Hong Kong is actually quite a fascinating place! Expensive but you can also get what you want. I had heard that Hong Kong is also a naughty place so I went there exploring the naughty world. Language quiet often can be a barrier but this is China… Well not exactly China but an SAR or Special Administrative Region. Going to Hong Kong does not mean you go to China. Actually could be quite the opposite. You may be able to walk into Hong Kong but not to China. China is one of few places that actually require you to get a visa even if you hold a western passport.
Hong Kong in many ways is quite the opposite of China. Hong Kong drives on the left side of the road and China on the right! Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong Dollar and China the Renminbi. Having said that there are ATMs in Hong Kong that give you Renminbi and even Euro. Walk into a large HSBC ATM room and you will be puzzled as to which one you should use! After all, for decades Hong Kong was administered by the British. So do you expect them to be like China? No!
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory in South Eastern China and formally a British colony. It is vibrant, densely populated, a major port, a global financial hub and plenty of expat workers. It is a major shopping destination but can be expensive and very expensive at that! Hong Kong population is about 7.4 million squeezed into an area of about 2750 Square Km. About 4.6% of population are expats.
Get out of Hong Kong Airport and the first thing you will see right in front of you is the train station. You got to walk more to take a taxi! A lot more. But here’s a place where the guys who manage the taxi queue speak English and good English at that. So they ask you where you want to go, tell you about how much it costs and tell the taxi driver. No matter even if the taxi driver can not even say good morning in English! The airport express takes you from the airport to Kowloon station in about 20 minutes and Hong Kong Station in 24 minutes for $90 and $100. Trip to Wan Chai (Hong Kong) by taxi can cost between $350 and $400. Oh I forgot! I am talking Hong Kong money. 100 HKD is about USD 12.75 and AUD 18.
Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, Lantau Island, and over 200 other islands. There are two tunnels crossing the Victoria Harbour and a ferry service to cross from Kowloon to Hong Kong. The airport is located in Lantau Island and you drive all the way up to Kowloon and then come down to Hong Kong – that is if you want to get to Hong Kong Island which I am sure you will want to do when you finish reading the blog!
The peoples are usually referred to as Hong Kong people and China people. Even if they are the same in heritage, there is a fundamental difference in the way they behave and that I will not get into other than to say Hong Kong people tend to be a bit more polite and considerate among other things. Hong Kong is undoubtedly better organized. If you cross the border by road from Shenzhen China to Hong Kong, you will notice the difference.
Now let’s cut the crap and talk business…. I mean entertainment, fun, women, sex… whatever you want! Hong Kong has it all. 4.6% epact workers seem like quite a small number. But they run or work the bars. They are the domestic helpers who take control of central on their day off. Then there are the travelling ‘escorts’ – prostitutes, Freelancers, sex workers, ladies of the night…. Whatever term you want to use! There is a significantly large number of Domestic Helpers (or to some may mean housemaids) mainly from Philippines and Indonesia. As a rule, they have 12 hours on Sunday off plus the public holidays. Come Chinese New Year, they will have 3 holidays. That’s Christmas not only for them but the naughty travellers too. As much as I can, I plan my holidays to coincide with Chinese New Year. The downside of that is that hotels are expensive.
So what do Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong do during their time off? Filipinos or the Pinoys as they sometimes like to be called are big in numbers. Largely the more religious and the conservatives flock around the central area. No this is not the kind that the naughty kind like me are after. They are pretty boring. They make themselves a makeshift picnic area. They bring food and share. They play cards. They do whatever they like to do to keep themselves occupied. There is a guy selling flattened cardboard boxes for them to make tents. Another renting portable karaoke machines – yes they love to sing. Another goes around repairing garments. Some selling food. The underpass across the road connecting to the Central Ferry Terminal is more or less occupied by the Filipinos.
The main parkland is more or less a no-go zone for the average tourist or even the local on a Sunday. Why, the Filipinos have taken control to spend their day off. The more religious start off at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral. It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 Domestic Helpers and they all have Sunday off! Now that’s close upon the population of Australian Capital Territory. This is the conservative or the religious type.
How about the naughty lot! They hit the bars in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai area – some of them drunk by 11 in the morning! The infamous Bar 109 located at 109 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai is a popular spot. It is an extremely tiny bar that turns into a disco on Sunday till about 4pm and on public holidays from morning till about 2.00pm simply to accommodate the fun-loving Naughty Domestic Helpers who are out for a good time and basically out to spend time with a man. Well most of them. Others simply come to Drink and Smoke. You can get not 1, not 2 but even 3 just for a few drinks which can actually drain your wallet. Wan Chai, Hong Kong its self is known for much more than Bar 109.
Wan Chai, Hong Kong is a busy commercial area filled with office workers and shoppers. Specialty spots include Tai Yuen Street for toy stores, Queen’s Road East for antiques and Wan Chai Computer Center for all the Technology. At lunchtime, noodles shops and casual eateries do brisk business and, after work, a lively crowd descends on Lockhart Road’s bars and nightclubs. A daily flag-raising ceremony takes place in Golden Bauhinia Square.
Excluding the flag-raising ceremony and obviously including the bars and nightclubs, all mentioned factors are a key reason for street walkers, I mean Ladies of the night (put bluntly prostitutes) to make it their operating ground. Not really the locals but Filipinos, Indonesians, Africans… you name it, they flock there. Some pretty stunning I must say. They get a 14 day visa before they can exit and come back for another 14 day run. Then they must call it quits.
Have I been to Bar 109? Hell, Yes. Have I seen the Street walkers? Yes! Have I been to the night clubs, the bars, the pubs….? Yes! Have I been to the girly bars? Well…. Yes but not to go again. Am I going to tell more? Well… yes… in my next blog.