I have been castigated for not putting up more pictures of my trip to Hong Kong on Ye Olde Blog, so I’ll give a quick pointer to my Picasa album which has a lot of the pictures. So here is a somewhat backdated post on the trip.
On my first night there we went to Gaia Veggie Shop (大自然素食) in Mongkok for dinner. It’s an all-vegetarian place (with dishes containing egg marked on the menu). One of the dishes I liked best was a simple stir-fried pea shoots with ginger. I had forgotten how tasty pea shoots are, and the simplicity of the dish really brought out their flavor (this is the Cantonese style, I guess). The other option for dinner was Modern Toilet, a toilet-themed restaurant which may be worth a try later, although I was told the food wasn’t as good. I tried to take pictures of my restaurant adventures there (see the link). It’s spoiled me from eating Americanized Chinese food. Sidharth, my host, lives in a “market town,” which means he walks through a fresh produce market to get home every day. I got to try a lot of exciting fruits that are hard to get the US, including mangosteen, dragonfruit, lanzones, sitaphal (which I have only had in India, and is soooooo good), and even a durian shake (my second ever).
Being able to be in a place for more than one week was a real blessing, because I could go to some nieghborhoods more than once, and by the second week I would even leave without taking my guidebook or map with me, and just trust my memory and a hastily scribbled set of directions. Hong Kong is a pretty safe city, so wandering around and getting lost was a good and fun strategy. I’m sure people around me are sick of me talking about all the cool things I saw there, the quirky fun facts, and my love of the transit system there.
The coolest thing about transit in Hong Kong is the Octopus card, an transit card that works on all transit systems, various convenience stores (7-11 is everywhere there!), and even the CUHK cafeterias. You can add money to your card at 7-11, and there’s a deposit to get the card, so you can go to a negative balance (once) if you don’t have quite enough to get home. A close second is the red minibus system. These are 16-seater minibuses that run all night between different locations in Hong Kong. There are two that I used that went to CUHK, one from Mongkok and one from Causeway Bay. You pay something like 20 HKD and then once the bus is full it takes off at breakneck speed, only pulling over when someone calls out to the driver to stop. There’s a speedometer in the bus that starts beeping when the driver goes over 80 km/hr. Since I always took them late at night, the experience was a bit like being in a careening stick of dynamite. Exhilarating!
Oh, and we got some research ideas/projects started too.