Sunday, October 17, 2010

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lunch with the mainlanders

So as part of the tour that we did, we had lunch at a restaurant which was part of the package. We stopped in a very nice part of town and I thought things were looking up. As we strolled past the Siberian fur shop, we made sharp left down a little side street and went up some stairs to a restaurant.

I should have turned around and gone to the nearby McDonald's when I saw the dead roach on the stairs but I'd promised I wasn't going to be squeamish and be a spoilt brat about everything so I soldiered up the stairs.

The restaurant was packed with people but they gave us westerners our own table so that we didn't have to do the common Chinese practice of everyone eating out of the same serving dish. Somehow we tend to be a bit squeamish about stuff like that.

When we sat down they basically threw all of the food at us. There were about 8 dishes that were placed in front of us and we had to dig in. That's where the fun started, they didn't tell us before but we had 15 mins to eat. Apparently that's how long most people take to ear and they had another group behind us waiting for the table so we had to shovel the food in and go.

I gotta say I didn't mind be because after seeing that roach on the stairs, I didn't want to have to spend another minute in that restaurant than I absolutely had to.

Onto the next stop.

Lost in Translation

There is much to see and do here and everyday is an adventure.

One night while we were walking around, desperately trying not to go back to our hell room, I mean hotel room, we stumbled into a lovely oasis a 4.5 star hotel and therebwere signs for a day long bus tour of the main sights in Hong Kong. At 400 or 53 Canadian we would be in an air conditioned coach, get lunch and a day of festivities.

Mr. HK thought that was too expensive and instead thought that we should take the tour attached to our hotel for 328 (43cdn), I threw my hands up in the air and said tally ho.

The morning of the tour, as we sat in the lobby waiting for the bus to arrive, I had a quick thought, turned to the bride and asked this tour is in english right? As a native English speaker, she said of course it would be, he knows we don't speak Chinese.

A lady entered the lobby and said something in cantonese then left, Mr. HK said that's our tour guide let's go. Strange I thought she didn't introduce herself or say anything to us but we trudged along behind her and hopped onto a bus full of Chinese people. Of course our tour was in Chinese and Mandarin no less, which Mr. HK doesn't speak.

We trundled along behind our group all day and eventually had a good time but at every stop as I watched the english speaking tours go by, I couldn't help but wonder, would they notice me if I slipped onto their bus and took their tour with them. Hmmm!

Please don't make me go back there.

So for anyone who's reading this blog, you know that I had some serios reservations about where we were staying while here. The words budget and local chinese hotel are not in my vocabulary. Our host, Mr. C's friend insisted on selecting and paying for our accommodation and since he is notoriously cheap, I knew this wasn't going to be a good idea. Well I was right and on Day 4, Mr. C broke down and finally admitted it.

The hotel/backpackers paradise is a DUMP. The was designed for Chinese people and if you are over 5'5 and weigh more than 105lbs, this is not the place for you.

The closet we are sleeping in has two Chinese sized twin beds, which is smaller and shorter than a western twin bed, so everynight when we stretch out, our calves are dangling off the bed.

In the closet, there is a kid sized table and chair from which you can do your make up (me) or surf the net, obviously not at the same time. Cause we're in a suite, we also get a couch which I've refused to sit on unless there's a sheet covering it. Let's just say that the couch has probably been around since the start of the cultural revolution.

Now there is a tv in the room. Well really a computer monitor disguised as a tv but... All of the stations are in Chinese and i only know 4 words so it's kinda useless. There is an armoire, okay really a box you can put your clothes in but.. It's dark and I can't see what lurks inside so our clothes have never left our suitcase.

The bathroom is a special place. The toilet seat lid is broken and the seat itself spins cause one side is broken. You can sit on the toilet and brush your teeth at the same time if you so choose. Thankfully the bathroom is not a fully wet bathroom or you could poprobably take a shower while also sitting on the throne.

This morning as I stood in the shower trying not to hit my head on the exposed water pipes hovering a mere two inches from my head, I felt vindicated cause Mr. C admitted to me that I was right this place is a dump but that was after he found ants swirling around his breakfast pastries.

Guess where we're staying when we come back from Shanghai - not here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Survival tip #2 - please bring your own napkins to the restaurant. Yes that's right you won't get any here. Apparently HKers bring their own napkins to the restaurant because for some strange reason that's no included with your meal.

Survival tip #5 - don't stand at the edge of the street waiting for the light to change especially if the building behind you is an apartment building. People throw things out of their windows e.g. Dirty water and garbage being just to name a few.

Survival tip #14 - if you have an empty seat at your table someone will sit in it. Now I haven't been to a fancy restaurant but I sure hope that doesn't happen there.

Survival tip #4 - please don't try to look cute or dress fashionably in 50 degree weather it just doesn't work. Get yourself to the nearest star bucks and park it for the day.

Survival tip #6 - don't to go to a Vietnamese restaurant to have salami, apparently in Vietnam salami is white.