Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home, sweet home

By this point, I was tired and sweaty enough to be relieved that it was time to check in to my hotel (rather stupidly, I hadn't switched out of the sweatpants I wore on the plane for comfort, and it was a moderately muggy 80-something degree day). So I retrieved my luggage and caught a cab. My hotel was between a five and ten minute ride away, partway up the mountainside in the Mid-Levels, an upscale residential area with lots of office types who work in Central below, a lot of them Western expats. My company had a really good rate there, or I'd probably have been in one of the fleabag youth hostels across the harbor in Kowloon.

Yes, it's called the Bishop Lei International House and yes, it's owned by the Catholic archdiocese of Hong Kong. You wouldn't know it aside from the name, though.

According to my fellow Hong Kong movie geek Tim, whom I met up with later in the trip, this also happens to be the preferred hotel of Patrick Lung Kong, an important HK filmmaker of the '60s and '70s, now retired and living in New York, where I've seen him the last couple summers at the NY Asian Film Festival.

Room 1904. This is most of the room right here in the picture below. It's small, even by HK hotel standards, but so am I.

Looking east. For significantly more money, I could have been on the north side with a view over Central and the harbor, but the economy view was pretty interesting, too. Just peeking out from behind the building on the left side, that tiny anvil wedge is the Peak Tower near the top of the mountain, which you'll see up close later.

Looking west. Yes, this is what a residential neighborhood on Hong Kong Island is like. When there's no more room on the ground, you go up.

This is the only picture I remembered to get of the bathroom. A couple HK friends told me they thought this was nonsense, but I decided to heed it anyway.

So I used the electric teapot they left me (no, I didn't make tea and cup noodles immediately upon checking in - these pictures were taken on a few different days during my stay).

But first I had to turn on the electricity in the room with my key.

I got a copy of the English-language daily, South China Morning Post, hanging on my doorknob every morning.

The fascinating, vaguely racist toothpaste I bought at a nearby store. No credit for guessing that the L used to be a K, and the toothy gentleman used to be a duskier hue.

Looking east from down on the street.

Down the block.


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