Saturday, September 18, 2010

When in Hong Kong

It took awhile for my parents and I to decide on our next holiday destination. I voted for Maldives or Seoul. Ibu wanted to go to *I can't remember where* and Papa opted for Bandung. But somehow we settled down for Hong Kong on the third day of Raya.

Hong Kong wasn't exactly what I expected. Not that I came here with a lot of expectations. I did expect the city to be ethnically-diversed, a little like New York City or London, perhaps. But that wasn't exactly the case, if you know what I mean. It's Hong Kong. Not that it would matter much just that it was a little shocking to me at first.

That aside, I love how the city flows. There are different facades to it and we're lucky enough to get a glimpse of those. We started off the trip by staying at Gold Coast, an area on the New Territory, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Waking up to the sight of the sprawling blue harbour surrounding our hotel was just amazing. It takes your breath away, every time.


"Macau doesn't sleep."
"It doesn't? What does it do then?"
"It gambles."

True enough. Macau is considered Sin City of the East and there are casinos scattered all around the city. Probably more casinos than shopping malls or anything else. We went on a day trip to Macau and since we weren't gamblers (duhh), there wasn't much for us to see. Did a little of shopping and just walked about on the streets of the Sin City. Traces of Portuguese influence from the colonial era could still be seen in the city in terms of the buildings and also, how most signboards had Portuguese translations on them.

After a couple of days relaxing in the suburbs, we stayed over at the city centre. Somewhere near the Kowloon area. Time to groove in the city atmosphere, Honkies-style. What a huge difference it was; Kowloon and the New Territory. Where Gold Coast was quieter and less dense in population, this part of the city had people all over, cars honking here and there as well as shops whether big or small were seen at every corner.

Hong Kong is a shopping mall on its own. It is THE place to shop albeit it being a little too expensive at times. There are street markets like the Ladies Market and Stanley Market where they sell various arrays of things from handbags to clothes to shoes etc. But one has to be very careful when coming here. The sellers can sometimes charge an exorbitant price for their things so be sure to start bargaining for 50% to 70% off. It gets tiring and annoying after awhile but it'll be worth it ;)

And if you're not into street markets and imitations, there's always the high end stores to scout for. Tsim Sha Tsui is probably the best place to do it. Imagine Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Dior and what not lined side by side on the same street. Crazy, ain't it?! You'll wish you were married to some millionaire at that time. Hehehe.

In terms of sightseeing, there is a lot to see in Hong Kong (besides shopping, of course). We managed to visit Aberdeen Fishing Village and saw a different side of the city. In the midst of the vast development of Hong Kong and the sophistication of its people, there's this village where the people made fishing as their main source of income and had boats as their abodes. The place used to be an ancient fishing port and it maintained some of those up until today.

I just looooveeee the sights of the harbour as well as Hong Kong's skyline at night. The skyline which is located at the side of the Hong Kong island gets very colourful and bright when night falls. It's even better than Manhattan's skyline. No kidding! And the harbour, oh my god! It's just stunning and you can't help but to be overwhelmed by its beauty.

Honkies appear to be pleasant and warm people. Somehow, we always found ourselves a bit lost when looking for places in the city and every time we turned to the locals for directions, they were more than helpful to us. And the people are usually well-dressed. The women have amazing fashion style while some of the guys can be pretty good-looking. Edison Chen-like guys ;)

Hong Kong, from where I saw it was like pieces of things I was familiar with. The street markets reminded me of the bazaars in Istanbul. The streets like Tsim Sha Tsui made me thought of NYC. Its airport had a resemblance of our airport, KLIA. But when those pieces are being put together, it becomes something new altogether.

If you want a short yet pleasant trip filled with a little bit of everything, Hong Kong is the place to go.

Just remember, when in Hong Kong, do as the Honkies do =p

Gold Coast from our hotel room.

Imagine waking up to this every morning, really.

Parents on the beach in front of our hotel

Morning dip at the beach

Ladies Market, Hong Kong. Remember, MUST bargain when you're here!


Had lunch at a Portuguese restaurant in Macau

Aberdeen Fishing Village. Those boats are also homes to some of the fishermen.

And somewhere near the fishing village, there's a Marina Club that docks all these luxurious boats and yachts. Toys of rich Honkies.

With Papa on our sampan ride across the village.

Behind us is the Jumbo Floating Restaurant. The most famous floating restaurant in Hong Kong.

Our first Halal Cantonese meal

At Stanley Market. The place seems neater and nicer than Ladies Market.

Repulse Bay in the background. Where a lot of rich Honkies reside in their beach homes.

Repulse Bay, again.

Tsim Sha Tsui. A famous shopping district in Hong Kong.

Try not to hyperventilate when you see this =p

Lantern Festival

Ahh, look at that. Hong Kong's skyline at night.

Hang Seng and the financial district is somewhere at the back of me.

Our last night in Hong Kong

Friday, September 10, 2010

From One Ramadhan To Another

Raya is here again. It's a great blessing that we survived this Ramadhan, is it not? My mum was saying that Ramadhan is a good indicator of what has happened so far. From one Ramadhan to another; what changed, who came, who left, that sort of thing.

From last year's Ramadhan to this year's Ramadhan, things did change a lot. Last Ramadhan, my grandfather, Tok Ayah was still with us and we celebrated Raya together. This Ramadhan, he's gone. Last Ramadhan, my maternal grandmother, Wan was still fit as a fiddle but this Ramadhan she can barely get out of bed.

Last Ramadhan, I was still in my school uniform, cracking my head over SPM and still unsure of what to do after SPM. This Ramadhan, here I am in KYUEM, jumping ship from being a lawyer to charting my way to be an economist. Last Ramadhan, I was still hanging out and laughing with old friends from secondary school about the silliest of stuffs. This Ramadhan, we're on our own pathways as we drift apart slightly and get to know new set of friends.

So, yes a lot things did change within a year. Ramadhan has shown us that much. But I can only hope with the things that have happened, good or bad, they'll turn us into better Muslims. Muslims who have stronger faith and perseverance. After all, everything happens for a reason.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin. Have a great one, y'all! :))