Let me just start by apologising in advance if the following makes no sense because what I have just witnessed was so mind-blowing that it may have literally melted my brain.
Hong Kong is ridiculous, and I mean that in the very best possible way. Where else in the world could the heavens open up and empty gallons of water on to your open-top bus tour and still leave you happy with the experience?
The scale, diversity and design of this place are quite simply breathtaking. It’s an architect ’s dream – an indomitable skyline littered with funky shapes and vivid colours. I’m not even slightly ashamed to say I’ve elevated to the level of Hello Kitty on the tourist scale, making my way around the city with a camera slung around my neck like a 12-year-old at Disneyland.
Our tour started mid-afternoon as we met up with our counterparts from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas) who would be our companions for the afternoon. At this point, QUT’s Dom and SMU’s Preston engaged in a brief but epic battle of wills for height supremacy, in which Preston was victorious due to one (or both) of his parents being a giraffe.
Our fantastic tour guide Bruce (he was so wise that I’m fairly sure he was a wizard) steered us off through the city, stopping first at the “Ladies Markets” of Mongkok, where I displayed my elite bartering skills by hard negotiation on a Batman luggage tag (insert evil laugh here). Despite melting in the oppressive heat, we all found ourselves instantly immersed in the chaotic, colourful atmosphere, happily making our way from store to store whilst explaining to the occasionally disgruntled vendor that merely glancing at a t-shirt does not constitute a promise to purchase it.
Whilst the open-top bus tour was interrupted by an impromptu bath, it did allow us to answer the question of whether Americans can indeed talk underwater – our new friends from SMU certainly can. It also provided me with validation and a certain smugness for being the only one to carry my umbrella around all day. Rookies.
The last stop on our Magellan-like day of adventuring well and truly redeemed the experience as we suddenly found ourselves standing in one of the most picturesque harbours in the world. Once we’d picked our bottom jaws up from the ground, we piled on to the roof of a neon-lit party boat to take photos, including the nicest picture of Sarah that has been taken all trip.
Across the next couple of hours, as we watched the city skyline come to life in a vibrant light show, emulated a pack of wild animals at the buffet and completely murdered the Macarena (as covered by “Chinese Katy Perry”), I couldn’t help but think about how amazing it is that my degree has taken me here. I’m really not sure if my words can do justice to the experience, so I think I’ll just leave it to Idam’s incredible photos.