February 19, 2016 by Soo Ee
Race: Bonaqua LIFEPROOF Sprint
Venue: Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
Date: 14 February 2016
1. No data
I wanted to write about my adventure in Hong Kong without data. I thought I could. I thought why not? It could be fun looking for free wifi. It was going to be like going back to basics. I was so in total self denial. Even here in Singapore, I was so dependent on Google map. What made me thought I could survive overseas without it baffled me. Most places required me to purchase a merchandise and in return a password on the receipt. So clever. I had to buy coffee when I arrived at Pacific coffee in order to retrieve my host’s address which I stupidly didn’t record down prior to the trip. l was lucky I managed to use my auto roam to call my host. It almost became a possibility I had to spend time at a hotel instead if I was not able to retrieve my host’s apartment or get a data card.
Buy a data card. Having no data is a pain in the ass.
2. Light luggage
I probably haven’t grasp the ideology of traveling light. I had in my bag a set of clothes for running, a set for bed time and a set for ’emergencies’. I had toiletries made out of facial wash, moisturisers for face and body, eye drops, hair wax, tooth paste and toothbrush. My spiky ball. Two jackets, one fleece jacket, one thinner long sleeved running tee. one thicker for if its cold. Should have asked a student who got back from HK just this week what’s the climate like. Too much clothes.
Learn to do only one set of clothes for run, one set for sleep wear and the same set going and coming back to Singapore.
3. At the airport
From when I arrived, weather looked dreary and looked like it was about to rain but not cold. I hope it wouldn’t rain on the morning of the run. I don’t fear running in the rain. I’d be extremely disappointed if the race was cancelled. I fear being wet and cold on a hill top. Really cold. Took the Express train to the city. 100hkd. Think that’s about $18 sgd. I was tempted by a1 bakery at the airport but I wasn’t exactly hungry so I told myself not to be greedy and to save my stomach for better and cheaper food in the city.
Use the Express train, bring an umbrella and eat outside the airport.
4. Lost in Hong Kong
It wasn’t fun getting lost in HK. Walking up and down the sloppy roads carrying my luggage. To my horror, my host’s apartment was just beside the place the cabby dropped me but I walked for about a km out and back with my luggage searching for her place. Though the wifi I got from buying a cup of macchiato at Pacific coffee (3.10 sgd and so good for a lack of sleep) worked and I googled, the apartment numbers were so very misleading. I landed a km away from where I was suppose to be at and I was using Google map to navigate.
Be prepared to walk.
5. Speak Cantonese
I practised my Cantonese ordering desert, and to another guy enquiring about the train to the city and he switched to English and looked very annoyed, obviously because my canto sucked and he was pissed I thought he didn’t understand EL.
Don’t misunderstand me. I just want to practise my cantonese.
6. Dim Sum
Went to eat at 楼香莲 famous cha Chan Teng. Crowded. I bet half of the peole there were locals the other half toursist. When the carts came, everyone dashed forward towards the servers like they were sending out winning numbers for the weekend toto. Not too bad though. Atmosphere was kind of authentic – kettles of water boiling besides the table, push carts of food, grumpy rude servers, old chinese people handing out red packets because it is still CNY. I was fortunate I got ushered to sit at a table with this old lady. She must be a regular. She was giving out ang baos to the staff and of cos they treated her like a queen, with her own kettle of boiling water. I asked about her tea (in Cantonese) what tea was it. Bo something or something bo then she said 水清茶美 (in cantonese and I UNDERSTOOD) I ate this black moss, chicken and mushroom dish which she says was only available during cny. I know black moss is called 发菜 which has the same sound as 发 as in grow.
The lady kept asking the servers for 猪手 but they sold out. Even the Chef knows her cos he came out to say hello. An old Uncle at another table came in and tho not as ‘properly received’ as the old lady, he silently handed out red packets to some of the staff.
Went to another place after the cha chan teng. Tsui Wah. I watched a man order a healthy breakfast set of egg white and whole meal bun for lunch. Then I saw a plate of maggie like pork ribs noodles come in. “So much?” I thought to myself before I discovered it was actually a set! SO MUCH FOOD!
Endure cha Chan Teng rudeness for the food.
Started the morning at repulse Bay a little too early. Way too early. I left the house at 6am to make the trip for the race at the Bay, hopped into a cab and arrived 15 minutes later. I totally forgotten that HK is an island which is smaller than sg and probably you can reach one end to the other on foot. Too many travels to big ass places. Hong Kong is small. Don’t kan cheong.
Weather was not cold or not yet but without sun. Weather still gloomy. Should have left my outer wear at the house. Now besides the pouch with my passport this phone my currencies GoPro I have to carry this sweater. Bah.
Do you know why the elderlies in HK are so freaking strong ? A group of elderlies headed out to the beach in their swim wear, without the sun in sight and though it’s not freakishly cold the water will be cold enough to freeze any ass that ventured into it. I saw a woman naked running from the beach with her clothes to the showers. I thought how could tat be possible, here in HK? No laaaaa.. until I saw a black moss like patch from my distance of about 50m away.
Surprisingly feels colder as the morning progressed. Temperature according to the clock cum thermometer, about 21 degree at 07:09. Foggy on the beach. More elderlies are coming in. To swim I think.
Swim in cold water early in the morning to be strong like them.
Running on trails
Legs were lactic maxed. Roads were narrow. Such an irony that I ran uphill faster than down. I could easily overtake anyone running uphill in front of me because the faster runners would usually be way ahead in front but when I entered the down hill phase, everyone took over me going swoosh. I blame my ankle and knee for this. They just have to wait for the part where I can easily go at an easier but faster pace to start their nonsense. This trail run at repulse Bay was officially my first overseas trail race.
Learn to be one with trails.
More Cantonese speak
I spent the morning after the run at luk yu which was too sterile, no sharing of tables and too similar to the chinese eating places in SG. Dim sum was way too ex and the place too fancy for the staff to be this rude. 6 plates of Dim sum plus tea came out to be about 300++ hkd that worked out to be about $18×3 ++ sgd not worth it though got to admit the ingredients used were superior quality (the prawns, the pork) . Staff wasn’t very helpful when I asked what was signature. Again, must be my weirdly accented canto. Then something happened, a guy (could be the manager) wanted to sit me near the toilet “no more seat” he said. “I said no way I’m not sitting near a toilet. Can I sit there instead?” Pointing to a nearby table one table away from the toilet direct one. He repeated “no more seats.” I said “I sit there for a while only.” He relented. And the negotiation happened with my limited cantonese. I was so proud. Chris would be so proud. Maybe that’s the way to get what you want in HK. To celebrate and because I didn’t bring enough cash thinking I would be going back to the house first, I scrutinised the menu and looked for familiar words like ‘虾’ ‘包’ 叉烧’ ‘卷”酥’ In the end I almost got what I wanted with the exception of the ginger century egg thingy (which I didn’t know what it was from the menu). I got the egg tarts, the pork pastries.
Get someone to decipher the menu before hitting the dim sum places.
Secondhand book shops
Wanted to go Kubrick, this really cool book store that was a cafe and a cinema but realised it was in in Kowloon. Another time. Went to book smart or smart book , a second hand bookstore. If I ever want a book that is second hand that was the place to go to. Mountains of books and I saw a few recent titles there. Went back to Tsiu Wah (the place after dim sum after the morning run at repulse Bay, where I saw the man order the egg white bfast) for a cup of milk te. I didn’t get to drink much of yesterday’s cos it was too late in the day and though I took away I didn’t want to risk stomach upset by drinking overnight milk tea. The tea was good. According to them they use Ceylon tea with the condensed milk. Strong tea with milk makes a lot of sense.
Arrived back in Singapore . No V day surprise ‘we came to pick you up! SURPRISE!’ welcome. Bah. There was a cab line jam so I had to take a train out of Changi back to TPY but train service to the west side had halted (cos it was too late) so I had to take a cab from Tanah Merah.
Refer to this for future out of Singapore weekend trips
1. Take train to Tanah Merah to cab cheaper.
2. First time taking Uber. The experience was not bad. It was a non cab.
Mountain tortoise me.
3. Future late flight back, must arrange for mickey to be fed so can stay over at Tpy.
5. Prepare two bags, one to bring overseas and dump once back in singapore and one to bring for work the next morning.
6. Put an extra set of work clothes in the car.