Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Hong Kong Experience! - Part 2

Day 5 - Tuesday 11 July

Me and Eddie got up early (a real miracle for Eddie! heh heh heh!), and we joined Mac and Jenny for breakfast at a nearby restaurant in the shopping complex. And of course, it was a great opportunity to hang with them, and hear stories. Of course, we talked about pretty much what happened AFTER the concert, and stuff like that.

After that, we all checked out of the hotel, and the rest of the band went to the airport to go home, while me and Eddie stayed on for another two nights. We housed ourselves at Stanford Hotel at Mongkok (quite a decent hotel, not that cheap either). And I think we did the right choice (and also the most economically, value-for-money option) in choosing that hotel there. Mongkok is such a happening spot in Kowloon with lots of little shops and flea markets at night.

That night we walked around Tsim Sha Tsui. It was quite a packed area, and we checked out different spots in town such as Kowloon Park, the Arena of Stars (it's a walkway where you might see some celebrities, and also an awesome view of HK Island), the Harbour Front (where you take the ferry to the island), and different shopping complexes around the area. We even checked out the biggest music retailer in HK, Tom Lee Music. They were selling lots of nice stuff, even for woodwinds, and I was already eyeing a few items I wanted to buy.

Did I mention it was frickin' hot.. even in the evening? We were walking like for over eight hours, I think. Our legs and feet were just so wasted!!

Mongkok has a nice scene at night, when all the flea markets open, and you could check out a lot of good buys. Oh yeah, it's shopping season in Hong Kong right now.. Shopping Festival with lots of sales! And when they say SALE, they really mean SALE! Unlike KL, where the Malaysia Sales Festival only involves getting rid of old (usually lousy) stock, in HK they sell off good stocks, a lot of them also very recent in design, etc. We bought a few tees in Giordano and Bossini, which would've cost much more in KL.

Day 6 - Wednesday 12 July

We were supposed to wake up early to cover quite a few places but ended up waking up close to afternoon. Me and Eddie split, as he went to North Point (in HK Island) to go to a music shop (specializing in trumpets), while I headed to Tom Lee to buy some saxophone accessories (stuff I cannot find here in KL, or even in Singapore). Then I met up with HK Jazz Association President, Peter Lee for lunch. He gave me some contacts of HK jazz musicians, who I could call up and check out.

After that I rendezvous-ed with Eddie at Causeway Bay, Times Square Shopping Complex on the Island. We met up at Starbucks Coffee to sit down and rest to recover from that heat and walking. Interestingly, we stumbled across a fellow Malaysian trumpet player friend Wei Lun, who's in HK to do a show with a choir he's joined. After that we headed to North Point again to check out the trumpet place and I got some reeds, and Eddie got another trumpet mouthpiece.

Next I headed to Tsim Sha Tsui again to check out a local sax player who was playing at the Intercontinental Hotel, but unfortunately, I didn't get to meet him. I had mistaken his number, so I think I ended up trying to message and call someone else (luckily that person didn't pick up the phone!). Eddie then rendezvous-ed with me and we headed back to Mongkok to our hotel to freshen up and eat dinner. We also walked along the Ladies' Street or Lui Yan Kai in Chinese. It was basicaly a street-long flea market (something like Petaling St), and I got a whole bunch of nice Hong Kong t-shirts.

Eddie continued his exploration around Mongkok while I headed back to HK Island to the Central area, where places like Lan Kwai Fong are located. I went to check out a jazz club called Gecko, which Peter recommended earlier that afternoon. Amazingly, it was located in a small little alley lane, and I would've missed it if I didn't see the sign. Checked out this piano player cat, called Jason Leong, as well as a bass player I met about 13 years ago when he backed Eric Marienthal when they came down to KL to play, by the name of Paul Candelaria. The place was even smaller than No Black Tie, and it was packed to the brim. I sat in for a couple of tunes. It was back to the hotel after that.

Day 7 - Thursday 13 July

Woke up early to do some last minute shopping around Mongkok - got two G2000 shirts for about HK$195 each, and a 3 Giordano boxers for HK$100. Very nice and cheap! Quite a miracle for us (and especiallyy Eddie) to wake up so early! LOL!

After that it was packing our remainder of stuff and heading to the Airport. We went by a direct train line to the airport (similar to our ERL). Oh yeah, on the way to the airport, there was this long stretch of running track, and we saw this bloke running in the middle of the afternoon! Crazy fella! But the jogging track was interesting! Too bad I didn't get a chance to run on it! LOL!

Then in was an uneventful trip back home!

Home sweet home!

That was it... pictures on the way!

UPDATE: Yes, we also met fellow musician and gila perv fella cum violinist Fung Chern Hwei (LOL!!) at HK Airport on the way back, while waiting for our flight! He was on transit to LA for his one-month music workshop at the Henry Mancini Institute, and then back to New York to continue his studies. Just had enough time to chat a bit, and take some pics! See you in New York bro..

PS: Happy now, Mr. Fung? hehehehe... don't cry yah?

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