Hong Kong skyline, as seen from The Peak
I had meetings in Mumbai last week, and I need to be in Beijing next week for another series of meetings. There are no direct flights between the two places, so I used my schedule as a good excuse for spending the weekend in Hong Kong – one of my favourite cities in Asia, and culinarily-speaking, probably my favourite place in the entire world. It was a chance to recharge my batteries, visit old friends, and eat some good food.
Mumbai flight schedules are terrible, but mercifully my Cathay flight took off as scheduled at just before 2am. I managed to settle in quickly and grabbed about four-and-a-half hours of sleep, arriving just before 10am in Hong Kong.
My colleagues in Mumbai had presented me with a gift before I left. What was meant to be a generous gesture has instead turned into a bit of an albatross around my neck. I’d very carefully packed my suitcase to manage my two-week, three-city tour with nothing more than hand-luggage, but now that I’m lugging along a piece of artwork as well, my plans have been scuppered. My bag went into the hold, and thanks to the efficient ground services at HKG airport, was waiting for me as soon as I’d cleared immigration.
My friend Sean was waiting for me, which was a real treat. Flying as often as I do, it’s very rare to be met off the plane anymore, except by the airline representative, hotel rep, or driver. Aside from flying home to see my parents, it’s rare for anyone to meet me off the plane. But it’s great to see a familiar face.
Posing next to the mini-busses at The Peak. Mini busses, full-sized Matt
Sean dropped me at my hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes, then we headed out for dim sum at the Kee Club where I proceeded to make a pig of myself. After eating, uh, “delicately” in Mumbai for the past week, I was ready for some real food.
They take their food seriously in Hong Kong. Here I am posing with a giant meatball and an oversized tray of dim sum.
I managed to stay awake through lunch, then headed back to the hotel for some serious power-napping. Got up in time for a quick drink at Sean’s apartment, where I finally got to meet his adorable daughter for the first time after more than a year of Facebook photos. She lives up to her billing, and is even more adorable in person than she is in the photos. We hit a local Japanese place for sushi, then followed up with a quick drink at the bar at the top of my hotel.
After a blissful ten hours of sleep, I got up late and wandered the streets around my hotel, grabbing a quick breakfast of pork-and-cabbage buns at one of the local shops. There was a lot of pointing and gesturing involved. Sunday afternoon meant more dim sum, this time at the Grand Hyatt with Sean’s extended family, something of a tradition and an event I’ve enjoyed with Sean and his family every time I’ve visited Hong Kong. Loads of good food, including a roast pigeon ordered especially for me. (Thanks, Sean!)
From my "food with a face" files, this is roast pigeon at the Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong
After lunch, we headed up to the Peak for a short walk and a coffee. Though it’s been seven years since I’ve last been here, and the skyline has changed somewhat, it still reminds me of my first trip to Hong Kong.
I’ve got one more evening here, and half-the-day tomorrow – tonight’s dilemma is basically “what should I eat?” followed by tomorrow morning’s dilemma of “what else should I eat”? Then off on a plane to Beijing, where I won’t have to ask myself that question. The banquets have already been arranged – all I need to do is turn up.