Early morning movie and jetlag in Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 128 Aug 16]

kick ass 2

Location: Hong Kong

I learned that there are cheap, early morning movie tickets in Hong Kong. For 9am shows, the tickets are about HK$50 (S$9).

The one show that I really really want to watch here is Kick Ass 2 because I’m sure they’ll never bring it to Malaysia and even if they do, they will be a lot of censoring going on.

Even though I had to check out at 12 noon, I decided that I could still watch the movie and be back in time for check out.

The cinema is just around the corner for my hostel so I reached there about 20 minutes before the show started. I got my tickets and had to wait a while before my movie hall was open.

Kick Ass 2 ticket
Kick Ass 2 ticket

There were about 12 people watching the show. I guess it’s because it’s too early and it’s a weekday so everyone’s at work. I wonder if the cinemas make enough money from early screenings.

There were also a few senior citizens around. I know that morning shows are HK$20 (S$3.30) for them but I wasn’t sure this movie is for them. [Kick-Ass 2: Extended NSFW Trailer]

The show was great! Lots of action scenes and weepy scenes but too little topless scenes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Oh, Jim Carrey is in it as well so that’s an extra 50 points!

Moving to a new hostel

After the movie, I went to find where my new hostel was at. I found the check in counter but no one was there so I head back to the old hostel to pack up my things.

There still wasn’t anyone at the hostel when I got there so I called the phone number listed on the counter. A lady answered with, “Wai. Wai. Wai.” I tried shouting but she couldn’t hear me.

Another girl came in. As my room wasn’t ready, she told me to hang around outside until 12 noon for check in.

I headed to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. It’s been such a long time since I’ve had good Japanese food so I savoured every bite. The sashimi slices felt a bit too thick, though.

I love Japanese food
I love Japanese food

After lunch, I strolled in Eslite Bookstore, a Taiwanese chain of bookstores with the most gorgeous layout and very good collection of books. The books there are not wrapped in plastic but are free for everyone to read.

Then it was back to the hostel for me. There were three people waiting for check in so I waited a bit longer. The lady at the reception had a quick lunch of soup and rice before continuing with my reservation.

She told me that things have been really busy these days with guests coming from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. I found it fascinating that these foreign guests were able to find the room here because it’s rather hidden on the internet.

After paying my rent of HK$320 (S$54) a night, she brought me to a building opposite where my room was. It seems to me that guesthouses in Hong Kong have rooms all over the place and I find that pretty strange.

Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel
Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel

My new room is very nice (at least better than the hell hole ex-hostel I was at which smelled like backpackers who do not shower enough). My shower and toilet is at the end of my room. I found it rather strange showering right in front of the toilet bowl but it’s a small price to pay.

I napped a little and head out to do more sight seeing.

Awesome Hong Kong dessert

Based on a Foursquare recommendation, I went to Yee Shun Milk Company which specializes in milk-related desserts.

Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company
Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company

There was a small milk “skin” on top of my pudding. The pudding was so rich and smooth I immediately decided that I will have one of these each day before I leave.

Since the eatery was rather small, service was curt. As soon as I cleared my bowl–and taken out my phone to take a photo of the spoon–a waiter took my bowl away. So I paid my bill and left.

Defeated by jet lag

Even though it was summer, the air was warm and humid because of the typhoon. I was planning to go on the Central-Mid-Level Escalators but the tram to the west never came.

By that time, I was sweaty, hot and sleepy so I zombie-walked back to the hostel. After a shower, I hit the sack at about 5:30pm.

See Hong Kong on a tram [YQrtw Day 127 Aug 15]

tramming in hong kong

Location: Hong Kong

[I was sleepy with jetlag on both the nights of August 15 and 16 so I wasn’t able to update the day’s blog post before midnight. Maybe nobody noticed… Anyway, here it is!]

I wanna hold your haaaaand
I wanna hold your haaaaand

I was fully awake at 7am even though I drifted to sleep well past midnight. It seems like it will take a lot more days before my jetlag goes away and for me to be familiar with GMT+8.

I took the chance to go to the common room to surf the internet. Wi-Fi on the fourth floor was non-existent, despite the sign outside giving the password for Wi-Fi.

The hostel that I was staying is a rather strange place. For one thing, they advertised themselves as at least 5 different hostels on booking sites. When the tourists get there, they are directed to the reception area on the third floor and then given a room or bed on another floor or at an entirely different building.

I was supposed to move out today because the bed in the 3-person room was booked. I asked the guy at the reception (who I think is the boss) about check out time and when I could move in. He was rather rude and replied me as if I’m trying to cheat him of a room even though I’ve made the booking online.

When he gave me back my change, I noticed that he gave me HK$100 less so I thought that he kept the HK$100 as the key deposit. Then I asked if I could have yesterday’s deposit back, he replied, “Of course not.”

So I pointed out that there as HK$100 less in the change, he said, “Oh.” and gave me a HK$100 note. No apology! He then asked one of the girls working there to bring me to my room.

The both of us had an awkward conversation about my travels as she spoke Mandarin with a Cantonese accent. I don’t know if in cases like these, I should step in and speak with my bad Cantonese or let her continue in a dialect she’s not very familiar with. In the end, I stuck with Mandarin.

My new room was any much better. It had a bed, a small table and enough space for my luggage to stand up straight. If I need anything from the luggage, I have to toss it up onto the bed.

Gundam character in front of Time Square
Gundam character in front of Time Square

Sightseeing in Hong Kong

After changing my accommodation, it was time to see Hong Kong. Thankfully typhoon day was over so the shops are open and the public buses are running.

I was excited to se e a lot of people on the streets. First stop on my to-see list was actually one of the Apple Stores. Using Google Maps in offline mode, I finally saw the place. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.

Apple Store in Causeway Bay
Apple Store in Causeway Bay

Views of Hong Kong from the tram

Since the sky was still pretty gray, I decided to take the tram to see Hong Kong. Unlike the trams in San Francisco, the trams in Hong Kong are double decker trams. The second level has open windows so it’s very breezy and is a great place to sightsee.

At HK$2.30 per ride, this is probably the cheapest way to get around, apart from walking.

Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong

I have 3G, finally!!!

After the tram ended at Kennedy Town, I gathered my courage and went into a convenience store to buy a local SIM card. I am never sure if I should speak Cantonese or Mandarin and my Cantonese is so bad that I am embarrased to say it out loud.

It turns out, they did have the SIM card for tourist that I was looking for. For HK$69 (SG$11.50), I get 5 days of 3G internet and HK$25 credit for calls and SMS.

I plugged the SIM card into my phone and was delirious with joy when the 3G sign came on. For the past 2 months, I was in South and Central America where the 3G spectrum does not fit my phone. I’ve forgotten how useful it is to have constant internet.

I felt like I have grown a third eye that allowed me to see where I am, plan my journey and constantly report my every move to everyone on the internet. [Find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.]

With 3G, I figured out where exactly I was and where the nearest cinema was. I made my way to IFC Mall but discovered that the movie ticket was HK$90. The miserly part of me refused to pay that much money for a movie so I looked for lunch.

Foursquare told me that there is a Tim Ho Wan branch at Hong Kong station so I went off to find the famous dimsum place. The directions were a bit confusing but I made it.

It was slightly before lunch time but there was already an unorderly queue. You pick up an order form where the lady scribbles a number. You order your food and wait for your number.

I ordered enough food for 1.5 people because I was too embarrassed to order only two dishes.

A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.
A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.

After the feast, I decided to check out a second hand bookstore, Book Attic. I walked from IFC Mall to the bookstore and passed by lanes that I didn’t know existed in Hong Kong (aka I’ve not seen in Hong Kong shows).

These were medium-sized stone paths on a sloppy hill. The sides of the slopes are little stalls selling odd things. One stall was selling electrical plus, another selling colorful Chinese threads and one selling tacky for-tourist souvenirs.

At the bookstore, I browsed for a long time and finally bought one book. For a used book, HK$60 (SG$10) is kind of expensive.

While at the bookstore, I found a note left by a high school friend who’s now working in Hong Kong on my Instagram account. We arranged to meet for dinner so I had about 4-5 hours before the meet up.

I decided to take the tram again. This time to the eastern end of the tram tracks. The journey was long but it was very comfortable sitting on the upper level.

The end of the line of Shau Kei Wan is the residential area. I walked around taking a few photos before I got on another tram to the hostel.

Shau Kei Wan residential area
Shau Kei Wan residential area

Back at the hostel, I napped. I wasn’t ready to get up when my alarm rang 30 minutes before the meeting time. Thankfully, my classmate sent a message saying that he would be delayed for one hour. That means more napping for me!

After the quick nap, it was finally time to get out and face the world. My classmate, Lane* (not his real name), brought me to an “OK Hong Kong restaurant” as there were any spectacular ones around. The food was still good. I ate wanton noodles and beef horfun then some desserts at another place.

Lane gave many food recommendations which I saved into my Foursquare app so I wouldn’t be hungry for good food.

After dinner, I was sleepy again and went back to the hostel where I fell asleep.