Written by Robert, photographed by Julie
A little over a week after my parents left, Julie and I hopped over to Hong Kong for a quick work trip and an opportunity to visit my cousin Grace, who was interning for the summer. It was our first time in Hong Kong and we were eager to take in what had been described (accurately) as an incomparable city.The first day, we leisurely walked around, hoping to take the train up to Victoria Peak. When met with an immovable and seemingly endless line, we called an audible and went to another Hong Kong mainstay, the Ladies Market. Brimming with knickknacks and vendors offering the best prices (ones they’re always willing to lower), we somehow made it through with just a couple small purchases. That evening, we had a lovely dinner outside with Grace in an area she knew for its boutique shops in the Central district.
We met early the next morning for another run at Victoria Peak and beat the crowds. The views atop the mountain were stunning, though we were a little disappointed to discover that Victoria Peak is not just the name of the tallest point in Hong Kong; it is also the name of a mall, brimming with Starbucks, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and Burger King. Back at sea level, we stopped for a quick breakfast at a Michelin-starred dim sum place Grace knew about and made our way to the harbor.It’s a silly thought in hindsight and after a glance at a map, but Hong Kong is surrounded by small, gorgeous, easily-accessible islands. Grace had one on her list, so we hopped aboard a boat and were on Cheung Chau in about 30 minutes. The place was so small and removed from the bigness of Hong Kong that it was easy to forget that it could easily be (and surely is) a commuting island, not much different from a suburb. The heat was oppressive and we weren’t prepared to sit on the beach, so we ended up walking around, through the narrow streets and past small pagodas, eventually arriving at a large cemetery. After just a couple hours in the sun, we were ready to head back, though not before a quick stop for some absurdly good mango mochi.That evening we had a way too expensive drink atop one of the many giant buildings affording us a view Hong Kong island and the nightly light show. We topped it off with Peking Duck at Spring Deer, a Hong Kong institution that my dad recommended.
One day later, after a day in the office, we were on our way. It was a short trip, but we packed a lot in and it was wonderful to see Grace. We left impressed. The only city we could think to compare it to is New York, but even New York feels spacious compared to Hong Kong. It was especially stunning in contrast to our recent exploration of Angkor Wat; two incredible human achievements, built 900 years apart from each other.
We spent the rest of the week in Tokyo, where we were joined by friend and colleague Dominic Self, who beat us to this post by more than two months, and continues to inspire with his tenacious blogging. We showed Dom a few of our favorite Tokyo restaurants and hung with some work friends. It was a busy week at the office for Dom and me, but a third reminder for us that Tokyo is a remarkable place. We can’t wait for the next trip.