15 February 2010

Arrival in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year's celebrations

It's my first time back in Hong Kong after 14 years. Last time I landed in the old airport, an experience I will never forget! This time I am welcomed by the new airport, an architectural and logistical masterpiece that is voted best airport in the world over and over again... This, also, is a great experience!

Very quick formalities at passport control, and by the time I reach the luggage delivery area my heavy bags with diving and photo equipment are already spinning around the carousel. I pick them up and puch my cart to the info desk to ask about transport to town. They point me to a bus service that will stop right at my hotel. Someone personally shows me the way across the huge supermodern hall, someone else picks up my bags and puts them down in a holding area. After a few minutes the bus is there, someone puts my bags in the hold of the bus and I am on the way...

In about half an hour I am at the hotel, yet again someone immediately picks up my bags. I will see them again in my room. Check-in formalities are a breeze, it'a big hotel but as soon as I tell her my name the receptionist announces that an envelope is waiting for me, it's a zoom adaptor I need for my underwater camera. I bought it on eBay a few days before coming and had it shipped to the hotel.The drive to town is a bit slow for the traffic, but it gives me a chance to have a look at this amazing city. All around there are signs for the New Year which begins tomorrow. It's the year of the Tiger. I soon find out that I was born in a year of the PIG!! No wonder...

So far so good! Actually it just keeps getting better...

After a quick shower I meet my friend J. and she is so polite to invite me to her home to celebrate the Chinese New Year with her family. They live in a nice apartment in a residential area. Many high rises, all well done, super clean, pleasant to the eye even if big apartment buildings inevitably tend to all look the same... The whole family is there, parents, cousins, brother... people are playing cards (but not waging money they hasten to add, it's forbidden!!), games, and exchanging red envelopes with good luck money inside! All I have is some chocolate from Belgium, but it's good chocolate! They are so polite as to treat me like a member of the family, I get my red envelopes too! And I learn my first Chinese words: Kung Hei Fat Choi: Happy New Year! It's actually Cantonese, but never mind.

Interesting that they eat all sorts of stuff together, salty snacks, fish, sweets, drinks of all kinds... it all gets mixed together! Then we go out for real eating at a restaurant nearby. We all sit at a big round table Chinese style, with tons of delicious food that keeps coming to the table and is put on the typical rotating platform in the middle which we all pick from and turn around for the next person... fish, meat, veggies, all sooooooo good, I have been in the country no more than a few hours and I am already getting FAT!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Click here to leave your comment. All comments are welcome and will be published asap, but offensive language will be removed.