Hong Kong was the starting point for our round the world trip and following Christmas celebrations we headed off for the 13 hour flight from London.
We were staying in a beachside hotel on Lantau Island, about a forty minute ferry journey from the piers on Hong Kong island. Perfectly located in a quiet area, yet the hustle and bustle of the city was a short ride away with the high skyscrapers bursting through the smog as we approached.
Our first couple of days were spent trying to pack in the sights of Hong Kong. Climbing the peak on the funicular tram gave us some amazing views back over Hong Kong and across the water to Kowloon. We were confused by the mixture of theme park rides and dolphin shows at Ocean Park in the suburb of Aberdeen before taking in the serenity of the Giant Buddha and Wisdom Path on Lantau Island.
However our time in Hong Kong will be remembered for two things, sickness and celebrations.
It seems Octopus disagrees with me
Around the corner from our hotel was a small family-run restaurant overlooking the bay and seemed an ideal place to have one of our first meals in Hong Kong.
Scanning the menu I'd opted for the Cantonese Beef so I was prepared for ordering as the waitress appeared. She began by suggesting the speciality of the day, octopus.
I think my screwed up face at just the sound of it may have offended her so despite my order of the beef dish what appeared was a bowl of rice sneakily concealing the octopus below.
I did try and managed to get through about half but I was to pay for it the next morning. Waking early to head out for another day of exploring I found myself hugging the toilet for most of the morning instead.
Needless to say I've avoided eating octopus since!
Running down the street of Hong Kong on New Year's Eve
Unfortunately the octopus incident happened on the morning of New Year's Eve so the day was mostly a write off. Yet that didn't deter me from wanting to ring in the New Year by joining in the celebrations on Hong Kong island.
We made our way into Lan Kwai Fong in the early evening where I was just about able to stomach some food and drinks.
Whilst in one of the areas many bars we met two guys, an aussie and a Irishman who became our drinking buddies for the evening.
Hong Kong is famous for its evening light show over the city and over Kowloon so we assumed that they would put on a special show at midnight that would include some fireworks so at around 11.30 we made our way out of Lan Kwai Fong which had now been made into a one way system and down towards the shoreline.
Along the way we enquired as to where would be best to see the show, only to be told by the obliging police officer that there was no show.
Having little time to get back into the long line of revellers heading into Lan Kwai Fong was hailed a nearby taxi and the four of us jumped in.
"Take us to the nearest bar" we frantically asked the driver as the clock hit 11.58.
As the seconds ticked away we sped down back streets until we pulled up outside a bar on an intersection. We quickly paid and all leapt from the car and ran into the bar to the cheer of "Happy New Year."
When I think of Hong Kong
Memories of a place are always about your experiences whilst there. Mine may not have been the usual ones of shopping in Kowloon markets or spending the evening at the Hong Kong racecourse but Hong Kong will always remind me of one thing.
Never eat octopus again.