It’s where all the tourists stayed. Apparently. Kowloon was a thirty minute bus ride from the airport, my destination was Mong Kok. There was nothing that could quite prepare you for the early morning explosion of people that this suburb offered. It was barely seven in the morning, yet people were swarming like it was the middle of the day.
As I headed towards my destination, it became apparent, rather quickly, that I was the only non Asian person it seemed in this district. Not only was the only non Asian person, I was also three foot taller than the tallest person I encountered. Something made me think that basketball wasn’t going to be their national sport.
The search for the hostel was interesting, dragging a bag in the market over spilling streets was a challenge, the people scurried around like they were late for a thousand appointments. Nothing could have been more important however than mine, trying to find a place that appeared to not exist. It was this point that I started to blame my troubles on the internet, just quite how you trust your life to a screen with a couple of pictures constantly amazed me. After a walk around the block, ten times, I finally found the entrance.
The Dragon Hostel was like a hidden underground hideaway for the most hidden underground people. There were no signs. Just a man sitting next to a lift. It was almost as if they didn’t want you to discover this secret hiding place. There were two lifts. Interesting. Well not that interesting. It was only interesting when I got into the left hand lift and realized it only went to even floors. Of course my floor was number seven. Just as I was debating the logistical reasons for having two odd and even floored lifts, I had arrived.
I had to double take. In the mist of local apartments with washing hanging attire and peoples front doors, there was a little sign, the ‘Dragon Hostel’. With a sense of relief that I had found this secret hideout, came a sense of ‘Umm interesting, I just hope there wasn’t a fire, knowing my luck the odd lift would be out of order’.
The walk around Mong Kok provided some interesting points of analysis. It seemed, all people around here ate dead cats, or liked to think they did. Along with the hanging rats in the shops, the smell of fish consumed the road. It was kind of like being in any China Town you had ever been to in the world, just a little bit more Chinese.
Another thought soon drifted into my head. People here really don’t like to sit down. There were no places to sit. Anywhere. After a three hour walk, sometimes a seat can be good for the legs. Maybe these people were too bust hurrying everywhere to think about sitting down. As I walked past the hospital I noticed that the are was on Blue Alert, apparently there was a risk of Avian Flu. I walked past a few masked locals and then thought that I maybe I shouldn’t hang out by the hospital anymore.
So, after hours on my feet, with no seat in sight, I had an idea. The cinema. There were two choices, risk an incredibly poor film in Mandarin or alike, or risk catching Avain Flu. After weighing up the pros and cons of both, I elected to take whatever film they would throw at me. I looked at the picture of the film. “Paparrazi’. Well, it sounded poor. It’s amazing how the title of film can be so off putting. In fact, I thought of the worst films that I had ever seen and came to the same conclusion. All had poor titles. There was ‘Wolf’, ‘Van Halsen’. And now there was Paparazzi. It had a picture of Mel Gibson on the cover. Was that just a ploy? I spent five minutes trying to choose my seat on their electronic seat display, I could help but think it was a pointless exercise, after all, it was twelve thirty, and they were showing ‘Paparazzi’.
As I entered the cinema one thing was certain. I was glad I had choose my seat carefully. The cinema was empty. Just like film names being a good indicator of a films quality, so was the opening credits. It took all of five minutes to confirm the review that I later read that this film only just got one star. Maybe I was being a bit harsh. Mel Gibson did make an appearance. For five seconds. I felt cheated. How could someone who is the main person on the poster only be in a film for five minutes? Before I could get too angry, the film had finished. It was brilliant in the end. I had managed to get somewhere to sit for nearly two hours.