I think if you could speak, you’d try to dispel the assumptions made about you. One of the biggest which comes to mind is that you’re not a worthy holiday destination in yourself. A good proportion of people only visit you for a brief trip, often on a stopover on the way to the “real” destination, such as Hong Kong- which is primarily what this entry is about!
I understand where this assumption stems from- ignorance. Because I too was one of those people who never considered visiting, and had never really given a second thought to this country. Taiwan was never mentioned in school, I’d never met anyone from a Taiwanese background, and unfortunately I never sought out any further information myself. In fact, when a friend suggested we go, I held off until the last minute. If it weren’t for that trip I would have never discovered how incredible this country is, I would not be living here right now, I would have certainly never thought of studying Mandarin, and most tragically, I would have no reason to have this crazy blog!
Whilst we’re on the topic of assumptions, there’s one that I’m often on the receiving end of. That is, that I am without a doubt a 100% certified, money-back-guarantee extrovert. Case in point below:
I can see that from all appearances, I would fit the textbook example of an extrovert- I feel a surge of energy when I’m around people and I can pretty easily strike up a conversation with anything short of a wall. However the downside of being a human Engergizer Bunny is that I often feel completely spent. You wouldn’t know it, but sometimes I have to drag myself out of the house and tell myself to be social. Once I’m out, it’s fine, but I find myself more and more craving time just with myself so I can recharge and not be in a perpetual zombie state of exhaustion.
Moreover, I actually really enjoy going on solo outings. I don’t need to co-ordinate with anyone else, I can be as lazy or active as I want, and it pushes me to be more daring to try new things and open to meeting new people. Needless to say, spending at least a day alone when I’m on vacation is something I never regret.
On my third day in Hong Kong, I had to spend the day alone so I started off the day with a trip to Stanley. A 45 minute bus ride from Admiral Station, Stanley is a dramatic contrast to the big smoke of central Hong Kong. Known for being a relaxing coastal getaway, you can plan to spend a couple of hours, or even a night stay if you really want a proper break.
My trip to Stanley was quite spontaneous, so after I alighted the bus I didn’t have any plans. I started to stroll down one of the paths from the main road and it led me to a view of the coast. I stopped to take in the vastness the what was in front of me. The ocean stretched out every which way, and the waves calmly rocked to a gentle waltz. Walking along I was acutely aware of how quiet it was. There were only a few other people scattered on the boardwalk, so I had to make do with the company of me, myself and I.
I came to a cluster of rocks and like any time I see such a sight, I felt compelled to climb upon them. Looking out I realised this is exactly what I wanted.
It wasn’t a particularly spectacular sight, but it was nevertheless beautiful. I felt grateful that it gave me a place just to be, without any pressure to do anything, a place that I could just let down my hunched shoulders and unwind the ball of knotted strings in my head without any distractions.
If you do find yourself in Stanley, be sure to head over to the Tin Hau Temple for not only is it a breathtaking temple, it carries an amazing history.
The temple was founded in 1767 and is named after a sea-godness worshiped for her ability to rescue people in danger.
In 1942 the temple was hit by two Japanese bombs during the Japanese attack on Stanley. Remarkably both bombs did not explode, and by this miracle the people inside survived completely unharmed.
After walking around for a little longer I started to feel a little peckish, so I headed to the sweet underground cafe called Stanley Cave which had caught my eye on the walk over to the boardwalk.
Faced with the difficult choice of selecting just one from a delectable display of pastries, I settled on one of my favourites- an almond croissant. I wasn’t expecting much given the amount of touristy restaurants lining the boardwalk, but boy, was it absolutely wonderful.
I definitely recommend stopping in this cafe if you’re feeling a bit tired or hungry. They have a selection of sandwiches, coffees and other drinks too. I didn’t eat at any other the restaurants because they were all quite expensive and not too appealing to me. Plus they seemed to be targeted for tourists- the type of place I tend to avoid!
After a bit more of a walk around, I felt I had my Stanley fix and set back off to central Hong Kong.
I’ll stop my ramblings here for now because you must have had enough of me by now if you’ve managed to read to the end! Next entry I’ll tell you what I did with the other half of my day with Me, Myself and I.
Stay tuned for part two!