|hong kong - the resurection of Sony Vaio, Blade Runner cityscapes|
We land in Hong Kong about 3pm local time. As soon as we get into the airport we are in awe. It's huge. Blade Runner. Beautiful toilets, smoking lounge, immigration, baggage reclaim, hotel booking, cashpoint, 23 mins. Airport Express train to Central with individual hi-tech screens showing info and entertainment in town, taxi to hotel, all in less than an hour.
Ah! the hotel. It's a cheapie
for HK standards and it's heaven. 30 floors circular green mirrored tower
with a few restaurants and lounges and the super cool top floor starlight
lounge. In the room we spend some time excited with the toys.
We play for a while (oh, God!
the hot bath was so good! and the shower! like a full body massage. And
the bath get-shampoo-conditioner smells like heaven and leaves you softer
than soft) and book a table at the starlight lounge for a drink.
Ooooooooouaaauuh! The views
through the circular glass are impressive. Blade Runner.
We are in a daze of marvel
and tiredness, the sight is unbalancing. We're dreaming. It's happy hour
and we have a few cocktails.
Back in the room we order some
real spaghetti and we crash out. Beautiful sleep. Everything is so nice
We walk around with wide open
eyes and dropped jaw, trying to land and get used to the huge contrast
with India. In a way we feel like at home and it's great, but it's such
a contrast! Every single thing.
We get into a mastodontic size
Computer Center and I feel dizzy. Miles can't help himself and buys a
Sony Handycam. Supercool.
I have a wintry feeling which makes me want to be in bed all day but it's also very nice. You can walk a lot without sweating to death. We passed from the daze of heat to the daze of freeze.
Now we just have to enjoy the
city while little Vaio gets repaired. We went to see the beach at the
south, crossing by bus to the other side of hilly HK island. Tiny cute
half moon place with few holiday resorts, a temple going into the sea
and a huge group of lifeguards training to save safe Chinese lives.
On arriving at HK I quickly
relieved myself in the first toilet I came across. There was a little
sensor built into the urinal that automatically flushed it when you stepped
back - I was back in a civilized country, ho-rah!
The Hotel was a comparative luxury. Up on the 8th floor I trampolined with joy on the beds while playing with the remote controls for the rooms various facilities. Then I had a bath (as opposed to a shower), the first one in 3 months! Later we sipped cocktails in the hotels piano bar up on the 30th floor looking out over the neon lit Bladerunner cityscape.
First on the agenda for HK was to get the Vaio repaired. The Sony service point (one of 4 in HK) was a mere 2 blocks from the hotel. The turnaround was quoted as 2 weeks but they managed it in 10 days.
In that time we spent a couple of days seeing the sights to be seen. With our interest in Kung Fu, we spent an evening visiting one of HK's many clubs to watch a class doing the real thing - not surpassingly they have so much more style than we westerners do.
A lot of the time we spent
window-shopping, there is a lot of it to be done in HK. There are loads
of shopping centers all over the place, big multi-floor things selling
everything you could ever want. With HK being Tax free for goods I took
advantage of this and bought a Sony Mini-DV HandyCam, it has a firewire
interface and plugs directly into the Vaio.
One place I made several return visits to was a computer shopping arcade, 3 or 4 times the size of London's Tottenham Court Road conveniently squashed into a 2 story building - Heaven!
Getting around HK was pretty easy. Worth a mention are HK's underground trains, the MTR (Mass Transit Railway). Apart from being cheap, clean, fast and efficient they also have smart ticket barriers that deduct the appropriate fare from your travelcard as you pass through them, you don't even have to take your travelcard out of your wallet.
After a couple of nights of
luxury in our hotel we mover to a cheaper place to stay - the Wang Fat
Hostel. Staying in HK was proving to be costly. Accommodation and food
are at a premium, even compared to London's inflated prices.
I passed the time over the last few days watching films, visiting some games arcades and window shopping electronics and computers.
I'd got some free vouchers
with the Sony HandyCam, one of which was for a nearby Tex-Mex bar, so
to pass an evening I went there.
I staggered out and had a frustrating episode with 5 phone boxes and 3 phonecards (I was drunk and alone in a foreign city and wanted to call someone and say "hello!") I crashed out later and had weird Star Wars dreams.
Jubilation - the Vaio was ready to be collected so I picked it up straight away. I was going to fly out that evening so I did a quick bit of shopping - gold CDs, another 64Mb of ram for the Vaio and a padded carrycase, and off I shot to the Mega-airport Bangkok bound.