Kathy and Melissa's Trip of a Lifetime! travel blog

Hong Kong

Markets in Hong Kong selling fake designer goods

Goldfish market street

food stalls (you can see how clean they are here)

just like Sam Woo's

Neon signs galore

down near the Kowloon waterfront (across is Hong Kong Island)

feels like you're in SF

the square cut out in the apartment building helps with the feng...

sunset

incense coils inside a temple

on our way to the floating city of Aberdeen

our driver around Aberdeen

Floating Restaurant

people live on the boats in Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen


We were in Seoul for about six days basically taking a vacation from vacation, so therefore there are no photos. I always wondered about this place and now I know. It is like this massive city of concrete and every store imaginable. You walk outside and within several blocks there is every fast food restaurant America has to offer. Starbucks, of course, I think its more prolific than McDonalds around the world, KFC (which is suprisingly also everywhere around the world), Pizza Hut, Wendy's, Burger King, TGI Fridays, Bennigans, and on and on. What's amazing is that these seem to repeat themselves every three or four blocks so you don't have to walk far to find one.

We rented an apartment so we could eat healthy, but that doesn't seem to be possible around here. We're killing these people with our fast food. I went to the local market because "supermarket" isn't a word they understand. What's strange is they have all these modern "designer" stories from around the world every where, but they still shop for food in an open market like they have for hundreds of years. I had to bargain for strawberries, bananas, toilet paper, paper towels, it wore me out. I thought the Egyptians were the most difficult to bargain with. Nope, nothing compares to older Korean women. They sized me up the moment I walked toward their stalls. They would laugh as they took me to the cleaners charging at least twice or three times the local price.

Korea is even more difficult than Japan as far as understanding how to get around. Very few people speak English and roads are not marked. What I mean by not marked is only a few of the streets in all of Seoul have official names, the majority have no names at all. As far as the numbering on the street blocks, which ever building goes up first, gets the first number. So none of the numbers throughout the city or on individual blocks are in sequential order.

Now that sets the stage for our arrival. We had been traveling for a while when we arrived in Seoul. We did what we normally do in every other city where we need a taxi and had the address for the taxis driver. None of the taxis drivers at the airport had any idea how to get here. Melissa wheeled and dealed a price to take us to a subway station across town so at least we would be a little closer. Landmarks seem to be the way to get around town. He drops us off, not at the subway station but somewhere else, "near it." There are a ton of people everywhere and all the streets look the same. Of course we are carrying a ton of luggage and Melissa had caught another cold and no one speaks English to ask questions. We look at the local map but nothing is in English and none of the roadways have names. The hotel's directions on their website said to walk 2 minutes from the subway but didn't say which way to walk. In other words, we were completely lost in the middle of no where. Melissa looked at me and said I have no idea where to go from here.

I just know Melissa and I are protected by a guardian angel because within seconds this young woman walks up and says in perfect English, "can I help you?" Melissa and I almost cried. She gets on her cellular phone and calls her friends to get on their computers to figure out where it is on the map so we can show a taxi driver. Unbelievable the kindness of strangers. That's definitely one thing I have discovered with traveling. So we get in a taxi and give him the directions which are about a block and a half away maximum. Well he drives around lost for at least 40 minutes or more. Luckily he turns the meter off after about 10 minutes. It appears men are the same everywhere, he won't let us help him with the directions, he wants to figure it all out by himself. He keeps rolling down the window to ask strangers for directions or getting out of the taxi to go into stores and ask the locals. We finally get to our apartment which is actually quite nice.

We basically just hung out in our apartment and walked around the city allowing ourselves a little repreive from taking photos. It was great. We felt very refreshed to start our trip in Hong Kong with our first group.

We spent the first night in Hong Kong in the tourist area and went down to the "Avenue of the Stars" which is just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There is Jackie Chan memorabilia everywhere. The next day we went to our "official" hotel and met our group which is 20 folks. The largest group we've had so far. Most of the folks are from England, 2 are from Tasmania, and there are 2 other American women from California (Antioch and Sacramento) small world huh?

We spent two days walking around Kowloon and Hong Kong island soaking up the city. The financial district on Hong Kong Island feels just like the one in San Francisco. And the older parts of Kowloon are great with the neon signs and the open markets. Tonight we fly to the City of Guilin, China and start our trek towards Bejing.



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