*crossposted on Musings in the Dark & Black Girl Nerds
I hit up TripAdvisor and a couple of other travel websites to find out what I could do in 36 hours. The answer is plenty. Hong Kong is a walking city that is very clean and very easy to navigate. I grabbed a city map at the airport and the travel websites advised getting an Octopus Card, which is basically a travel pass you load money onto. You can use it for transportation and a lot of restaurants, shops, and stores also accept it. It saves you from carrying loose coins, which gets tiresome real quick.
My hotel was, fortunately for me, near the central train hub and in walking distance. With map and Octopus Card in hand, I walked down to the ENORMOUS station and stared at the maps, trying to figure out which way was up and how the trains worked. The city is tourist-friendly and there are a lot of British “leftovers.” There are signs literally pointing you in the direction you want to go, labeled with the sights you want to see. I rode the Peak Tram up the mountain so that I could get a view of the stunning skyline with the mountains in the distance. The mountains are called the Nine Dragons, and behind them is Mainland China.
Afterwards, I hopped the train to Kowloon, which is across the harbor. Kowloon is full of streets that are loaded with vendors on the hustle. I walked Nathan Street and hit up the Ladies’ Market and the Temple Street Night Market. I found myself on a random side street and had Korean fried chicken for lunch. I’d heard that Koreans are serious about their chicken, and it’s true. That chicken was the bizness!
I am not sure how many miles I walked that morning, but it was a lot. I was carrying a backpack, which I’m prone to do now that I live in a place where I don’t need a car. So I went for a nap during the middle of the day so I could go back out that night. When the sun sets, there’s usually a light show on the harbor and everything’s lit up. I walked to the ferry and there was a carnival and a huge Ferris Wheel, which I rode. Afterwards, I rode the ferry to Kowloon, which took all of ten minutes and cost about HKD$3 ($.38). There were random street musicians and some guys breakdancing without aid of a cardboard slab.
There were so many people out and about, both day and night. No one stared at me (which happens all the time in Shanghai), and I felt very safe traversing the city on my own. I hit up HK’s version of Rodeo Drive (just to windowshop) and grabbed dinner before heading back to my hotel.
The one thing I knew I was going to do while in HK was to go to the Bruce Lee exhibit at HK’s Heritage Museum, and I saved that for Sunday afternoon. The museum is located in the New Territories, north of Kowloon, and it took four trains (an hour’s ride) to get there and HKD$10 to go in. Bruce’s exhibit takes up the majority of the second floor and no picture-taking was allowed. I walked through each of the rooms, which focused on particular aspects of his short life.
There were love letters to Linda, pictures of him with his children, pictures with his friends*, pictures of him as a child actor, information about his parents, his report cards, poems he wrote (he had stunning penmanship), sketches of fight stances and sequences, notes from when he directed Way of the Dragon, articles of clothing, nunchuks, workout items, props from the movies…you name it. Han’s four-bladed claw from Enter the Dragon was displayed and I stared at that huge thing and wondered how Kien Shih was able to hold it because it looked heavy as hell. There was also a Green Hornet Room, paying homage to Kato.
**The museum did not allow visitors to take pictures of the exhibit for obvious reasons, but I present you with this:
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the iconic yellow tracksuit Bruce wore in Game of Death. When you see it up close, you are reminded on how small Bruce was…but his stature clearly had nothing to do with his strength, power, fierce intelligence, and agility. It is said that he chose yellow because it represented neutrality and no allegiance to any particular fight style. I personally think he chose it because he knew he’d look cool kicking ass in it. He was snatched to the gills and that suit fit him like a second skin. There were TV screens looping the most famous of the fight scenes from his movies, and I stood there watching them as if I don’t already own them. Yeah, I’m a stan. I LOVE Bruce.
I was taken with a note Bruce wrote to himself after The Green Hornet was canceled and the failure of Kung Fu; where he promised himself that he would become a famous Oriental actor and by 1980, he would have $10,000.00 in his pocket.
This was written in January of 1969.
I spent about 90 minutes at the museum and from there, headed to the airport. As I said, HK is ridiculously easy to navigate, and even though it took several trains and a great deal of walking to get me where I needed to be, the point was that it wasn’t difficult for me to get there. Having lived in Shanghai for two years, I can appreciate the ease of an efficient, clean metro system.
The flight from HK to Shanghai is about 90 minutes, and I got home in enough time to get a decent night’s sleep. I enjoyed every second of my trip. My only regret was not having enough time to go to Macau, which is a six-hour ferry ride across the bay, or to go to Ocean Park to ride the rollercoasters. This is a city where I could conceivably see myself living, and it’s definitely a place I’ll visit again.
*Even Bruce wasn’t above throwing up bunny ears behind his friends’ heads.