from the commuter

The photos which I took myself are random images of commuting and life. Enjoy the ride!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OK sa HK!

When I saw a possible window for a vacation leave in our ever-busy office, I immediately booked a flight to a destination I had been wanting to go, Hong Kong. I bought the ticket a month before my departure. This particular trip had many firsts.
1. use vacation leave in my over  a year stay at the foreign office
2. fly Cathay Pacific
3. depart from NAIA Terminal 1
4. visit HK

I have been using budget airlines for my foreign trips, but this time, I told myself, I would splurge a bit, so Cathay Pacific it was. I am not very familiar with Terminal 1 of the airport so departing from this terminal was quite an experience. I saw for myself the complaints I had been hearing about the airport. I have only gone to few international airports; hence, I could not draw many comparisons although I could list twenty things the airport can improve on, but I could also see efforts by the government to make it a slightly better terminal. For this trip, I was a bit anxious, I have to admit. This was my first time to use the airport; I did not know anyone whom I could go to in times of emergency, and I was alone. But I always allay my fears by saying that as long as I can read and have some cash, I would be fine.

Snapshots of the Ninoy Aquino Airport:

There is still some beauty in the airport's ceiling, I think.

Boarding at the NAIA 1

Signs that I told me that I was already in Hong Kong!
This walkalator or whatever they call at the airport was one of the MANY I was to take in my stay in HK. They seemed to have 1/2 of the world's escalators spread all over the territory ( I'm exaggerating).

Welcome to Hong Kong! the banners read. I have arrived. Wow. The airport was without a doubt beautiful, and I could only sigh at the thought of the airport I came from.
I was welcomed by the buildings. I intentionally took the bus to Kowloon, where I booked my cheap accomodation, so I could see some sights on the way. I would take the train on my way back, three days after.
The sign below became my guide as I commuted around using the very efficient and convenient train system of Hong Kong.

It frustrated me a bit that I could not order at Chinese restaurants, which was one of the things I intended to do in Hong Kong. I didn't know how to read Cantonese script, and the restaurants did not have photos in them where I could just point and order. I could have starved myself to death, but, no, I would have to settle with McDonald's. I ordered, of course, meals that were not present in Philippine stores. The meal below had an egg and burger patty in a bowl of macaroni soup. I could not complain. hehe...Nom, nom.
My McDonald's breakfast, Hong Kong style

Avenue of the Stars. I could only recognize five names.
Other than Hong Kong, I took a trip to Macau. I was there for three hours.

Casinos! Yes, I am in Macau.

Macau Terminal

The Venetian

And I was mesmerized at the Venetian. I remembered watching the documentary on the making of this hotel weeks prior, and there I was, enjoying it up close. I couldn't pay the gondola ride but I walked alongside it as it made its way to through clear water canal. I could not help but notice the gondolier whose voice was beautiful and whose appearance was very familiar. One eye contact proved what I thought all along, he was a Filipino, and he nodded as if confirming my guess about his nationality. I smiled back.

After two new stamps on my passport, I took a tour of Central where all the tall buildings were.

I took a long series of escalators, it sounded like mid-level escalator, in the evening of my second day. When I finally reached the end, I was too tired and wanted to take the bus. I did not know how to take buses in that area, so I walked all the way back! Boy, I was drenched in my sweat when I reached a more familiar street. I remembered having the best sleep that night.

A well-planned series of tunnels and trains made HK a very ideal place for commuting. 

Hong Kong at night

I was lucky to have stayed near this station, where everything seemed very close.

My trip had come to an end. I waited a long time at the airport, and I got to notice the wealth this small territory had.

HK Government Travel Alert: PH on Black Alert, Severe Threat
I came across the digital board at the airport. It listed the Philippines as one of the two countries to be avoided for traveling. The Syria is the other one where there is an actual war. I felt side about this. I hope this alert be lifted soon. The people of Hong Kong deserve to see the Philippines, also. 
Good that the Hong Kong Airport was big; there was a lot to do especially for the moneyed passengers. At this time of trip, I was down to my last few dollars. 
And I am back to familiar territory.