05.08.2006 35 °C
So we went from one Oriental urban sprawl to another as we landed in Hong Kong. We were instantly taken aback by the sheer size and amount of high rise buildings as we made the journey from the airport to Hong Kong Island. The place was quite amazing with a constant buzz and throng of people in this densely populated area. It is just one massive residential and commercial concrete jungle. The people were a bit moodier here and we were wrong in thinking that because it wasn’t long ago a British colony that we can understand and be understood everything. Our diet of fast food continued from Japan, whether it be Maccy D’s or quick fix noodles & rice as long as there were pictures involved.
We scaled up the Peak to get an awesome view of Hong Kong and did a bit of shopping. We went out for a drink but my night was soured by the fact that we were paying £5 a drink. It was ridiculous, especially as the Seven Eleven was selling tinnies at 25p a pop. The other good highlight was the light show put on by the buildings either side of the Hong Kong strait where these modern buildings light up and change colour to the tune of muzak. There was a bit of the old to be admired as well in this bastion of modernity with the little ferry’s, junk boats and trams. The whole place was alive with life and colour but the hecticness was starting to wear Alex out and the first cracks of it wanting to end started to appear. Not for me – I could carry on forever! Alex’s fear of everything also gave face once more. This time it was cyclones as went whipped up a frenzy across the peninsula. Luckily for her, after a few days, we headed across to China and capital Beijing.
Here we were instantly reminded how naïve we could all be as after umming and arring we jumped into a taxi that ripped us off. I was extremely pissed off with myself because I should have known better. Alex was extremely pissed off that such people exist. She was beginning to have enough.
Beijing was a good experience. We stayed in a nice apartment in a modern part of town. Despite the negative taxi experience we were both hardened travellers now who could put up with almost anything. But one thing Alex could not put with is my desire to walk, and walk and walk distances which I feel aren’t far but turn out to be a bit longer than expected. Monuments were also starting to wear thin. With all the talk about the fast growth of China I must say it ain’t evidenced much in Beijing. Granted there are some parts of it that are but this is 2006 for fucks sake. Otherwise its still very old looking even though it’s the biggest city in the world and fuck knows how its going to be ready for the Olympics in two years time. Its got some fucking building to do between now and then with a half finished main stadium and no other evidence of anything else. The infrastructure isn’t going be able to handle it either with just two small metro lines without any ticket machines and an old bird taking your ticket stub before letting you through.
Beijing is also quite a dirty city as the state of my feet could testify after all the walking – black. But its also got some good sites to visit with Tiananemen Square, Kingdom of Heaven, the Forbidden City and the Tomb of Mao. We tried to get into the latter but it was no good for all the queues. We also took in an acrobat show which was really good. And finally we went to see the amazing Great Wall of China which would have been even more amazing if we didn’t take a rollercoaster to get up to it, fed imprisoned bears fruit there, bobbed and weaved thousands of tourists, the red brick rebuilds, get pissed off with all the hard faced Chinky cunts and try to see all its miles of majesty through thick fog. I wanted to get to a quieter area and by the time we did it was time to head back to see the Ming Tombs. It was still great to have seen it but I felt cheated and hopefully I’ll go back one day to a much quieter part where its in its original state and you can see for miles.
And that was it. We headed back to Hong Kong for one more night before we were due to head to India for a few days. Neither of us were completely looking forward to India because of the reputation of being too hectic and too dirty and too in yer face. We were both tired, especially Alex who was at the end of her teather once we checked into our hostel in HK at 2am being hustled in and out of lifts by twats and then given a shithole room. But I wanted to see the Taj Mahal and I’d gone to a lot of trouble soritn our India visit out to be followed by a nice sunny break in Oman to finish the big trip off. A week to chill after all the hecticness in a nice hotel by the pool in the sunshine. Just relax get back to blightly all refreshed and lovin’ it.
But no. Oh no, that wouldn’t do. After checking in our bags at Hong Kong airport, I sat Alex down in a café and I went out for cigarette just before we go to the departure lounge. If only I could see what was coming. I should have been wiser having seen the TV earlier with pictures with the terrorism scares going on in London airports at the time. I finished my cigarette to find that Alex had disappeared. Waiting for her for ages she comes back all flustered and panicky. “What’s happened?” “I’m not going.” “Eh?” “I’m not going – there’s bombs in India. Its been on the news.” I instantly lose my rag “Its fuckin’ shite…we’ll be fine… it’s these Yank cunts putting unnecessary fear into everyone..fucking media and their moral panics…” and so. I am fuckin livid. Alex’s is in a state of complete nervous anxiety. She’s fucked. I’m pissed off – can’t believe our trip is going to be over just like that. “Well we’re not fuckin going back home.. look at the news in London.” I try to reason with her but its hard as she ain’t listening – convinced that she ain’t going. Convinced that there’s going to be trouble. The state she’s in we can’t really go. Its hard for me to reason as well when I’m so fucking angry. We go to see someone at Cathay Pacific who says that she hasn’t heard anything and that everythings fine. Perhaps in hindsight we should have rung the British Embassy but we can’t think clear enough. There isn’t enough time because we’re supposed to be boarding. After much on-off on-off will we go won’t we, we change our flights to Paris and get our bags taken off the plane. I cannot even look at Alex. Angry is too lenient a word. All of a sudden our trip, our big adventure is over – just like that.