Helllloooooo! I’m really excited to blog again, yet also sad because I would have to relieve the kamalasan that we had in Hong Kong. 🙁
The night before our flight to Hong Kong, I was not able to sleep well because I was panicking about our itinerary. I was looking for more places to visit aside from what I had in mind (The Peak, Disneyland, Ocean Park & Avenue of Stars). Actually, ganyan talaga ako when I know I need to be up early—mas napupuyat ako being stressed that I need to wake up early!
As I explored where to go and how to go about places in Hong Kong, I saw a promo on the website of Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong:
Since it was cheaper, gow gow gow agad ako! I also saw that the The Peak Tram will be under maintenance on the 23rd of September. That means we have to be there on our first day in HK, since the 24th and the 25th were off limits because I have already reserved a room and a two-day pass to Disneyland. Again, I felt like it was a moment of victory for me. Kebs na that I was only able to rest at 12:30 am and that I had to be up at 3:30 a.m. —basta nakatipid ako at makakasakay kami ng The Peak Tram!
At 4:30 we were already in our van and leaving. Then about a kilometer from our house, I said: “Aaaaaaack ang cellphone ko!” I left my phone on our bed because I was supposed to charge it while I was taking a bath, because I used up its battery the previous night researching about Hong Kong (kasi naman nawala pa ang iPad ko…). So we returned for it. That was the first kamalasan (but this was supposedly a blessing in disguise…you’ll find out later).
Imbyerna 1: Excess Baggage?!?
When we checked in our baggage, the Philippine Airlines ground stewardess said that our baggage was overweight because it weighed 24 kilos. What the?!? E tig-20 kaming tatlo, so 60 kilos dapat ang limit namin. I told the stewardess that, and she insisted 20 raw talaga. Hindi ako pumayag. Then she told me that each luggage should not exceed 20 kilos, so if I wanted to fight for my 60 kilos baggage allowance, our family must have more than one bag. Good thing I was a Girl Scout (from elementary to first year high school), I came prepared: I packed empty weekend totes in our trolley maleta! So I just got one of them and threw in some of our stuff there, and voila, no more excess baggage! I just hoped that the ground stewardess mentioned/clarified/suggested that I stash our other stuff into another bag to avoid excess baggage at the onset. If I were not outspoken and was just timid, I might have paid for the “excess baggage”.
An Encounter with Marian Rivera!!!
While at the airport, I saw a familiar face.
I: Uy, parang nanay ‘yan ni Marian Rivera.
Randy: Pati ba naman nanay ni Marian kilala mo?
I: Kasi ‘di ba fina-follow ko si Marian sa IG? Eh pino-post niya picture ng Nanay n’ya.
And then after just a while, I saw Marian in all her glory. Tunay siyang maganda, in fairness. 🙂
During boarding, we joined the long queue. We were almost at the tail of the line because we did not line up right away. Then, a nice man told us that there is a separate line for babies/toddlers on a stroller and their companions. We thanked the man and left. Ang Randy, nagkamali ng siningitan na linya. At alam ninyo sino’ng ni-cut sa line? Si Marian! I excused us and apologized, but Marian said it was OK (though I said that we will really go to the kids’ line). So ladies and gentlemen, I officially declare that Marian is nice. She and her entourage were in front of us in the tube, and I took photos of her walking. Asan ang pictures? Mamaya na. 😉
Imbyerna 2: The Cab Drivergrrrrrrrr
We arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport at around 10 a.m.
Randy asked how to get to our hotel, Residence G (Hotel G) at Tsim Sha Tsui. We could take the bus or the MTR (train), but either of them would entail lots of walking. In the end, Randy opted to get a taxi. We were told that taxi from airport to the Tsim Sha Tsui area would be around HK$ 215 (about Php1,200). It was a lot more expensive than if we ride a bus or MTR, but Randy thought it was worth it. There was a dispatcher in the airport who got us a cab and gave us a slip of paper. Randy handed the piece of paper to the taxi driver when we rode without reading what was written on it. Honestly, hindi ko bet ‘yung driver kasi puro tattoo. Call me judgmental (and yeah, I know wala sa tattoo ang ugali ng tao, blah blah), but that’s what I felt. But because hindi ko pinairal in an obvious manner ang pagka-judgmental ko, gora lang. My distrust for our tattooed driver heightened when it seemed like he was tinkering his mobile phone while driving. And then I noticed that at the back of the passenger seat was an octopus USB cable. I was delighted because my phone battery was running low. I asked the cab driver whether I could charge my phone, and he said it was OK. Natuwa naman ako.
Then we arrived at our hotel. The taxi meter read HK$ 200+++, but the taxi driver was asking for HK$390+++ because of the toll fee. OK fine.
While registering at the hotel, a sick realization hit me: I was not able to remove my cellphone from the USB octopus charger!!! I panicked and Randy got angry already, because less than a month ago I also lost my iPad Mini. The hotel receptionist told me not to panic because she will call a number that would give a message blast to all taxi drivers in Hong Kong that a passenger from the airport to Hotel G left a cellphone in his cab. They also asked for the card that was given to us at the airport because it contains the plate number of the taxi. Waley, kasi nga iniabot namin sa cab driver. Then she checked their CCTV footage. Unfortunately, the taxi stopped at a place that their CCTV was not able to reach. The receptionist/manager placated me by saying that most taxi drivers in Hong Kong were honest. Pero sasabihin ko na sa inyo: I never recovered my phone, and I am phoneless until now. We realized that our taxi driver was not honest because we learned that the HK$215+++ expected fare from the airport to the hotel was already inclusive of toll fee. I guess the cab driver decided he could fool us (and then later, not return my phone) because we handed him the card with his taxi’s plate number. Haaaaaaay. Ang sakit ng damdamin ko habang sinusulat ko ‘to. Sana nga naiwan na lang sa bahay ang phone ko at hindi na binalikan! Sayang yung mga kuha ko kay Marian Rivera!!!
Imbyerna 3: Lost in Translation
My e-ticket to Madame Tussauds had this instruction:
If you have purchased a NWFB 3-in-1 combo you MUST attend Citybus Service Centre [Admiralty West Bus Terminus (near Route 629)] first. Open from 9am to 4pm daily.
I figured that “ATTEND” meant that we had to go there. So from our hotel, we walked to the MTR station, rode the MTR, and alighted on Admiralty West. I asked where the fart this “Citybus Service Centre” was. No exagg, we asked about 20 people but no one was able to pinpoint. We asked Pinoys, but they did not know where it was. We asked Hong Kong nationals, but we had difficulty understanding what they were saying. Up-down kami sa MTR station (repeat 4x), then we crossed the street via overpass (repeat 3x), then lakad-lakad around (repeat 10x). Mga 2 hours kaming paikot-ikot lang, promise, from 1-3 p.m.! Then at one point, Randy pointed out that I was no longer holding Raviv’s bag. At that time, I was about to burst into tears na. I lacked sleep, I lost my phone, I was tired, I was hungry, I was depressed…and then it seems I also lost my son’s bag!!! Muntik na among maglupasay, in fact sinimulan ko nang sabunutan ang sarili ko! But Randy told me not to lose it, because if I do, things will get worse for us. I retraced our steps and thank God, I easily found Raviv’s bag!!! Apparently, I left it at a newspaper stand when I was asking for directions. Eventually, Randy suggested we skip The Peak. But I did not want to, although I stopped looking for this “Citybus Service Centre”. Feeling ko mas mahirap pa siyang hanapin kesa Platform 3/4 sa Harry Potter, LOL! I thought that perhaps Citybus Service Centre was at The Peak. Eventually, a local who spoke good English was really able to direct us to a bus that goes directly to The Peak.
Imbyerna 4: The Discount That Wasn’t
After about an hour, we were finally at The Peak. We easily found Madame Tussauds, which was actually at a mall.
At Madame Tussauds, I learned that I REALLY SHOULD HAVE LOOKED FOR THAT “Citybus Service Centre” to claim our tickets!!! I told the receptionist that we were going round and round looking for that place to no avail. She said I should have called the number on my e-ticket. At naalala ko nanaman ang cellphone ko. I begged her to allow us pa rin to claim our 3-in-1 “discounted” ticket, but she said she could only allow us to get in Madame Tussauds; the Peak Tram return ticket and Sky Terrace 428 ticket would be forfeited, unless I return to the Admiralty Road and look for “Citybus Service Centre” again. At that point, gusto ko siyang sabunutan. Hindi ba niya alam ang dusa namin?!? Waaah! So I had no choice but to just accept the Madame Tussauds tickets for the three of us. Haaaay! I sooo regret staying up late and having bought the “discounted” tickets that made us look for “The Lost World” that was “Citybus Service Centre”. Mas gumastos pa kami!
In fainess, we enjoyed Madame Tussauds. Or maybe we tried our best to enjoy it, given how much kamalasan we have had that day. Madame Tussauds has lots wax figures of local and international celebrities. Of course, ‘yung international lang ang pinansin namin. Kebs ba namin sa mga superstars ng Hong Kong!
Here’s a collage of photos of us with our kapwa celebrities. Char!
After exploring Madame Tussauds, we tried to do some shopping. But there was a miracle: Wala akong gana mag-shopping. I guess sobra talaga ang mga pangyayari.
Imbyerna 5: Why There’s Almost No Overweight People in Hong Kong
I remember my friend Sha one told me “Walang mataba sa Hong Kong, at mahihiya ka kung mataba ka dun.” Now, I get it why. Why? Because food there is so freakingly expensive!!! I was shocked to see that the average meal for one person is HK$ 138—that’s about Php600 per normal meal!!! Gravity, bonggang buffet na sa Vikings yun ah! But we had no choice, as we were tired and hungry.
After dinner, we joined the loooooong queue to ride The Peak Tram (na bumili uli ako ng bagong tickets, grrr!). The ride was so-so, because it was dark already and we were not able to see the city down below in all its glory na.
When we alighted from the tram, Randy decided to ride a cab even though, again, that was more expensive. But after what we went through that day, it was a “necessary luxury” for our tired feet and stressed minds.
Finally, we returned to our hotel room, and all we could do was rest and pray that tomorrow would be a waaaaaay better day.
Tell me what you think!
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