12. Did Hong Kong Invent AirBnB?

HK gives rough welcome but wins us over with Light Show.
Welcome to Your new destination: Hong Kong! This will be a very short stop, only two days, but we are confident that you will walk away with a good understanding of this beautiful city. As you may recall, we had just arrived in Hong Kong via train from Beijing, and noticed that the conductors do not change the linen in the compartments. We walked off the train feeling absolutely disgusted, and could not wait to get to the nearest shower☺.

Related Article: Hong Kong Introduction

Be prepared that rooms may vanish into thin air

We walked from the railway station to our hostel. As mentioned in the Hong Kong introduction article, the streets were extremely crowded and the temperature was over 40C. Be prepared for that when you are walking with huge backpacks.
The hostel was located close to Victoria Park, which is rather central, but then again, so is everything in HK. The man at the reception was obviously stoned or intoxicated, but very friendly and veeeeeeery talkative. He said that there were no rooms in the building (even though we had already paid for it), and that he would walk with us to another building where we would be staying as guests with an elderly man. Ok… Interesting… In times like this we have found that it is best to go with the flow☺.

Did the Hong Kong residents invent “Airbnb”?

The elderly man we were assigned to, did not speak any English. He had a main living room and kitchen, that were reserved for him, and three small rooms along a hallway, each suited with a bathroom and shower. The rooms had their own keys and we could lock them for privacy. All in all, it was pretty similar to the modern day Airbnb concept. But back then this was pretty much unheard of.
We found ourselves very amused by the whole situation, as this clearly was not a hotel/hostel (according to our booking), and we felt slightly guarded by the fact that we were living in someone else’s home. Of course, today we are frequent users of Airbnb and other similar services. Our 23 & 24-year-old selves, however, had never experienced this before. We were also not sure if we should inform the elderly man that the AC was broken and that the bed sheets had holes in them.
We decided not to say anything, and laid out our own towels as sheets. Covers were not needed as the temperature was 40C and we had no AC☺.

Overcrowding takes some getting used to

Previously, we had had concerns if two nights would be enough in HK, but at this point we were thinking that we made the right choice. Partly because we felt unsure of the living arrangements, but also because we were already exhausted from pushing our way through the densely crowded streets. The overcrowding really gets to you if you are not used to it. In later years, we have become more accustomed to these types of phenomenon. But if you are a first time traveler be prepared to rub against strangers on the streets and get soaked with their sweat. Just go with it.

Star Walk + Light Show

Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan on The Avenue of Stars

We purchased some food and had a wonderful picnic at Victoria Park, which is a rather large park between the skyscrapers, and one of the zone where you can actually move. People come there to walk their dogs, exercise, or just enjoy the day. Thereafter, we took the subway from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. From the famous Kowloon boardwalk, you can see a fierce light show (fierce at the time, today perhaps not so much). It was set up between the eight tallest buildings on Hong Kong Island. Today, these light shows are much more elaborate, accompanied with music, and coordinated with the boats on the river. We will revisit this light show in our next journey.
Thereafter, we walked all across the starwalk (The Avenue of Stars), where we compared hand prints with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Bruce Li. It was a very pleasant evening, and we got home pretty late.

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