Changzhou to Hong Kong
It just so happened that the same day I was flying to Hong Kong from Shanghai, our newest new guy, Tony, was going to meet his lady flying in to join him here in Changzhou. From London town, he’s been cruising around Asia a year or so and his Chinese is definitely way better than mine – and I gratefully accepted his invite to travel together.
From Changzhou we got the train towards Shanghai. Within a few minutes our high-speed train was cruising at a steady 297km per hour (almost 186mph!). Ripples ride across water bottles on tables, other than that it’s as if we’re hardly moving at all. I’ve just set my own personal best land speed record, all that on an all-but silent hyper-train. It’s pretty cool.
The scenery is filled by heavy construction, over-powering cranes, half finished apartment complexes bellowing down on older residential dwellings, probably due for demolition in the not-too-distant future… The odd traditional style Chinese roof-top or a huge pagoda on the horizon remind you which continent we’re speeding across.
After arriving in Shanghai we had to make our way to the airport via three metro trains, the last of which was paid for by a young couple who helped us find the best route there. This definitely wouldn’t happen back in the UK. Tony informs me helping foreigners is allegedly something that brings them prosperity. That’s just another bonus about living here in China.
On the underground I’m surprised to see a man with an airport-style bomb-detecting scanning machine. More surprisingly the security guard ‘on duty’ was asleep, eyes closed – the lot. Thankfully these people have things so tightly under control regardless, they can relax day-to-day.
We grabbed a beer at the airport and went off our separate ways, mine was to prop myself up in another bar and wait out the five hours at the airport. Luckily in this city Budweiser is readily available…
On the plane I sat next to a Shanghai-based Hong Kong dude, trained in aviation and schooled in Oz, Steven – who now holds the prestigious position of being my only Hong Kong friend – and I gelled.
He drew me a few maps of places I needed to get to once I arrived in Hong Kong, and even offered to show me the best way to catch the metro to the hostel. What a legend. With his help I purchased an Octopus travel card thing, which enables you to travel by bus, train, tram and probably helicopter anywhere on the islands.
I arrived smoothly at Mong Kok's Sincere House in some dodgy, shabby-looking hostel. The bed, in fairness, is much more comfortable than mine at home. Anyways, I thought of this classic MJ Cole track whilst lying here for my first night in Hong Kong.
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