Thought #1: Why have I never visited Hong Kong before? It is awesome.
Thought #2: It's actually fine that my Cantonese sucks, it's the effort that counts. Trying to talk to people has helped me remember random words and phrases I thought I didn't know. Eggplant! Good morning! These pants are too long! And it's totally fine to mix in English words, people do it here all the time – "blah blah blah anyways la" – as long as you say the English in a sing-songy Cantonese way. And tack on "la" at the end. It also works in reverse: I'll speak to someone in English and they'll reply in Cantonese and it's all good.
Thought #3: This place is a shopaholic's paradise. Everything from gigantic luxury mega-malls to tiny back alley sock vendors. I have never seen so. many. people. in one place – Mong Kok in Kowloon is this giant river of humanity that I can only describe as a clusterfuck.And they're ALL SHOPPING. After twenty minutes we were so overwhelmed by the number of people that we jumped back on the MTR with our tails between our legs.
Thought #4: I love the mountains. It is insane how all of these high rises are built directly into the side of the mountains. We're staying in Mid-levels, and there are all these twisty lanes with 30 story highrises sprouting from either side of the street. It makes walking around a lot of fun, and everything feels so layered. Even though we've walked past the same streets a few times, I keep seeing new things. And walking versus riding the double decker buses versus a taxi versus the old trams opens up even more views.
Thought #5: The food is YUM. We had the best of bowl of noodles + wontons + fish balls + beef EVAR. And dim sum really does rule here. The variety is astounding – although with Western food you really have to pay a premium for it.