So we left bright and early for our flight to HK on May 26, 2010. We were filled with tons of emotions... excitement, nervousness, fear, anxiousness, relief, happiness, sadness (to leave family and friends), overwhelmed, and did I say excitement. I was really excited to see and experience a new place and learn about a new culture but I was also scared... I had never lived that far away from my family and/or friends, and Hong Kong is pretty far away.
The flight there was pretty awesome! Once we got to LA and to the international terminal at the airport it felt like we had already left the US. We flew on the airline China Air from LA to Taipai, Taiwan. The flight seemed to fly by even though it was like a 17 hour flight. I spent a lot of the time watching movies and playing games on my personal tv screen. Oh and the food they served us was really good... 3 full meals... awesome. Once we got to Taiwan I didn't want to get off the plane I enjoyed it so much. hehe
We flew into HK around 11:45 pm on May 27. We rounded up all of our bags... 6 suitcases and 2 smaller bags!!! Yes we had a ton of luggage... but it didn't feel like a whole lot until we made the not so fun trip to our hotel! We caught a bus from the airport and headed off to our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was fun looking out the window checking out the view of the city that would be my new home for the next who knows how long. We got to TST and got off at what we thought was the correct bus stop... and then David realized that we should have gotten off at the next stop. So we tried to walk the rest of the way... that was a dumb idea!! Our bags were heavy and we both had 2 large suitcases and a smaller bag. And it was hot and humid outside... even at night. Welcome to hot Hong Kong summer weather!
So after walking a little ways... very slow and sweating up a storm, we decided to get a taxi. Thank goodness!!! We finally arrived at our oh so lovely hotel.... The CHUNG KING MANSION... Name sounds nice right? HA! Just wait... We get out and there are a bunch of guys (kinda scary looking) just hanging out by the entrance of the hotel.
(This isn't my photo... I found it on this site: http://www.ytravelblog.com/chungking-mansions-hong-kong/ There is more stuff about the Chungking here if you care to read about it.)
David had forewarned me not to let anybody get close to or touch our bags... So these guys come up and start offering to help me carry my bags. Some of them rather insistent-pretty much trying to grab my bags from me. I was pretty freaked out at this point.
We had to continually tell them no thanks. Until this one guy offered his help -he was insistent to the point of us giving in... he seemed nice and safe enough and he knew where to take us. So we had to weave through this maze of stuff to find the correct elevator... street vendor type shops and Indian/Pakistani food vendors, cell phone booths, etc.
We found the elevator and shoved our luggage inside... and boy did that place stink!! Especially the elevator!! So I pretty much had to hold my breath to help keep me from throwing up! Well we got up to the hotel office and the lady said that we had too much luggage to fit into the room that we had booked so luckily they had another room for us... we got to our room and loaded all of our luggage onto one of the beds. After looking around at the scary sight of the room, I plopped myself onto the bed and yes.. I started to cry!
Here I was thousands of miles away from home... jet lagged, tired, exhausted, covered in sweat, just survived a bunch of scary guys trying to grab my bags, in the biggest city I have ever been in, new place, new culture, about to start a new job in 4 days, completely overwhelmed, and THIS was the hotel we were staying in!!! I was thinking... DAVID! WHERE HAVE YOU BROUGHT ME?! Let me post some pics so you can get an idea of what this place was like... unfortunately we didn't take any photos ourselves but I found some decent ones online that will give you an idea....
So the pics of the bedrooms aren't the actual room that we stayed in but it has the same kind of set up. We had two beds... one loaded with all of our luggage and one for us to sleep on. The sheets were so gross that I did not dare sleep on them... so I slept on my towel. The bathroom was really small... small closet size, with the toilet and a sink with the shower head right above the sink, right next to the toilet as well. The bathroom along with the entire room was also not the cleanest. And yes, the view from the windows are what it looked like outside... trash everywhere, really old/run-down building. Spectacular!!
Well after I got my cry out and we had everything somewhat settled we decided to get some rest... And I told David he better start hunting for an apartment and find one quick! I didn't want to stay in that hotel long. Every time I walked into the building I had to hold my breath cause it stunk so bad! Oh and you walk out of the hotel and either 1 or 2 buildings down is a nice Holiday Inn!! I would walk by and think.... We could be staying there!! Fortunately, David found our apartment on either the first or second day of being here and moved into our place the following Sunday. (I think we stayed at the hotel 4 days)
So that is the story of our first night in Hong Kong. At the time it was a tough experience for me and not the funnest way to start our adventure in Hong Kong. Now looking back I am really glad we had that experience. It really was a true ADVENTURE. It is now a fun story to tell and laugh at. Even the teachers I work with said... Ewe! you stayed there? Why would you stay at Chungking?!
Also, having that experience also makes me really appreciate how lucky we are to live where we do now. Although our apartment is really small I am grateful for it. I'll post some pics of our apartment in my next post!!