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   Slight Hong Kong Disaster

 

Well I booked and paid for the flight & Hotel as usual using a travel agent that I have used a few times before, a German chap down on Pattaya Tai. There was nothing unusual about this, collecting the tickets and the Hotel Booking Voucher, it all worked as I have come to expect. I have often wondered in the past how these things come together, i.e. the trivial agent just gives you a piece of paper looking like not much at all but with this, lo and behold the bloke at the other end give you a room almost as if by magic. Now when I first started doing all this I was very weary indeed especially out here and always wondered if I would have somewhere to lay my head. But as time goes on and these things worked time and time again you begin to trust them. Big mistake: they just lull you into a very false sence of security and then they strike.

 

So I arrived in HK and my very first stop was the outside of the boarding entrance as usual for a smoke. I have ‘sussed’ out my little perch there many, many times ago. OK I had a free transfer included in the price of the room etc, but I only travel with hand luggage so I have no baggage to wait for, giving me at least time for one smoke before having to find the man with my name card who puts you on the bus at the B gate of the arrivals lounge. So having added one more nail to the smoker’s coffin I went to find him. That was no problem, we boarded the bus a few minutes later. The first stop on the journey was at the Marco Polo this is a big posh hotel but I don't like it very much as it's all part of an enormous shopping Mall. You ladies would love it I know, but when I get to a hotel I like it to be a hotel where I can easily find things like the reception instead of having to wander through what seems to be miles and miles of endless shops selling any amount of tremendously over-priced feminine appeal. Now ok, if they were motor mike shops that would be a very different matter.

 

The next stop was my hotel - one that I had not been to before i.e. the cheapest I could find to keep my costs down. My usual hotel is the BP International House which has some connection with the scouting association of HK. This is usually one of the best priced for a reasonable room but with the jewellery show they were racketeering with he rest of them this time. So back in Thailand I had chosen this one the Stanford Hill View. The name should have given me a little clue, Hill view; yes walking you were likely to get a nose-bleed before reaching the entrance, the bus had to take a good run at the hill to make it up to the front door and I was praying that the hand brake (parking brake) was in very good order allowing me time to make a jump for the front door before it went careering back down the hill out of control. OK this may be a very slight exaggeration but you get the point.

 

Anyway having made it to the reception desk just about without the need for crampons and producing the aforementioned voucher I was not greeted with the normal, ‘Please may I see your passport, Sir, and may I have a swipe through of your credit card for the extras you will be stupid enough to consume from the mini-bar etc. They don't know me; I never buy hugely over-priced items, always making a visit to a local 7/11 instead. In fact when in HK I just about live out of there as their sandwiches are not too bad and reasonably priced; well for HK anyway.

 

Don't let the ads con you, the food in HK is very poor indeed as I have found on many trips there, it's all very well Jacky Chan making movies for Discovery Channel saying how good it is. But I don't find this to be the case at all and if Jacky Chan should read this, he is more than welcome to meet me there on my next trip and show me where to eat.

 

Yes you guessed it there was no booking, there was no room at the inn. In the past I would have been very inclined to drag the guy over the counter and knock him senseless, well even more senseless. But as I get older I resist these temptations more and more these days. Besides he may have been some sort of Kung Fu expert or something. So after about 1/2 an hour of them looking through every piece of paper they seemed to have there, it would seem to be confirmed that this is where the system was to fall down. So I grabbed a taxi to the BP.

 

Having got to the BP and asked for a room, thank goodness the answer was ‘yes’ but they only had what they called a family room with bunk beds at $600.00 HKD a night to which I agreed but there was no room for there for the second night I was to be there. At this time I seriously considered getting back to the airport and heading home as there would obviously be a problem with accommodation with the show being in full swing by then. But duty calls and I figured I would find somewhere for the last night, hopefully having had a good night's sleep and a good breakfast the next morning. Now I am not saying that the breakfast is good at the BP but it's passable or just about anyway. The room was the usual I had been used to there but I hadn't reckoned on the bunk beds. They totally filled the room, to say you couldn't swing a cat was a big under statement. In fact I have been in submarines with more space. But as they say it was better than the park especially at this time of year with it being the rainy season. Breakfast the next day was below passable, the hash browns were leave-able to put it mildly. Anyway having filled up on corn-flakes and toast it was off to the show.

 

Getting around HK is easy enough on the subway and the taxi's are not over-priced at all. The show in September is a monumental affair. With 5 halls full of jewellery from all over the world. It would take at least one day walking briskly up and down each aisle just to quickly walk past every stall. This in the main is what I do only stopping at stalls that carry jade as a main line.

 

This trip was principally not about the stock you see on my web-site but much more about the other side of my business, supplying my friend in the UK. HK in general is much too expensive for the items you find on my web-site the items having passed through far too many hands before getting there. So having firstly arrived at my friend Amy's stand, picked out all the best stuff for my friend in the UK it was on to see Alan doing the same there. Then it was to Hall 2 to see my good friend Stella as much to borrow her mobile phone than anything else, in order to try and avoid the park that night. So having picked out a few items I asked her to lend me her phone as I had a list of hotels from the girl on the counter at the BP.

 

The first on the list was the Marco Polo so I gave it a go. Luckily they had one room left but it was 1350.00 HKD a night and I had to book it immediately with my credit card or it would be gone. OK it was a tremendous amount of cash but what choice did I have, if I had said I will ring others first they may have been full and I may have missed this one so I went for it as it was raining as I had come into the show and the park looked distinctly uninviting. At the end of the show that day I had to go and pick up my bag from the BP and book in at the Marco Polo.

 

When I arrived at the BP I found two messages pinned to my bag, one from the bloke who met me at the airport with the bus from Elvis at the Stanford nose-bleed hotel. This one said that they were sorry about the inconvenience from the day before. ‘Inconvenience!’ I could have been in the park all night for all he cared. Now I really felt like breaking his nose. The other was from the bus man, he had contacted me at the BP the night before having tracked me down there, wondering why I was not at the nose-bleed hotel. I had explained then the problem, to which he said he would contact me the next morning, at the time I explained I would be leaving the hotel at 9am, so it would have to be before then. He didn't so that was the end of that. So it was off to the Marco Polo for the tremendously over-priced room that I had already paid for on my card.

This place is so big the taxi driver dropped me off first at the wrong door some 1/4 of a mile from the nearest door to the actual reception. Ok you ladies would love it but by then my feet were tired from all the walking at the show and all I wanted to do was tuck into my 7/11 sandwiches plus the gorgeous cakes that I picked up from one of the subway shops. Now I have

to admit these really are good but then again they are hardly Chinese, tropical fruit on a sort custard and pastry base, OK they are very good but not worth a trip to HK. The room at the Marco Polo was OK plenty of room and the bathroom was as large as the smallest room I had in the past in HK, but at what a price?

 

From there it was just as normal; there was no breakfast for me the next day. I didn't dare ask the price even though the girl at the reception had given me a ticket for 1/2 price breakfast.

So it was across the road to the 7/11 again for more of the same which I ate in the park by the show site, and very pleasant too. Having trolled up and down the aisles again it was time to go and see my American friend at the jade market. He sells old Jade now this has a following but it's not my cup of tea at all. He was very proud of the piece that had been published about him in one of the local newspapers. More just about the fact that he has been there for the last 30 years. It was in Chinese so I couldn't read it anyway. The market was as usual with many stalls telling the same sort of lies that are more often than not told on ebay and the few stalls that do have some good stuff being more expensive than on my site.

 

There was a beer promotion so we enjoyed one together before I thankfully made my way to the bus and out of there to the airport for the flight back to my home in beautiful Thailand. Hong Kong is a high rise nightmare at the best of times. There are to many people all living one on top of one another which goes some way to explaining there demeanour I suppose. On my first trips to HK I had suspected that it was just my opinion but since then everybody I meet who has spent time there agrees with me.

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