Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hong Kong: first night

When Heather and I were standing in line to go through immigration at the Hong Kong airport, we witnessed a minor disturbance. The celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China was a few days away, and it seems a group of protesters had decided to take advantage of the crowds coming in for the occasion (and the freedom of speech enjoyed in Hong Kong) to demonstrate against the government's suppression of Falun Gong on the mainland. We saw a couple of the protesters get picked up and carted away by the airport police.

But the protesters' disruption was nothing compared to the people behind us in the line. These had to be the two most ignorant Chinese American teenagers ever. As soon as the protest ruckus started these two began their running commentary. They were all "What are these people protesting?" "Most of the people in this line probably don't even understand Mandarin, they're just wasting their breath." They couldn't really understand much of what the demonstraters were saying. The boy, who was the younger and denser of the two, was like cheering for the police to take the people away and to bludgeon them (which didn't happen). At one point he also said "are these people protesting against anti-Communism?" (yeah, they're demonstrating in favor of the government, wtf?)

Anyway, after we got through immigration and customs and all that good stuff, Heather and I took the airport shuttle into Central station in Hong Kong. We then took a taxi to our hotel the Novotel Century Harborview. The hotel was pretty decent: the decor in the lobby, the rooms, and elsewhere was modern and clean. It was kind of in a nowhere neighborhood but it was only 10 minutes away from Central train station. The only real bummer is that the hotel's fitness center and pool were closed for rennovations during our stay. At any rate, when Heather and I arrived Ada, Zach and some of their crew were waiting for us in the lobby. After I dropped off my things and freshened up quickly, and after we had a drink or two at the pricey hotel bar, we all decided to go out.

We headed for Lan Kwai Fong which is the nightlife district in Central Hong Kong. It's comprised of two streets (Lan Kwai Fong and D'Aguilar street) lined with bars, restaurants, and clubs frequented by Westerners. I remember being overcome by a wave of exhiliration when I first arrived here. It was nearly daybright with all the colorful signs hanging overhead, and the street was filled with people. It was like a party as far as the eye could see: I was reminded of Mardi Gras back in New Orleans and at the same time I recognized that I was in an ultra-modern Asian metropolis such as I had previously seen only in movies.

We began our excursion in the front room of a pub that had a band playing in the back. Then we finished the night across the street in the Agave tequila bar. I was told that Ada and Wish were regulars there back when they were studying in Hong Kong.


Ada said...

We sure were... loved that night out in Lan Kwai Fong.......mmmm... it was fun to be Latina for the night!!!

Baylor Heather said...

Ahhh...Hong Kong. Those were the days, man!

nola32 said...

i feel like pheobe on friends when she didn't get to go to london because she was pregnant (NOT saying that i am). i think iceland's going to be the new hong kong. on the trip i'll even keep a tally. hong kong 0, iceland 1. hehe