I'm going to be honest with you guys: I hated Hong Kong the first time I visited it. I landed in a bustling city I didn't know, with loud people that stepped on my toes, surrounded by construction, pollution, and soulless architecture- my mind was made up: the first place I've ever visited that I didn't like: Hong Kong. This was in 2007.
Fast forward 10 years later: July 2017, and my boyfriend just moved to Hong Kong, I've somehow acquired two best friends that come from Hong Kong, and it's the only logical destination to use as a base to make a surf trip to Bali. Before I knew it: I had overnight flight tickets from London to Hong Kong and not a clue nor an address of where I was going to sleep, let alone do next.
But the second the plane touched down, my worry became a thirsty curiosity, and my anxiety was replaced with adrenaline. I'll be the last one to admit it to myself I love getting lost and venturing out well out of my comfort zone. Shortly after I arrived in Central, my memories of this strange city began to kick into gear. Unfortunately for me: Mademoiselle Hong-Kong Grinch; the weather was delightful: hot and steamy: just how I like it.
My boyfriend, per recommendation from my last visit to Hong Kong, had chosen to live on Lamma island; a cute, laid back, hippy kind of town, just a 20 minute ferry ride from central. It felt like a jungle at times; but other than natures ruckus: was peaceful and a welcome respite from the concrete jungle of Central.
The time in Hong Kong was dotted with so many unpredictable events: kayaking with Sammy, an impromptu 'Junk Party'* for the fourth of July. (*Junk party is a Hong Kong drinking party on some form of rented boat).
Some more unpredictable events included lunch with a good friend of mine from my class at London College of Fashion (!!) what are the odds? Or a lovely night out with my boyfriend and his boss, and another night out my father's business partners! and finally a night out with all of Sammy's Hong Kong friends!
But the best parts for me weren't in the city: working around my boyfriends schedule, we managed to take a weekend trip to Lantau island and walk down through the fishing villages and swim in waterfalls. It is at this point that I will point out my boyfriend is a born and bred Hawaiian, which means he is akin to figures like Bear Grylls or Indiana Jones (at least in any normal persons eyes). So we hiked far, high, long, we swum in big, heavy, wide, waves, and we generally set out on expeditions that were guaranteed to leave me collapsing first foot through the door. Much like my dear friend Sammy, my boyfriend also treated me like I wasn't on chemotherapy, which I appreciated, and encouraged me to push my limits. (Editors Note: 'Encouraged being' the light-term, 'my limit' being the operative one...) But it ensured we got so much done, that by the end of it: I couldn't 'hate' Hong Kong, because I got to explore all of the tropical paradise upon which Hong Kong was built on: nature, rivers; treasure.
I think the highlight for me was the beach days, and the kayaking. The sand was so white and the water was so warm and refreshing after the hikes, it was hard to believe I was really in Hong Kong...
The last night before we flew back to Switzerland for my birthday, my boyfriend and I visited the Ozone bar, a bar I wanted to show him as I visited it with my family the last time I was in Hong Kong. The rooftop bar is part of the Ritz Carlton hotel located on the ICC (International Commerce Centre): also known as Hong Kong's tallest building (484m!!). We spent the last evening sipping cocktails looking over a full panoramic view of the city at night...
Recommendations: Go to this Ozone bar: it's affordable if you get one drink and take in the view: plus it's a great excuse to dress up! Next tip: get out of the city!! There is so much so close and nearby. Go to different islands! Check out Lamma for sure: they have SUCH good food there. Visit Lantau (no, not Disneyland or the airport, ACTUAL Lantau!) for the fishing villages, Sai Kung for the nature, and the city for all that well-known and loved Hong Kong Culture. Which is essentially to me felt like like 'Blade Runner' but on steroids.
P.s. This trip and the photos taken during it unfortunately marked the low of my skin on chemotherapy. I've never had acne in my life: but for two months, because of my chemotherapy: I was ravaged by terrible acne and, unlike many talented women I know, I haven't a clue how to hide it. But I'm sharing these raw photos with you because I want you to know what the reality of what symptoms are like for a teenagers and young adults, as this symptom doesn't often occur in older patients.