So this trip is basically a “Congrats for surviving 20% of NS!” / Pre-braces eat-all-you-eat-while-you-can trip.” Well talking about this, I’ve finally crossed something off my to-to-list and that is putting braces on.
Anyway let’s sidetrack a little from the overseas trip. I’ve always had this phobia of altering my teeth and forever procrastinating. I wasn’t so conscious in primary/lower secondary but in upper secondary I felt that I should do. This compulsion wasn’t so strong till Junior College days but there were so many things that kept me busy, o’levels, project work/Chinese oral exams, a’levels. Army is the perfect time to do it and I am extracting 8 teeth (all paid for) at a dental surgeon @ NUH. Anyway this phobia really made me over think for weeks. Initially I opted for General Anesthesia but was so fearful of that 0.001% of death and anesthesia awareness (when some patients can feel pain but are unable to sound off). Also the dental surgeon recommended I take out 4 on each side so that I could have fewer difficulties eating. Today was my first extraction appointment and I was kinda fearful. I requested to listen to soothing songs through my earpiece. All the nurses and the dentist kept telling me to calm down which I guessed they already felt my anxiousness when I made the earpiece request. So this doctor, was THE BEST I SWEAR HE TOOK OUT 4 TEETH IN 10 MINUTES. He probably felt really bad for making me go through this, could totally felt it when he apologised for every injection he gave (6-8 for the record). So after the first extraction, I’m a lot less fearful as I know I’m in good hands, he is the surgeon for my second extraction too!! And yes, I’m writing this while on MC cause you know 2 weeks+ break is really a looong time.
Day 1 (12/09/15)
So an NSF is entitled to 14 days leave per year which means I got to maximise each one of them. As such, I took the earliest flight (6am+ goddd after watching the elections till 2am+) to make sure I had a full day exploring Shenzhen.
After 3 hours+ flight, we (my father and I), took a chartered taxi for another 2hours to cross the border into China and stayed in Luohu Best Western Hotel. Luohu is where the railway station is located at and everyone takes a train from there to Hong Kong (and that was how I got back). Public transport is really affordable in Shenzhen and the subway is really well connected, each trip only costs $0.60. Lunch at this restaurant that disappointed me with its dimsum menu.
So Shen Zhen is like this electronics export processing zone and the wholesale market is at HuaqiangBei. Every single electronic shit cost 1/3 of the price in Singapore, phone covers, glass screen protectors were like $1-2. So obviously I fixed my phones and watches and hauled a whole load of phone accessory necessities back home as well.
After HuaqiangBei we went to this upscale shopping mall called Galaxy Coco Park @ GuowuGongYuan (okay i got the urge to type in Chinese now all these pinyin is annoying me). Tried HuiLauShan, apparently its a rather famous dessert restaurants in Asia but they don’t have any branches in Singapore. The prices are steep too, considering how its China… It’s just your typical hongkee dessert shop, tropical fruits, shaved ice and pudding.
Next we went to Futian Book City at Shaoniangong, it is MEGA, like the largest bookstore I have ever been too. I think Chinese (Mainland ones) really like things on a grand scale. Sadly their english books choice is overpriced and limited.
The last stop was Laojie, it was a bustling street selling everything but nothing I needed/wanted. Oh yes I was approached with an interesting question.
Translation: Brother, you have weibo (China’s SNS)?
In my mind: You **** what weibo, I use facebook
*Pats myself for attempting China street food and momentarily forgetting all the food scandals that embroiled China*
*Gutter oil, chemically created eggs and polluted water all didn’t exist on that day*
Really wish I had time to visit Guohuo and tried the Taiwanese chocolate ball :(:(
Day 2 (13/09/15)
Time to head back to Hongkong, this time through the train from the start to end of EastWestLine and to BP International (somewhere between Jordan and HungHom). I really like how Hong Kong has named its train stations in English as well so the urge to type chinese kinda wane a little. The hotel was spacious, considering Hongkong’s limited land and the place directly central in Kowloon.
While walking to TsamShaTsui where the Ocean Terminal is at, beside HarbourCity, we had dinner. The roads had this Orchard Road vibe. Anyway, I really like Hongkong’s public transport, we were spoiled with choices, whether we should take the ferry/bus/subway to Admiralty. Everywhere was accessible with the Octopus card, and it was reasonable priced. Of course I chose the ferry to have a scenic view of Hongkong’s CBD. The reason why we were heading to Admiralty was to take a bus uphill (approx 45mins) to Hongkong’s most expensive residential district, Mt Austin. So at the peak (Victoria Peak), the night skyline was absolutely stunning but really hard to get good selfie :<
With my dad, every night we had supper and Hongkong is a food heaven! You could find shops operating till 3 in the morning at every street. This famous shop (Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop) sells the best beef broth soup($8) I have ever tasted, although I would have preferred a better looking bowl.
Day 3 (14/09/15)
So breakfast at TimHoWan made me really excited! Oh one pet peeve I have about Hong Kong is how there is no English menu. Everything was in traditional Chinese (which was a little harder to read than simplified Chinese) and the people there can’t stop speaking Cantonese. So this is when my impression of Hong Kong changed, I thought the working language would be English since it was a British colony for decades and a commonwealth country and they always fare pretty well on the international chart but I was dead wrong. There was a slight language barrier… When I ordered in Chinese, they replied me in Cantonese so it was a little frustrating. I like how they wash their utensils in hot water/tea before using though 🙂 Everything was only $34!!
Lantau Island was really far though, and we wanted to take the cable car up to Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping Village but it was closed… The total travelling duration was 1.5hours from Olympic where we had our breakfast.
So Tian Tan Buddha was like 8 flights of stairs but it was days since I last did some physiotherapy for my dislocated patella.
Afterwards we spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for Hong Kong snacks from QiHua at Citygate Outlets. Buying it without the useless box was so much more economical and environmentally friendly.
Lastly, we walked the streets along 4 train stations for the entire night, don’t even know which since we wandered for an entire night. I think it was from Prince Edward to Jordan. I’m really glad I stumbled upon RongHua and it was the mooncake season!! (Mid-Autumn Festival). This chocolate cheese/blueberry snowskin mooncake was much better than the ones in Singapore.
Apparently this shop is really famous, 澳洲牛奶公司 but their service sucks. It’s really just ushering you in asap, taking your orders asap, collecting your bowl asap and requesting you to pay the bill asap. There are always customers anyway so I think they don’t really care even if they lose some.
Fusion food but mediocre in my opinion, doesn’t really explain the long queue. The almond pudding was good though.
Day 4 (15/09/15)
Last bit of traditional dimsum @ Lin Xiang Lou before I bid farewell …
I don’t really feel that day 4 was wasted even though we were just wandering around. *the cliché quote comes to mind* Just had to have my last fill of Hong Kong desserts before I return to Singapore. Tried the Plaza Premium Lounge too and honestly think that nobody should ever pay (not that we did) for it, $80+ for 2 hours crazy.
On a side note, Hong Kong is really a great place to wander by yourself, there is absolutely no need to join tours or whatsoever. It is a perfect getaway for a short trip as well. I only took 2 leaves this time but look at the number of places/things I did! Could easily do this 8 times in 2016 but shall not. I am proud of myself for better knowing Hong Kong (look how I remembered all the train station names!)