I bought a ticket to Hong Kong to visit my friend from DC. She sent me the dates when she would be back home visiting her family. Because Korea works its employees like dogs, my vacation is predetermined and limited, meaning that I had to fit my trip into one weekend. Factoring in the the three-hour flight each way and the time it takes to get to the airport, I would be in Hong Kong for only about a day and a half. But now that my trip is done, I would love to forget a good portion of the short but messy time I spent there.
When I first arrived on Saturday morning, I headed straight to cable car station to go to the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island. There, I met up with Jamie (a new friend) who runs the blog Teaching Travel. You might have seen my post there.
It was nice to meet him in person after corresponding online for weeks. The weather that day was a bit cloudy but good. The Buddha and monastery were cool. Here are some pics:
After that, I went to my Airbnb, which I found out was in the middle-aged prostitute neighborhood. Super! I dropped my stuff off and headed to Victoria Peak to see HK’s skyline at night. It was foggy but whatever.
Although my DC friend had originally told me that she would arrive on Saturday like me, she then told me she would actually get in Sunday morning but we could hang out that day. So, I was expecting to spend most of my second day with her. Instead, on the way back to my Airbnb, I found out that my friend had given me the wrong dates completely, hadn’t realized it until I was already in Hong Kong and she wasn’t, and that we wouldn’t see each other at all. Why does shit like this always happen to me? Like, who buys a ticket to fly to another country to see their friend and their friend isn’t even there? How messed up is that?
That night, I ate shitty Chinese food and drank a big bottle of beer by myself and accepted the fact that this trip was a dud.
The next morning, I decided to make the most of things and hit up some markets and parks before my flight that night. I didn’t want to lug my bag around all day so I left it in a locker at a subway station.
I wasn’t feeling great on the subway. I’d had a sore throat (probably something I’d picked up from the gross kids I teach) and would have loved to sit down but all the seats were taken. I was seconds away from the station where I needed to change lines. I was planning to just take a seat at the station and see if I felt better. But, I didn’t make it that far.
All of a sudden, I woke up on the subway floor. I had apparently passed out and a couple of people were helping me off. This American lady was super nice. She went out of the station to get me something to drink and some hard candies for my throat. She told me she was on the way to church, so props to her for being a good Christian. A Filipina lady also gave me some crackers from her bag. Hallelujah even though I did not feel like eating them at all.
I must have sat there for at least 45 minutes before I worked up the energy and courage to try to stand up. I wandered out of the station, took a taxi to get my bag from the locker, and then took a taxi to the hospital because this didn’t feel like something I could just walk off.
There, I only had to pay 990 Hong Kong dollars (about $130) to be seen, much cheaper than it would have cost in the U.S. with no insurance. I was immediately given a surgical mask (a staple of Asian culture) because I had a fever. The doctor ordered a chest x-ray and blood tests for me, which came back normal. So, I was ultimately diagnosed with pharyngitis (yum) and given antibiotics as well as a few other OTC medicines.
I waited at the hospital pharmacy for maybe half an hour to see if I felt any better. I didn’t, but I finally made it to another taxi, which I took to the airport. My flight wasn’t until 1 a.m., and I got to airport around 5 p.m. All I wanted to do was lay down immediately and get home as fast as possible. I was so weak I couldn’t even stand in the check-in line. I had to sit down for more than hour before I finally asked for a wheelchair to the gate. First, the airline let me sit behind the counter with all the old people waiting for their wheelchairs. And then I was finally taken to the gate where I sprawled out over three seats until we boarded.
On the plane, I had a whole row to myself because the ladies checking me in felt sorry or were grossed out by me. So, I laid across the row and alternated between freezing and burning up. Towards the end of the flight, I had to pee really bad and I was actually worried about wetting my pants if I didn’t go before we landed. I felt so weak, but I forced myself up and stumbled to the bathroom. Once inside, I pretty much passed out while I sat on the toilet. I had to rush to get back to my seat though because we were basically landing. I woozily used the seat backs to guide myself back to my seat and embarrassingly ran my fingers through several people’s hair.
Once we landed, I was again wheeled through the terminal and then immediately got in a taxi home. I didn’t go into work that day even though sick leave does not exist in my contract.
So, a lot of my trip to Hong Kong sucked really hard. My friend who I went to visit gave me the wrong dates and wasn’t there AND I passed out on the subway and spent the rest of the day continuing to make a fool of myself around the city, airport, and on the flight home because I felt horribly ill.
But, because I’m an optimist (LOL), I know this situation could have turned out much worse. Here’s how:
- I could have had something more serious than a bacterial infection and had to stay in the hospital longer.
- I could have missed my flight.
- I could have had to pay a lot more money at the hospital.
- I could have shit/peed my pants or thrown up on someone on accident.
But in the end, I was alone and sick in a foreign country. It sucked and I’m mad at the world, but what’s new.