I-9: Lantau Island - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

November 28, 2019

I-9: Lantau Island

If every city in China had hotel rooms like the one I stayed in in Chungking Mansion, I would be a very happy cyclist. The air conditioner (an old style in-window variety) provides enough white noise that I hear nothing from outside my room (not that I'd have heard much with the 'window' being an air shaft). It's cool, it's dark, and if the bed is so close to the same size as the room that my bike fills all available floor space, so be it.

This is what I want in a hotel room.

A place to sleep. A place to shit. A place to shower.

It's dark, climate controlled, has room enough to store my belongings, and a wifi signal. Combined with the amazing selection of food downstairs, what more could a person possibly need?

I wouldn't have thought that yesterday's short ride (on top of the day before yesterday's short ride) was enough of a ride to tire me out but the quiet darkness of my room means that I sleep late enough that if a deposit had been paid on the room and if occupancy rates weren't affected by the protests, they'd probably insist on paying for late checkout.

Ordinarily, I might think that I'd slept this late because I'd stayed up late, however, the China/US outlet on the headboard was discovered to not work just shy of midnight and, lacking a way to recharge, I had been careful not to run my devices down and had promptly gone to sleep like a good girl.

One downside to staying in Chungking Mansion as a touring cyclist is getting your bike out in the morning. The elevators aren't very big and are often quite crowded. Perhaps because the morning is already noon, I only have to wait two rounds of elevator doors opening and closing before I get one I can take.

After some minor frustration with getting my Hong Kong roaming to start working again, I circle the area a few times before settling on Turkish kebab and a feta salad for brunch. They take my phone and USB and plug it in for me but the battery level is about the same (or possibly less) when I get it back so I don't think whatever they plugged it in to worked.

To further add to my day's frustration, the stove canister of gas runs out in the middle of making a pot of coffee. I have a refill canister but it's not in a convenient location.

Find the ferry to Central and then the ferry to Lantau Island. Successfully navigate traffic without being killed. Buy a travel plug that lets me plug my China devices into a Hong Kong outlet. Fail to find anywhere I can plug in and end up using my laptop as a power bank to get my phone up over 40%. Discover that AliPayHK is not the same as AliPay and start worrying about money as well.

On Lantau Island, while waiting for my warmshowers' host, I end up at the Starbucks because they have a power outlet and they take American Express. I am to understand there are all sorts of potentially interesting things I could be seeing on this part of Lantau but it's a known landmark where my host can find me and I'm mentally wiped out by dealing with the little niggling things like powering a cell phone or buying a ferry ticket when I can't fucking read.

Practically everyone I know who has spent any amount of time in Mainland China and who isn't fluent in Mandarin thinks that Hong Kong is absolutely the bees knees. I've not had the chance to run this question by many people who are fluent in Mandarin (and literate in Simplified) so I don't know if it's just me, but all of my really really really wanting to enjoy this city is spoiled by the language barrier.

All these people (some of whom have lived in Hong Kong long enough to have Permanent Residency) who keep telling me "you don't need Cantonese to get along in the city" don't understand, it's not that I need to be able to read. I'll grant you, I know from visits to countries where I am completely deaf and dumb that I don't love being illiterate. It's that the words on the signs look like words and sometimes they even are words and they're words that ought to be readable and they aren't

So, yeah, holing up in Starbucks and not exploring the area sounds like an excellent idea to me.

Today's ride: 12 km (7 miles)
Total: 2,849 km (1,769 miles)

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