Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hong Kong

It took us a few hours longer to leave Vietnam than expected because the tide was too low to pull out of the port. But after the tide rose, we departed for China. We all heard that we were headed for a typhoon, so we prepared for the worse. Luckily, our captain managed to miss the bad part of the storm so it never got too rocky. And we made it to Hong Kong on time. I got off the ship around 8:45 and we went to Lantau Island. We visited a fishing village and just walked around the market. We also stopped by the Tao Temple. We only stayed for a short time, and went to the Buddhist monastery. I was expecting the kind of monastery you see on TV, like with the monks and meditation everywhere. But it wasn't anything like that. It was much more of a tourist spot, and I think I saw maybe two monks the entire time I was there. When we got there we had to go eat so we went to the vegetarian restaurant they have. Then we walked around the monastery for a few minutes, which was basically some restaurants and gift shops. Probably the only thing I really enjoyed was getting to see the big Buddha and climbing the 256 stairs to the top. It wasn't too bad, and it was an amazing view. The Buddha cost around 6 million US dollars. After seeing the Buddha, we went to another area with more gift shops. After buying a lot of junk, we went back to the ship. I relaxed for an hour or two but then I decided to go back out. I took a bus to the night market. I walked around and bought a couple cool things, but mostly they were selling cheap electronics and clothes. I didn't feel unsafe at all, except when I encountered a man from Nigeria. I thought I had escaped those "over-friendly" men from Africa, but I guess not. He approached me and just said he wanted to be friends. Normally, that would be a really weird thing to say, but I'd heard a lot of that kind of talk when we were in Ghana. I was just polite to him, but he wouldn't leave. He said he felt like he needed to buy me a drink. And when I said I didn't drink, he offered dinner. Then I said I hadn't eaten but he just asked if we could go somewhere to talk. By that time I was really annoyed and just said maybe some other time and tried to leave. But he said he didn't feel like letting me leave. So I started getting a little freaked out and just said fine, you can have my email and we can go out tomorrow. Of course I was never going to do that, but after I gave it to him, he let me leave. So by that time, I was a little sketched out but I kept walking around the market. Then not even a minute after I had escaped the scary Nigerian, I was approached by an older man from the Middle East. His English was very poor, he said something like, "Hotel, dinner?" I assumed he was asking if I was staying at a hotel and I said no, that I was staying on a ship. Then he kept asking about a hotel. So I asked him if he was offering and he said yes. Since I was already freaked out from earlier, being asked by a creepy old man if I wanted to stay at his hotel really made me nervous. So I said no and he asked if I was alone. I lied and said no I had a bunch of friends from the ship that were walking around here somewhere. He asked if we would all go out to dinner with him and then I just said no and walked away. So after that, I decided to go back to the ship. I thought I could just walk back on Nathan Road since it's a huge, well-lit, and populated area. And it was very safe, but it was like a 30 minute walk back to the ship. When I finally got back, I was so exhausted and just ready for bed.

The next day I went on a trip to do Tai Chi. We met a Tai Chi master at a park and he briefly taught us some beginner Tai Chi. It was really interesting and calming, and I really want to do more of it when I get back home! After that, we went to learn about tea and try some different kinds. I used to hate tea, but lately, since just about every Asian country drinks it all the time, I've grown to not hate it. The taste testing was nice and I want to try more types of tea now! We didn't have much time there because we had to go eat lunch in "Central." We went to a restaurant that served Dim Sum. The meal was really good! We just had noodles and vegetables, like just about everywhere else, but it was still great! Someone at our table ordered chicken feet, and that made me a little uncomfortable, but oh well. After our short day, we went back to the ship and I went back out to a different market. I decided to go, in the daytime, to the Ladies Market. It was probably the largest market I've been to yet and had just about everything you could ever want to buy! I found some really nice souvenirs and I found a small teapot with a filter so I can make some tea when I get home! In Shanghai I'm going to try to buy some teacups and loose leaf tea. After spending a while at the market, I took the bus back to the ship and stayed there since we were leaving that night. I could have traveled off the ship since we are all meeting in Shanghai, and in hindsight I don't know why I didn't. But I guess I was just thinking that I wanted to get caught up on homework since we're in the last leg of the trip and I also didn't want the hassle of planning a huge trip in China when we don't really have Internet access. I also didn't find people that were doing anything that interested me until after we had to declare if we were traveling on or off the ship. But even though I'm missing out on two extra days in China, it is nice to be on the ship with only a few other students. Nice and quiet. We will be in Shanghai on Thursday.


  1. No worries-I finally met my friend Yulin from Bejing in Mexico. He is anxious for me to visit, so you can come too and we can see China and maybe also visit my friend Sue in Delhi.

    And, DON'T go visit these markets alone at night-please!

  2. Sounds like you had some close encounters with potentially scary people! Be safe! Margot is expecting you back just as you left! (well she'll accept that you like Indian food now!)