I heard about this tournament in Shenzhen, China a few months ago…and now I am in Hong Kong. Tennis not only is the sport of a lifetime but can lead to traveling the world and making friends around the globe.
All photos: https://goo.gl/photos/dt6Fcogn5uzBmeWb6
After looking at a map and figuring out where Shenzhen is located (just north of Hong Kong as it turns out) and figuring out logistics, I decided to play the tournament. I’ve never been to mainland China, which to me seems exotic and much more foreign than Europe or South America or even Turkey. I got my visa, my plane ticket and here I am. Apparently it’s still typhoon season here too…
Lily Wong from Hong Kong messaged me before the tournament. She lived for 14 years in California and had seen me play in her area years back with a mutual friend. Small world! She’s playing also in Shenzhen and is maybe more of a tennis fanatic about tennis than I am which is saying a lot! She met me at the airport and we took the train into the city. It was a really nice train and pretty empty. Then we took a taxi to my hotel.
We arranged to play tennis the next day, weather permitting, but when I woke up this was what the weather looked like:
Lily has this app on her phone which shows the availability of all public courts in Hong Kong. They can be booked 10 days in advance, it’s very cool. It was raining the next day (the remnant of a typhoon…actually it was pouring!) but somehow Lily managed to book an indoor public court. After I found the MTR station we took it to a stop near the tennis facility and then waited for a cab…taxis in the rain are always difficult to find. This facility we played in had badminton, one tennis court (lined also with basketball lines) and a some serious ping pong players. The court was glass fast. It was sort of a plastic and also a bit slippery. But we had a good workout before going sight seeing.
This is what I learned on Wednesday about Hong Kong:
- It rains A LOT, which is why the areas not covered by buildings are so green
- There are a lot of really tall buildings
- Every MTR stop seems to have a gorgeous multi story mall and a lot of escalators
- Buy an Octopus card. It’s sort of like the London Oyster card but if you load it with a little extra cash it can also be used to buy stuff at 7-11, Circle K etc…no need to scramble for change when buying things
- Real estate is insanely expensive; the closer to the MTR the more expensive
- The food is really good
After lunch (at a mall of course), we wandered through the supermarket there before sightseeing.
Lily took me to the “Ladies Market” which is sort of like a street flea market, lots of t-shirts, souvenirs, purses, etc. We also went down one of the streets that had a “wet market” which means fresh meats, vegetables, fruit etc., sort of like a farmer’s market. All were bustling. The red fruit is dragon fruit.
It was pouring…I got soaking wet several times despite having an umbrella. We finally got a bus to the Hong Kong History Museum, which had the advantage of being out of the rain (though going into an air conditioned building soaking wet is not a way to warm up). The museum was interesting, and had some cultural exhibits and mock up buildings from the 1800s and 1900s. When we exited most of the rain had gone.
We went down to the waterfront by Causeway Bay where the views were very nice, then took a ferry to Kowloon where we had dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. It’s in a mall (of course) and has a Michelin star…despite the Michelin rating, it’s not expensive, about USD$10 for a good meal. We waited in line then were directed to a shared table…all tables are shared. We ordered and quickly had our meal delivered.
The last thing we did was to go up The Sky 100 (the sort of square building above), which is about 100 stories high. The views were nice and the rain had cleared out, but unfortunately the windows were still spattered with rain. Still, Hong Kong at night is pretty impressive.
And that was the end of Day 1 in Hong Kong.I was so tired at the end that I fell asleep on the subway and we were only on it for one stop! Thank you Lily for showing me around!