After months of backpacking, going to Hong Kong felt great!
Karen and myself have been backpacking for nearly three months and we just felt exhausted. Because we messed up our finances from poor spending decisions while traveling in the Middle East, we’ve been very careful with our money since then. This means we have been eating less food and staying at crappier accommodations. Honestly, you can only sleep at crappy hostels for so long before it drives you nuts. There is no doubt that sharing washrooms with other people sucks! Being uncomfortable all the time really takes its toll on you both mentally and physically.
Keep in mind, we have no regrets at all. Despite all the bad things that happened, we also experienced many great things. For every scam, food poisoning and price gouging that we experienced, there was kindness and a helping hand just around the corner.
But for now we get to celebrate! Because we finally get to take a break from the constant emotional roller coaster of budget backpacking. We are finally back to civilization!
Arriving in the Hong Kong airport
Karen and myself arrived in the Hong Kong airport really early in the morning. I think it was 5am by the time we arrived and passed through customs. Despite the crazy long lineup to pass customs, these Cantonese people work fast and efficient and we got through fairly quickly.
Having free and fast WIFI in the Hong Kong airport was also a breath of fresh air. This allowed us to communicate to Karen’s aunts that we have arrived and on our way to their place.
Taxi to Karen’s aunt’s apartment
One nice thing about going to Hong Kong is Karen speaks Cantonese. After traveling through countries and dealing with the constant communication barrier, we finally arrived in one where Karen can speak her native tongue! (Well not really true, Karen is born in the United States so her mother tongue is technically English but you get what I mean)
Karen communicated with our taxi driver where her aunt lives and off we go!
Home away from home
We arrived at Karen’s aunt’s apartment and I got a chance to meet them again. It was really nice seeing Karen bond with her aunts and they definitely looked very happy to see their niece again.
After taking a shower and getting rid of the grime off my body from taking a 15 hour bus ride in Myanmar + 14 hour wait in the Yangon airport + 4 hour plane ride to Hong Kong + going through customs, I immediately passed out for several hours. It was such an awesome sleep but I still feel fatigued despite getting some rest.
Karen’s aunts then took us out to the mall and explore the city a little bit.
They also taught us how to use the transit system for when we go on our own city-exploration. I have high school friends who lives in Hong Kong and I was going to meet them for dinner during my time in this city. Karen and myself were also going to take the time to explore the city and check out Hong Kong’s museums.
After Karen’s aunts showed us how to get around Hong Kong, we went to a restaurant for a Tam family reunion and for Karen’s birthday dinner. I can tell it was a heartfelt moment for Karen and her relatives were ecstatic to see her.
Gratitude for the simple things in life
I know this sounds wishy washy but going on long backpacking trips really makes you appreciate the simple things in life. Things like going out for family dinner, having a clean toilet/shower and having a daily routine is something we all take for granted. But, the moment you are far away from home and going to unknown places all the time, a part of you starts to miss boring old every day life.
Sad goodbyes as I continue the journey solo for the next four months
Dinner with Karen’s super nice aunts
In the next few days, I meet up with old friends, have dinner with Karen’s relatives and explored Hong Kong some more. This is me and Karen’s last adventure together in 2016 before parting ways. Karen is flying back to Canada and go back to work and I continue my one year backpacking adventure around the world.
I won’t be seeing her again for another four months when we get reunited in South America. I’m on my own from here.
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