Now that I have a replacement smartphone, it’s great being able to jot down blog notes as I go – whenever and wherever I happen to be.
During my first night out in Hong Kong, I jotted down only one short note:
“Im blown away by hongkongs nightlife. BLOWN AWAY.”
Within hours of checking into my room, I rendezvoused with two college friends – Joe, who only lived in the US during his four undergraduate years at UCSD, and Fan, who still lives in San Diego and just happened to be in town for a visit. It was my first “big night out” since Seoul.
We spent the evening in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s main bar-and-club district. Which was pretty unbelievable if I do say so myself. Sure, when you really get down to it it’s fairly similar to the nightlife area of any major city – but somehow the vibe and the sheer amount of energy that’s crammed into those few square blocks really is crazy. “Now you see why I was always complaining about the boring weekends back in San Diego,” Joe told me when he saw my initial reactions.
I think the main difference is that in most major cities, you’ve got numerous spots where you could spend a Saturday night, each of them sprawling several square kilometers. For example, in Tokyo you’ve got Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi; in LA you’ve got Hollywood and Santa Monica; in San Diego you’ve got PB and Gaslamp. Plus, in many cities it’s illegal to drink outdoors – so even within these districts there’s really there’s no “one central area” that just turns into a mishmash of fun & games. But here, the streets are filled with people of every nationality and background, all just out to have a good time – and all clearly dressed to impress. The wall-to-wall bars and clubs offer every type of venue you could want, from ultra-budget to ultra-posh, many of them blasting music right out onto the street – making you feel like you’re part of the party even when you’re just walking from A to B.
And the most surprising thing?
Of course, I’m not referring to the “traditional” definition – wearing gaudy silver necklaces or huge gold watches. I’m referring to bling as I always thought only Peder and I ever did. But I guess I was wrong. Because out on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong, it seems like every 5th person has glowing devil horns or massive bunny ears or red reindeer antlers or sunglasses with multicolor LEDs. There are even vendors out there selling it from night until morning. This place has figured it out!
Thanks so much to Joe, Fan, and David (Joe’s friend) for a fabulous first night – and for somehow managing to setup a full run of VIP access. Nothing could be better than showing up in a country, being ushered to the front of the line of every club you go to, and sitting at a table with all the free Grey Goose you can drink 🙂
(Amusing little side-note: When Fan came to meet up with me outside Chungking Mansions, her friend was actually afraid to come inside – or even to wait for us too near the front door! Whoa…I guess it really is infamous!)
The next afternoon, I awoke to find three missed calls on my cellphone. They were from Fan at the airport. When the airline staff told her that my extra duffel bag – which she was kind enough to offer to carry all the way back to the US for me – would bring her over the weight limit, she wasn’t sure if I wanted to pay the fees and called to ask. Not being able to get in touch, she decided to play it safe and check it at Left Luggage.
D’oh. Stupid Justin. Why’d you have to sleep through those phone calls?
I headed out to the airport to pick it up, then to the post office to ship it home by sea. One way or another I had to lighten the load – I just couldn’t be left carrying this much crap around with me!
Getting rid of that thing was such a relief…or should I say, a weight off my shoulders 😀
Did you know that virtually all of Hong Kong’s taxis are recycled from Japan? Kind of bizarre. I guess it’s because Japan is so obsessed with keeping things new and perfect that after they’ve been used for a year or two (even though they still work just fine) it’s time for an upgrade…so off to HK they go!