Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Welcome to Hong Kong
As you may have started to sense, I was started to get a little burnt out on mainland China. I realized very quickly that traveling on a budget in China is very different than traveling on an expense account. When you're loaded, everyone speaks English and there's no MSG in your dinner. When you're trying to get dinner for under $2 every day the waitresses laugh at you for not speaking Mandarin and take pictures of you while you're eating because you're the first white person they've seen come in to their restaurant.
When I finally arrived in Hong Kong this week I crawled off the bus and nearly wept. Finally, civilization. The first thing I did was go to 7-11, checked out their snack food selection and shed a few more tears. What a wonderful place Hong Kong is.
First thing the next day my friend Asta's aunt and cousin took me out to a restaurant, Aqua, that brought back fond memories of what it was like to live in the real world. In other words, this is not the sort of place that backpackers generally hang out.
I had some sort of chirashi-type dish (sashimi over seasoned rice) with fish flown in daily from Tokyo's famous Tsukji fish market. I followed it up with what is probably the first Western dessert--save for Oreos--that I've had since embarking on this adventure, a soft-centered chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream.
This is the sort of meal that I once would have taken for granted in London or New York, but after the last few weeks I have a new appreciation for a meal that is not dripping in oil or has an aftertaste of melamine. It bode well for the next week, a large portion of which would be spent eating with Asta's Hong Kong family.
Hong Kong, I love you.