A skyscraper-studded skyline and Disneyland are the two things that people most often associate with Hong Kong. Termed the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong turned out to be the place where some of my dreams were realised.
Accompanied by a few journalists, I took a train from the Hong Kong International Airport to Kowloon station. It was a wise decision to skip the red taxis and opt for a train as the high-rise hotel W Hong Kong was just five minutes away from the station.
Later, we hopped on to a train and then took to walking till we reached the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, where a lot of young couples were getting photographed in their wedding outfits.
Not in a white lacy gown, but we still went clickety-click in front of the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. The humidity level wasn’t high and so we enjoyed the cool breeze and the sunset. What was I thinking of’ A hot “pakoda” and masala tea.
My thoughts were interrupted by the Clock Tower. With no energy left to walk further, I just made the historical tower the background in some of my photos.
My excitement didn’t end with us wandering around an unknown place without a local to show us around. I was all set to watch the exclusive mind-bending 30 minutes of Marvel Studios’ superhero film “Doctor Strange”.
While the film’s star Benedict Cumberbatch set many hearts racing, I was more thrilled to shoot questions at Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige as I am an ardent fan of Marvel superheroes.
After a long chat on the future of superheroes like the Black Widow, I headed straight to Disneyland all by myself. Armed with a smile, I eagerly waited for the next train at the Kowloon station to the theme park. There weren’t any known faces, but I could spot a lot of Indians speaking in Hindi in Hong Kong, which mainly consists of Chinese.
My eyes gleamed with excitement and my feet automatically did the happy dance as I boarded the final train with elements of the loved Disney character Mickey Mouse.
Once I reached my destination, I found myself in a dilemma. Should I first get clicked with Donald Duck or take the rides’ Then I saw the Disney emporium. I went for one, but came out with a backpack stuffed with Disney-inspired products worth $700.
Then it was time for me to stuff myself with food. The ShellieMay’s pink banana shake had the adorable Disney bear (edible) sitting on top. It had the perfect combination of bananas, strawberry puree and milk.
I was a little doubtful about trying another chicken dish in Hong Kong as my past experiences weren’t great. But being a chicken addict, I gave it another shot and ordered barbecue chicken wing trio. The Thai chili, US barbecue and Chinese barbecue sauces gave the chicken wings the right balance of sweetness and spice.
Then I took a walk through a garden featuring classic Disney fairy tales as storybooks and later watched a group of men creating music with buckets.
As I walked towards the exit gate, I so wished a fairy would use a wand and bring my family to Disneyland.
Lost in my thoughts, I forgot where to deboard. And I thought Delhi metro station names like Ghitorni and Jhilmil were difficult to memorise.
My thoughts quickly converted from fairy tales to an episode of “Jailed Abroad” even though I had my documents with me and hadn’t indulged in anything illegal. Thankfully, some locals helped me reach the hotel safely.
That experience didn’t stop me from venturing out again. The popular Temple Street Night Market was my next stop. The vibrant market, beautified by neon signs, had numerous stalls where people bargained with sellers for watches, clothes, bags, home decor items, shoes, socks, toys and much more.
There were lots of outdoor eating joints too. I ordered a chicken claypot. Again, the strong smell put me off. But I could see others relishing pork and seafood dishes with local beer.
On my way back, I spotted the Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine. But I couldn’t dig into the food items inspired by the cute fictional character. I also wanted to pose like Bruce Lee and get myself clicked next to the late star’s statue at the Avenue of Stars. I guess I’ll have to return to “Asia’s world city” to fulfill my other dreams.
(Natalia Ningthoujam’s trip to Hong Kong was at the invitation of Disney India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Natalia Ningthoujam