ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘game center’

It may be Asia, but it certainly doesn’t cost it!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

It’s funny really, a year or so ago when I first went to Hong Kong, I believed it to be a fantastic place with super low prices. Indeed, I was considering moving here - tech heaven as it were.

Last December I returned, again, I also thought it was a good place, though the prices seemed a little higher this time.

And now let’s roll into now … after living in Taiwan for almost a year, a return to the Tech Island and what do we think?

OH MY GOD IT’S EXPENSIVE HERE!

It’s funny really how everything is put into perspective. Living in Japan made me believe that prices in Asia were almost on-par with the UK (albiet a little cheaper), technology certainly wasn’t cheap there - which was why coming to Hong Kong was also a refreshing change.

But alas, Taiwan has really blown that magic out of the water. No longer is HK the place to come to buy cheap electrical items, hell, I can get them cheaper at the electronics store next to my house (AND it’s a chain store!!).

Going out for food too … yikes! Walking around last night, I wanted to go back to the Indian I found so favourable last christmas. I remembered the location well enough, up the big hill - and indeed there it was. What I hadn’t remembered so well however was the sky high pricing - 3 pounds 50 for a curry and chips, plus 70p for a can of sprite .. WTF?!?

Maybe I’m just being spoilt living in Taiwan (ha, never thought I’d say that!) - but what I do know is, coming back home is going to be a reality check and a half (just how much is a London bus these days anyway, I’m sure it’s not going to beat the 22p of Taipei!)

Actually, just to end this on a happy note - I’m delighted to inform you all that the game centers haven’t increased in price - thus I’m still able to go and play all the latest games for a mere 6p a shot …. bliss!

(That reminds me, it’s still 16 HKD to the pound - impressive seeing as everywhere else in Asia the pound has crashed - the poor pound vs TWD rate dropped from 67 to a miserable 60!! Although that in itself is a bit of good news, it was 58 at one point!!!)

Goodbye fair maiden!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

So today was my last “proper” full day in HK and I had decided to use it to try and find Tom’s camera as well as look for Aunties DVD player.

I’d been given a list of model numbers, so I spent a couple of hours wandering around the TST area popping in and out of the electronic shops with my shopping list. It wasn’t as simple as just window shopping you see, as the places in HK don’t have prices - you need to go in and ask about each individual item … pah!

After getting a few prices (the models were somewhat old) I made my way to the Macau restaurant from the other day to settle down for lunch. This time, I picked a rather tasty beef looking dish which seemed to have sausage too - it was a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay, but hey, what the hell! :)

When it arrived however, it was obvious why it had cost so much - it wasn’t your standard beef rice dish, rather a whole massive plate of just beef - combined with a whole massive plate of rice as a side dish. Absolutely delicious and far, far too big for just myself to eat. I only wish I could have taken a photo of it, but as I was sharing a table with a Hong Kong couple, I didn’t want to look like a complete tourist!

Dinner finished, it only made common sense to head back to the Game Center - I mean, if I’m going to be in Hong Kong, I should make the most of their culture, right?

After an enjoyable few hours in arcade heaven, it had come to get dark which meant I was now greeted with the most wonderful of sights - Hong Kong Harbour at night time, COMPLETE, with christmas decorations. Now you may be thinking, well so what, why are you so excited about some decorations?

Let me tell you - I have never seen decorations quite like these. As you may remember from previous posts, I put up some photos of the skyscrapers that could be seen across the bay, even then I commented on how great they looked. Well, come night time, they undergo an amazing transformation - they are covered from top to bottom in christmas lights! Yes - you read that correctly, whole skyscrapers are lit up, like, well excuse the pun, a christmas tree! I’ll try and attach a video for you to see (my rubbish camera couldn’t take any photos of them) - but be warned, it is 33 megabytes!

Hong Kong Harbour Christmas Lights at Night

There was also a nice little “Christmas Parade” type affair that led you into the shopping mall (cunning) - I know it’s only a little walkway, but believe me, with the decorations I’ve seen over the last few years - this was totally fantastic :)

Hong Kong Christmas

To round of my last proper night in Hong Kong, I then went for what any self respecting Englishman would - a curry , but with a twist - swapping out the plain old rice - I managed to get stuck into a rather nice Chicken Tikka Masala and Chips … I had a few looks I can tell you, but, to hell with them - it tasted fantastic :)

That all done, it was back to the hotel to get my packing all done (not difficult seeing as I only had 3 days worth of clothes!) and wait up until 12:50am when I could “check in” to my plane. I must admit, I was quite excited about this, as I’d never used an online checkin before - so made sure I had the internet loaded up and was ready on the dot of 12:50.

I guess it’s old news to a load of you now, but for me … wow! For people who haven’t had the experience of this before, let me explain and you shall be amazed (well, maybe not, but I certainly was). 24 hours before your flight is due to take off, the seat plane becomes available online, so you can actually choose your exact seat, just by pointing a clicking with your mouse! No more trying to get there hours early to claim a decent seat :)

I was lucky to be the first person to log in, thus I had run of the whole plane! Unfortunately the seating plan wasn’t really detailed, so it was hard to work out where the emergency exits were - but I’d reckoned I’d cracked it and thus my seat was booked and I could go to bed :)

The next morning, I amazed myself by actually waking up when I planed to - 10:15 to be precise (I know, how early is that?!?!) - quickly got ready - and was all packed up ready to check out by 10:40 … pants - meaning I could have had an extra hour in bed :)

Checking out was a simple affair, they gave me back my deposit with no fuss and allowed me to put my luggage in the back room, meaning I was “suitcase” free for the day and thus wasn’t going to be tied down to sitting in a coffee shop just waiting for a plane.

Indeed, this was a good thing - as now I was free to go and find dad’s friend Jamie, who ran a load of clubs in Lan Kwai Fong - and who I had missed meeting up with last time I was there. However, once again, it just wasn’t to be - on arriving at his restaurant, I was to find out that unfortunately he was on his winter holiday and wouldn’t be back until the day AFTER I left!! Doh!

That put a bit of a spanner in the works as far as the afternoon went (as I hadn’t really planned much else) - but then I suddenly remembered about the mountain skyrail system and that it was one of THE things you should do when you go to Hong Kong.

It wasn’t tricky to get to (just a long long way) so soon I was sat on a train, heading right out of the city and into the countryside (litterally - the city itself is quite small). The weather was pretty good too, so it was great to see the scenary - starting with the outskirts of the town and the massive residential tower blocks, before they melted away and green pastures and mountains were all you could see :)

On arrival at the skyrail station, I was trying to find which exit to use when I noticed a big sign with a photo of the cablecar on it …. heading over for further information, I was then dismayed to find out that the whole system was closed for repairs … apparently one of the cars had fallen off over the mountain a few months before… :eek:

So, when one finds themself in any situation like this, with no plans about what to do - what should be done? Why - go back to the game center of course ;) Thus once again, I spent a happy afternoon playing videogames at hardly any cost .. hurrah!

I couldn’t stay all night though, as I had already planned to meet Moffy and her friends at 7:30 for dinner - meeting first at Exit A of TST station. In true form, I left it all to the last minute, to then find out exit A was miles down the other end of the station (in fact there were TWO exit As - A1 and A2) - ensuring that I arrived 10 minutes or so late…. doh!

Moffy then introduced me to her friends Rainbow and Yuki and we went off to dinner to a “mixed food” place just up the road. Rather amusingly, the menu was all in Chinese (well, maybe obviously) - but no one quite had enough vocabulary to be able to translate! Thus a range of random things were ordered (with everyone telling me “but they are very good!”) - luckily, all was well and it was a very nice meal .. well done girls!

So here you go, my Hong Kong pals :) Moffy is the girl next to me and Rainbow is on the left of Yuki … “hello!”

Me and MoffyRainbow and Yuki

The meal over, all that was left to do was go and collect my suitcase from the hotel then say a fond farewell to my new friends before hopping on the train to the airport, go to the online checkin counter, be given my boarding card … then hopping on the plane which would lead me back home ……

England awaits me!