I spy with my little eye... Hong Kong Diaries - Part 3!

Last Hong Kong post! This is the one where we take the ferry and cross the bay to get on to mainland. It seemed like a pretty straightforward deal: get to harbour, get on a boat, get on the other side of the bay. Except that there are 5 or 6 different boat companies, and that nobody seemed willing to answer our questions. It took a solid half an hour and a couple of helpful Americans to finally understand that Star Ferry was the only one going back and forth without going around all islands. That is the one wisdom word I want to pass on: Star Ferry is the way to mainland. 
The view from the other side of the bay is fantastic and the city has a different vibe, I found it much more modern with skyscrapers and big avenues (as opposed to tiny paved and steep streets). 

We walked around Prince Edward station, I wanted to have a look at the markets, starting with the flower market. The colours, the happy people shopping, the kitsch arrangements, I loved everything about it.

Right at the end of the flower market, we found the bird market. I always have mixed feelings about animal markets: I find it sad to see all those birds in cages, at the same time, I have amazing memories of playing with my grandfather's parrots in Nigeria. One day maybe I will make up my mind, but for now, I choose to remain perplexed...

After this long walk, we took the metro under the water to get back to the island and get back to Central Hong Kong, around Hollywood Road. We found ourselves in Upper Lascar Row, surrounded by antics. Some of them real, some of them fake, but all good fun!

Finally we sat down at Fish & Meat for one of the best dinners I had in Hong Kong! The team and caring, the food was tasty and simple (and generous!). This burrata was fantastic and I can't even start with the pavlova! Thank you to the chef for signing our menu and sharing the love!

The lessons of this last day in Hong Kong:
1- I admire Hong Kongers discipline: I had never seen people queue to get into the metro.There are lines on the platform. I'm impressed by the fact that despite the city being over-crowded, I didn't feel claustrophobic. 
2- Hong Kong island and mainland are very different, it felt like different cities.
3- Don't stop walking. We thought we had seen all of Hollywood road until we let the streets guide us to Upper Lascar Row where we realised we had missed plenty of vintage treasures. 

Thank you Hong Kong for a great time!

I spy with my little eye... Hong Kong Diaries - Part 2.

I will admit that with the jet lag, we didn't manage to wake up before 11am, so we never made it to breakfast. Doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every bit of our hotel: for some reason, I completely fell for their wall paper... 

Eventually we ventured out to go and explore Wanchai. We had lunch at 22 Ships on Ship Street: gastronomical tapas with coffee wasn't the best idea, it was a bit early, but I loved seating and eating on the street!

After lunch we wandered the streets of Wanchai, just to realise that it was clearly a nightlife kind of neighbourhood. There wasn't a lot to see but our walk took us to the financial district where the protests took place. There were only a few umbrellas left, it felt like the only ones left didn't get the memo saying that the meeting point had changed. The roads were empty, it felt like a ghost town. 

The one thing I remember from Wanchai is that it felt less international than Central Hong Kong, I was surprise to see how the balance between oriental and occidental culture varies from one neighbourhood to an other.

With such a packed city, HongKongers have become experts in making the most of every bit of space. Coming from Dubai where space is the one thing we never run out, it is quite impressive.

On our way back to Central, the Gentleman stopped at The Armoury for some bespoke shopping. After turning around the building for a solid 20min, we finally found the entrance and eventually made our way up to the 3rd floor of Pedder Building. Big up for the vintage fabric ties and passionate staff!

Then we headed to Sevva on the rooftop of Prince's building for a cocktail and a fantastic view of Hong Kong. The cocktails were interesting and the sunset, amazing. It is expensive but perfect for a special occasion.

Finally we met K. who moved to Hong Kong a couple of months ago for dinner at Bibo. I would highly recommend it: it is located in an old station, underground, and they managed to gather an amazing amount of art pieces. From Banksy to Kaws, and Tsang Tsoi Choi, there is a strong street art vibe displayed like an accumulation of piece, making the space a visual feast for the eye. What happens in the plate is as explosive as the decor: subtle flavors and lots of colours, I loved it! Oh, and the team is adorable!

The lessons of this 2nd day in Hong Kong:
1- don't believe everything the media say: the Umbrella revolution was nothing threatening from what I experienced. We arrived in Hong Kong at the end of the movement but there was absolutely no reason to feel unsafe, people were peacefully (and passionately) demonstrating. They were eager and happy to share but there was no violence whatsoever. And to be honest, my french revolution history background felt a lot of empathy.
2- you've got to admire Hong Kongers sense of design. The city is a mess but they find ways to make it evolve.
3- Hong Kongers have their own style. You don't see it everywhere but some of them of very edgy, in a very London way: street-style, sharp shapes and fluo colours. My favourite thing to do while seating with a drink watching people pass by was to chase the big eye contact lenses. They love it and it gives the ladies a kawai vibe that I love.

... to be continued...

I spy with my little eye... Hong Kong Diaries - Part 1!

The Gentleman and I decided to visit Hong Kong on Eid break: a revolution based on umbrellas? I had to check it out! So it started at the airport, Terminal 1, trying to board despite the endless queues and insane traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road.

We had picked a hotel with a very central location: the Pottinger. A boutique hotel in a teeny tiny street. That's one of the first things we noticed: the city is a big mismatch of everything. You will find a fancy shop next to a butcher, next to a bar, next to a furniture store. Dubai is sometimes a bit too tidy, you can't get surprised: if you're in the fashion alley at Dubai Mall, then you know it's all going to be clothes, if you are at Pier 7 in the Marina, then you know it's all going to be restaurants. In Hong Kong, you get surprised at every corner of a street, and that's very refreshing!

A tired yet happy face after a night flight.

And so off we went to explore! Coming from a city where you can't really walk, we were determined to use as little public transport as possible, so we didn't go very far, but we wandered around the neighbourhoods of Central, Wanchai and took the ferry to have a look at Hong Kong Island from the mainland. 
On our first day, we focused on Central, Hollywood Street and ended up by chance at PMQ, the new hub for creative addresses on Aberdeen Street. It was fun to wander the floors of this center once we understood how to pass from one side to an other (two brains, one building, we can do this!).

I expected to find lots of girlie shops in Hong Kong until I remembered that Kawai was a Japanese concept, not Chinese... So Bread'n Butter was pretty much an exception, a very pretty pastel chamallowlike exception though!

Don't get me wrong, we still managed to buy gifts out of a mushroom, so if you really want your daily dose of Kawai, Eat & Play is the place for you!

Soho Fama, a restaurant located in PMQ too is more representative of the Hong Kong we discovered: quirky and arty! 

Even in an arty shopping mall, we stumbled on a wedding photoshoot. And in case you were wondering: it wasn't a fashion shoot, they were whispering sweet words to each other when I stole that picture. 

Which leads us to an other favourite: The Refinery. Literally fell for these bunny caps! "A little bit difficult to wear with a straight face" as the Gentleman put it but so cute!

After (a sleepless night and) a long walk, we sat down at Libertine, a little restaurant located right in front of PMQ on Aberdeen Street, for a quick coffee before heading back to our hotel.

The lessons of this first day in Hong Kong: 
1- this city is STEEP! Now I understand why Hong Kong ladies don't wear heels: it's the best way to kill yourself.
2- if you live in Hong Kong you don't need to go to the gym: my bum and legs were hurting at specific places after walking for 2 hours up and down the city.
3- shopping is tricky: since the city is packed, lots of shops are located in the higher floors of the buildings. Which means that while you are looking down on your feet to keep your balance, you should (in theory) also look up. Being a neophyte at that looking-up-and-down thing, I chose to focus on my life rather than shopping...

... to be continued...

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