Arrival into the city
As with anywhere I go, I prefer to do as little prep as possible, beyond packing a carry on bag with as much essentials as I can, I try to not cloud an upcoming experience with information and expectation set by advertisers whose sole purpose is to get you there. This is why I’ll try to book every hotel I stay at on the fly rather than weeks in advance. I’ll give you the reason for this by relating my very first hotel experience.
I booked this 4 weeks in advance based on reviews and the star ratings. It was listed as a 3 star hotel, in the middle of Kowloon, near Hong Kong Island. It was very cheap, and out did all comparable 3 stars by a good $100AU. The photos weren’t too bad and the reviews weren’t too harsh. Some stating that there were shady people out the front trying to sell you things and others stating it was a little noisy. All the complaints were things I could easily deal with.
However once I got there, a totally different story emerged. I should have been wary when I told the taxi driver and he started laughing at me. The hotel was located at a place called Chung King Mansion, and it has a fairly seedy reputation. I ran through a swathe of Nigerians all trying to sell me something I didn’t want. Waiting 20 minutes for a single elevator that serviced 17 levels, I located reception which was not a whit near the directions listed on the website.
I checked it and was promptly shown a “clean” “room”, which is more aptly described as a dirty closet. There was apparently hot water, which I had to switch on 10 minutes before using. I switched it on a good 30 minutes before hand but was still greeted with cold water. The room had air-con which was a plus, and a bed, which after 16 hours of flying looked much better than its state would otherwise suggest. I give you the worst bathroom I’ve ever seen:
So, I promptly gave up on the shower, cranked the AC and passed out for the next 6 hours, spooning my bag for comfort and safety:
Once I woke, I used their free wifi, another plus, and booked a better hotel. 5 stars, a bit more expensive but as a foreigner it certainly wasn’t much to my wallet. I gave the shower another go, but its proximity to the door was quite alarming. Each time I moved, some part of my heinous bulkhead would smash against the door handle, threatening to dislodge it and me naked into the hallway.
Apparently I shouldn’t have worried because after some studious research into the Chung King Mansion, I found that naked people really wasn’t going to be a problem because many of the migrant African workers tended to go door knocking in solicitation, which is very illegal here. At least, doing it in that manner is.
So my Hong Kong adventure was off to a great start, a part of me wishes I’d stayed there and really rolled to dice with my sanity, but it was too early into the holiday to risk it all. Maybe on the tail end.