“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
I’ve always wanted to visit Hong Kong. I’d heard from people that it was a crazy city, a vibrant city, a party city, and a perfect example of where East meets West in China. I was so excited for my city break – five days in Hong Kong AND I got to stay in a hotel – such unbelievable luxury after four months spent dragging my arse from hostel to hostel. And there’s a hair dryer. Did I mention the freaking hairdryer?!
The reality? I’m on day 2 and it has not stopped raining. Now, I’m English. I spent nine years battling the weather in Manchester and lost many an umbrella to the cause, but NOTHING compares to the crazy downpours and thunderstorms I’ve been caught up in recently. I’ve been sitting here in my hotel room (it’s only noon, and although I am still in my PJs, I am planning on leaving the room – I will not be defeated by the elements) waiting for Noah to float on by in his ark.
After optimistically donning a pair of shorts, a vest and a waterproof jacket (the “I’m English” mentality still holding strong) I headed down Nathan Street to the Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade and it was so muggy and warm that I took off the waterproof jacket and tied it around my waist.
And I was just looking around at the streets and buildings and complete chaos surrounding me when a furious torrent of rain was unleashed from the skies. It was basically like someone had got a bucket of water and chucked it over my head. After the initial shock, I shrugged it off, laughed at the host of locals who were running around screaming and looking for shelter like they’d never seen a thunderstorm before (in hindsight, these people had a point – hell hath no fury like a thunderstorm over Hong Kong). I carried on with my journey regardless of the screaming warning and headed merrily on my way to The Avenue of Stars, armed with my guidebook and trusty map. I made it down the promenade and managed to take some snaps of Hong Kong Island over the water.
I strolled down the Avenue of Stars unscathed, confident that the weather report was wrong, it wouldn’t rain all day, and was just climbing the stairs up to the Centenary Gardens when BAM! I guess I should have paid attention to the grey clouds looming ominously over Hong Kong Island. So I did the only thing I know how to do in a Wet Weather Crisis (WWC) and took myself for a beer.
The beer either gave me courage or made me stupid, because I decided that since I was already soaked, I may as well continue sightseeing, besides the rain had stopped. I’d be fine, right?
Er…wrong. I made my way to the Clock Tower and managed to take a couple of pictures before my ears filled with the familiar screams of warning and this time I listened and hot-footed it to some shelter.
So the rest of my day pretty much went in the fashion: it rained, I hid in a bus shelter making small talk with a friendly local man, I walked some more to the subway, the skies opened again, I hid in a bus shelter made small talk with a local woman, my map got wet, I got lost, it rained.
It took me half an hour to walk the five minutes back to Nathan Road but by the time I got there the rain had let up and I was able to make it around Kowloon Park relatively unscathed, and take some pictures of the Avenue of Comic Stars which was so wonderfully random.
The plan for the evening was to go to the Temple Street Market to grab dinner but after squelching over to the next street in my sodden trainers, I realised that the market was empty and a complete washout so ended up grabbing some noodles and heading back to the hotel for an early night.
The sleep was needed as I still felt pretty messed up from the long journey but I woke up to a message from a friend of a friend who was urging me to go out in HK that night with her and her friends. Dammit! Luckily, I should be meeting up with her tomorrow for some sight seeing (weather permitting).
So the moral of the story?
- Travelling is EXACTLY like real life, because it is still REAL LIFE.
- The weather will sometimes be terrible (although four consecutive days of rain is a bit much, Hong Kong – get your shit together!)
- You will definitely miss text messages about impromptu nights out because flying through three different time zones in 48 hours will mess with your party senses and you will crave sleep
- Sometimes messing up your flights/changing plans etc. can work in your favour. I get to come back to Hong Kong for six days before I go back to the UK and hopefully the weather will be better. I don’t see the point in me rushing around trying to see everything now – when the end of the world seems to be unleashing itself in water form upon the place – so I may as well leave HK island until June.
- Sometimes its a good idea to heed the advice from the weather report. It could be right.