Wow… What an adventure.
So this is round 2 of this post. I just spent an hour writting one of the best articles I have ever written, to have an error occur during the saving process which ended up in it being lost. Let’s try this again.
We leave the hongkong airport around 10am and head to downtown Hong Kong on the express train. We wander around downtown for a bit and soon find ourselves at a starbucks discussing the differences in drinks between countries. My caramel machiatto is pretty much the same, his extra hot latte could use a little work.
After visiting a historic tea museum in ‘Hong Kong Park’, seeing tea pots and cups from pretty much the beginning of time (early 17th century) and learning how the process of tea has been refined over the centuries, we hop on the subway and head over to Kowloon and try to find our ‘guest house’.
We find out our hotel is only about a block away from the subway station we come out of. That block is quite the trip in itself. Does it look like I want a custom tailored suit? Do you think I need a Rolex? We must have ‘tourist’ written all over us, even though we are not the only Caucasians in the street. It seems as though every hustler in the city is located on the same block as our guest house, I guess things could be worse.
As we find the building, the entrance is pretty much a hole in the wall. Amoung the electronic and Asian cooking shops it looks like an exit at a casino, not ment to be found unless you know what you’re looking for.
We enter into the depths of the building and come to the elevator. We don’t see the name of the guest house on the list. We ask the security guard, in his crisply pressed white collared shirt, walky-talky in hand, ‘where can we find The Maple Leaf Guest House?’, he replies with a grunt and motions to a desk down the hall with a fairly unfriendly looking individual at it. If we got this much help from someone who looks like they were here to give out assistance, you can understand why I was a little apprehensive to ask the next gentleman for help. The man at the desk pointed us in the right direction. One isle over, down the hall on the right. Turns out multiple buildings all share the same entrance. We find a sign which says ‘Maple Leaf Guest Houses – 12th floor’, this must be it.
As we waited in a cramped hallway with 7 others for one of the 2 elevator doors to open, I began to realize this was no Ritz. The doors opened and a flood of people came pouring out. As quickly as they exited, we entered. Squished to the back, I began looking for the 12th floor button. There wasn’t one. I realized there was only odd numbers, ‘this isn’t our elevator’ I yelled to my father as I made a push for the door. As the 2 of us spilled out into the hallway, I started looking for a sign to tell us which elevator we should be on. I looked at the security guard and said ’12’, he gestured to the opposite of which we had just boarded.
As we ride the correct elevator up to our floor, one of our fellow passengers needs to get off on the 10th. As the doors begin to open I expect to see something like a shitty Holiday Inn, maybe a shady motel from Chilliwack. What was on the 10th straight out of a Saw movie. Wall to wall, and floor to ceiling tiles giving it an industrial appearence. Flickering florescent bulbs, stacks of random boxes in the hallway. A rats nets of cables running across the roof that looks somewhat similar to the back of my stereo cabinet, times 100. ‘dear god, I hope our floor is better then this’ I think to myself.
Turns out floor 12 is far better than floor 10. As we enter the guest house we find a typical elderly Chinese clerk attendant at a desk. 4 feet tall, 100lbs, well past the age of retirement with a mole and a long grey hair growing from it. ‘gagne, party of 2’ says my father. The man holds out his clipboard with a hand written list of names expecting us to point out ours, but it wasn’t there. ‘gagne, party of 2’ my father repeats. The page flips and the expression on the clerks face was that of ‘maybe here’. Still no. I let out a chuckle. We toss the reservation confirmation from asiarooms.com on the desk. The clerk picks up the phone and speaks to someone in a dialect neither of us have a chance at understanding. He hangs up and tells us ‘sit, manager come soon’. My father does not look amused.
The manager walks in, a lady by the name of Ms Lee (I suspect her real name is something other than Lee), ‘we have a suite for you in another building’ she says and motions for us to follow her. As we wait for the same decrepid elevator to take us back to the lobby, my father jokes ‘moving us to the penthouse?’. She replies ‘ya’, both of us knowing she has no idea what he just said we break out in laughter. I look at him and say ‘we aren’t on a trip, we are on an adventure’, he has no reply.
As we enter floor 8 of a building a half block away from the first, things seems a little better then before. This building has a proper entrance, the elevators are clearly marked, the overall appearence is not so sketchy.
As she opens the door to the suites, it looks quite similar to what you would see in a cruise ship. Wood panel covered walls, hallways about 8inches narrower then they need to be, the door of each seperate suite looks exactly the same (some even have the same number, with an additional one added in pen).
Suite #87 is the one we get. That’s an official 8, with a penned on 7. Whatever. As she opens the door my father says ‘atleast there is beds’. The suite itself is half the size of my bathroom back at home, but who cares. The beds are on either side of the room with a 18inch walk down the middle with a doorless cabinet at the end seperating them. The water closet is exactly that, a water closet. Ever been in a bathroom on a boat between 18 and 28 feet? Pretty much the same. Toilet, sink, shower head. You can do it all at the same time, if you’re a good multiple-tasker and hygene isn’t a big concern of yours.
We have a clean place to sleep, shower, and brush our teeth in the morning. It will suit our needs.
If you need me I’m at the New Kowloon Guest Houses, Suite 87 – #62 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. If you’re coming to visit I’d suggest calling first as it’s a little tricky to find, although I don’t have a phone so on second thought, just stay home.
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