In the morning I bade my new wife farewell as she headed off back to her home town and I flew from Chengdu for a day in Hong Kong before flying on to Bangkok. Despite being a little down in the dumps about our abandoned honeymoon proper, I really wanted to get out and see Hong Kong.
However in that typical disorganized manner I had no guide book and only a few hours to see things. So I didn’t make it to the Buddha (in fact, I’ve never made it – at least to date), or Disney or any of the other big tourist draws.
After checking in at an anonymous five star hotel, whose name I don’t remember. I just decided to wander about for the day. What an excellent decision that was, I wandered down the waterfront near Tsim Tsa Tsui looking out at all the ships and the buildings rising high on the shore behind them. It was (and nearly always is) hot and humid, but though this normally makes me tired and irritable getting married had put a spring in my step and I didn’t mind at all.
I stopped for my usual morning coffee (slightly delayed as I landed at lunchtime) at the entrance to the Avenue of Stars and sipped from my take away cup in the only smoking area for a mile or so. Hong Kong unlike China is fanatically anti-smoking and you can be fined up 1,500 HKD (about 120 GB – $180 USD) even for smoking outdoors, so don’t unless you can find one of the little leper colonies set up for people like me.
Then it was onto the Avenue of Stars itself, which is kind of like that street in Hollywood where stars leave their hand prints and feet prints in the pavement. However all the stars enshrined here are from Hong Kong cinema and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t recognize a single one. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the day, the walk, the water and the enormous statue of Bruce Lee, who was China’s first really big international star and thus much loved and recognized even by tourists like me.
It’s a fabulous walk, the big hotel (the Intercontinental if memory serves) dominates the skyline on the side away from the water, and it is beautifully done with ornate water features. And as I walked past it wistfully wishing my wife was there to share it with me, I came across the one and only problem I’ve ever had in Hong Kong.
An Indian man (rather stereotypically he was an older gentleman with a turban) approached me and offered me the chance to have sex with two girls at once for a small financial consideration. I politely declined, and he got angry, really, really angry. Screaming and shouting and chasing me down the avenue of stars and distracting me so much that I couldn’t even read the names of actors I didn’t know anymore.
Usually that area is packed with people but as is typical of my luck there was no-one else around and I actually began to fear for my safety a little. (I don’t like getting into punch ups in other countries; I’m told that foreign prisons cannot be considered desirable vacation spots). Fortunately as I turned the corner, as if by magic, a policeman came into view and my troublesome follower quickly remembered he had other white men’s days to ruin and disappeared off back the way he came.
Despite being a little shaken nothing was going to spoil my day, and it didn’t. When I’d walked the entire length of the avenue and come out by the Star Ferry Terminal, and the collection of museums opposite I was still a happy chappy. And a thirsty one, so it was time to call an end to my sightseeing, and my visit to China by finding a pub down by the water and watching the world go by, smoking to my heart’s content in one of the outdoor areas. And so I did.