20 Dec 2016

Hong Kong by bskinna

5/6

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Sipping my milk tea in the delightfully old school Mido Cafe early this morning. Weak sunlight is streaming through the yellow and blue painted window panes and Hong Kong style French toast is an ultra decadent fluffy fried delight. I'm solo until this evening, after being surrounded and buffeted my people all week I'm reveling in the quiet. Akoni is the worlds best travel companion, but I have a three day max with even delightful company. There's nothing more freeing than wandering by yourself in a foreign city.

I'm going to pop back into the Tin Hau Temple as it's right across the street, then make the trek out to the Big Buddha. It's a bit overcast, but I don't mind. Atmospherically I think the giant bronze statue looming in the hills and clouds will be perfect.

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There's always something before a trip that captures my imagination above all else. In Istanbul it was the gate of the dolmabahçe palace. In India it was the Jain Temple in Ranakpur. In NYC it was the Woolworth building. For whatever reason my brain latches onto an image and I spend the whole countdown to the trip looking up photos and projecting fantasies onto this one spot. For this trip, the image of the giant bronze Tian Tan Buddha tucked into the rolling misty hills and water of Lantau Island was my anthem.

Even the crowds of tourists couldn't take away from the experience. Serene and lovely perched on a lotus leaf, awe inspiring and massive, the Buddha contemplates the lush green hills that drape the countryside.

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This is the best public transit I've ever experienced. I haven't experienced a single second of a train delay or been in one that wasn't immaculate. What is NYC's problem?

People here walk very slowly. Maybe it's because their trains come every 2 minutes and they don't need to worry so much, but there's not a lot of pep in steps. To be fair, I am also about a foot and a half taller than most of the crowd.

There's clothing hanging out most of the apartment windows, but they don't seem to be drying lines. Just extra storage in a place where space is at a premium, maybe?

Old Chinese neon signs are the coolest aesthetic in maybe the whole world. What are the logistics of getting one home with me?

If anyone needs a ladies tailor, handbags or watches man oh man do I have a street for you.

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Meet a wine mentor of Akoni's for drinks and a quick snack at the Continental's adorable outdoor patio. She runs the hotel chains wine program and was super friendly and a sort of casual stylish that I aspire to. I was coming off the big Buddha hike and didn't have time to change so I was...less then my freshest self shall we say, but we all graciously pretended my sweat stained back pack was appropriate for the venue and we laughed and talked (their) shop and travel. It's crazy how immersive the wine world in for people who are really into it, I'd like to learn more.

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Hit up yardbird for our last dinner in HK. They do mostly chicken, all different parts skewer style. If that sounds boring, you are wrong and someone has served you wrong chicken. It was a goddamn delight.

We went pretty aggressive with the ordering, trying a ton of the skewers, a whole selection of the pickled veggies, and some interesting veggie sides. It was all fantastic but the standouts for me were the chicken hearts (so tender and flavorful!), the meatball served with the egg yolk dipping sauce (on the recommendation of the very cool bartender) and the Korean Fried Cauliflower (aka the KFC, which I thought was cute). The last one was on the recommendation of the wonderful @findingmomo who did not steer me wrong- so unique and tasty!

We wandered through Sohos eclectic mix of stairs and bars and shops oh so full and (on my end) fairly tipsy and glowing with good will. What a perfect day.