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Travel

THE ASIA SERIES: PART ONE

FROM HONG KONG WITH LOVE

Having never been to Asia, I have been anxiously awaiting this trip since my best friend Robert and I booked it seven months ago. With a great group in tow, my friends and I departed from Los Angeles via Cathway Pacific headed for our first stop, Hong Kong. Now I have done more than my fair share of long-haul flights, from Dubai to 24 hours straight to South Africa, but there was something about this 16-hour flight that while direct, was extremely tedious. Having quick-witted friends, like Ashley, to entertain me as Rob slept helped the time go by. Of course getting some deep sleep would have been great, but I think my anticipation for experiencing a whole new part of the world made my brain race and there was no stopping it.

Once we arrived at Hong Kong International and were thankfully able to check into our rooms at the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel due to their great customer service, we quickly unpacked and waited for the rest of the gang to fly in, all the while soaking up all the amazing harbor views from our suite. When they arrived we immediately headed to Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan, which bizarrely is the cheapest restaurant in the world to have a Michelin Star. From there we did a bit of exploring before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner and take the Tram to Victoria’s Peak, which has a spectacular skyline view of Hong Kong. You can even see the building that Christian Bale jumped off of at the beginning of the Dark Knight, and being a lifelong Batman fan made this sight much more fun to take in. With the jet lag finally hitting the group and surprisingly myself, we settled into our suite, had room service for dinner and watched my favorite movie of the year Jackie. Natalie Portman was robbed of that Oscar.

The next day, since we went to bed so early, we were up at 5 am and at the gym catching the sunset on the stair master in a new city is invigorating. Upon returning to the room Logan declared he needed to go to Starbucks as he is an avid collector of their namesake city and country mugs. This Hong Kong mug will be the 30th to his collection and this trip will have been his 50th country he has visited, talk about rewards miles! After striking out at the nearest Starbucks, we took the Sky Bridge to the next closest location. During this walk, Logan informed me that Hong Kong is the only city in the whole world where you can traverse the entire city via Sky Bridge, and never have to walk on the street as a way to alleviate foot traffic. #FactsFromLogan. There will probably be many of those from this trip! We took the subway to Tartine for brunch, only to find it closed despite their stated hours on their website, but stumbled across an incredible brunch spot that had Nutella and banana bagels. Having a delightful surprise replace a disappointment is one of the delights of traveling.

We burned off our brunch with what turned out to be an eight-mile hike of the city enveloped by smog and clouds. We stopped by the Temple of the Goddess of The Sea, would stop and shop at random street vendors, but coolest of all we were able to experience Hong Kong’s world famous Jade Market. Walking through the endless aisles of beautiful stones and treasures made from these vibrant gems, was a sight in and of itself, I have a photo on my Instagram @MrBGB! I left with a beautiful custom made jade bracelet which required some serious negations, I walked away feeling like I got a deal. We took in the unbelievable beauty of 1881 Heritage, their shops ranging from Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Tiffany, and Bvlgari; ultimately ending up our day at the Ocean Canal, where all the cruise ships dock and had an amazing lunch at BLT Steak. Taking the subway back to our hotel, we reviewed our day in the beautiful jacuzzi, which we found out, that in fact it was the kid’s pool, and in hindsight it explains the funny looks we got! That evening was one of the most enjoyable I have had in a long time, starting out an atypical meal, Mexican food at The Brick House around the world in Asia! The area was formally the red-light district, now converted into the up and coming part of town. That night was amazing and oh so memorable, but in hindsight, it was only a precursor to what was to become of the rest of the trip. The following morning bright and early, the five of us departed for Bangkok, for what can only be described as an experience that has blown us away. Stay tuned to read about our adventures in Bangkok next!

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