On Saturday, Jan 5, I arrived in HK after a twelve hour trip from London Gatwick. What a hell of a trip. But this time it was absolutely my fault. I had to switch from Heathrow to Gatwick since I was arriving in the former from my town. Well, everything was going fine. I arrived on time, picked up my luggage and headed to the central bus station for my National Express coach (again, after a few years!). Every time I travel on National Express it reminds me of The Divine Comedy's song of the same name...Anyway, as I was about to get to the station I suddenly realized that I had collected the wrong suitcase. All the way back to arrivals - running like crazy - and, miraculously, my suitcase was still there. Thank God! The BAA officer almost kills me !
I finally arrived in Gatwick and departed for HK on an Oasis Airlines flight. The only discount long-haul airline that I know (great deal!)and it works just fine. I watched Shrek 3 and A Good Year, with Russell Crowe. After that, I took my first sleeping pill ever and slept like a baby. I just woke up as we were approaching HK.
HK airport is huge, really modern and pretty. I managed to find the hotel's counter and scheduled a shuttle service to the hotel. Somewhere in Kowloon. The name did not mean much to me at that point. It was a long ride, more than an hour, and it included a stop in Disneyland HK's parking lot...
I arrived at the hotel and the first impression was ok. Not luxurious but comfortable. I did not know anything about its location... I just had to wait for a friend of mine who was arriving from NY a couple of hours later. If everything resulted as planned, we'd painting the town red. It was Saturday night and the course did not start until Monday.
My friend arrived around 10 pm and shortly after we were on our way to Central, more precisely, to Lan Kwai Fong, the main party area in the Hong Kong Island. At this point we already realized that the hotel's location was rather shitty. Far from the action.
After our first Asian dinner, we had some drinks at a couple of bars to become familiar with the area. What most struck me since the beginning - and it's been sth repeated during the whole trip - was the high number of expats living in HK. I expected a larger majority of locals. We ended up going to this club 'Prive' and it was fun, not amazing, though. But we were in the mood for more and, once it closed and after some random questioning, we headed to an after party club nearby. It was a rather dark one, with a curious mix of people, a little shady and quite entertaining. Well, it was more entertaining for my friend who hooked up with a very cute Korean girl. What a beginning! I just played wingman haha!
By the time we went back to the hotel it was 9 am and some other people from the program who had just arrived or woken up looked at us with surprise... time for breakfast and to go to bed. Day 1.
The day after, Sunday, was just a waste, in particular for me since either the drinks from the night before, the water, or the early breakfast k.o.'ed my stomach and I was forced to follow the bottled water+sugar diet... Fortunately, it was just for one day. Sunday proved also useful to see that my laptop, after 5 dignifying years, is about to pass away. It's been a real pain to ask for people's computers for two weeks!
On Monday the course was to start and we were all curious about what was ahead of us: the school, the professors, the course, the group of people... But I will touch on it in the next post.