and consumer based; there is certainly nothing wrong that, just not my thing. Also, every thing was quite expensive. Another negative when you're on a budget like me. That said I did enjoy my time there and would like to spend a couple days visiting, but no more than that.
Breakfast and lunch.
Heading to Thailand
After making my way back to the airport I had some decent food, got some work done, and then began waiting for my plane to my next destination: Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Goodbye Hong Kong!