Slightly stuffed with Hello Kitty guts we take a walk around the area to get a general feel for Hong Kong. The place is highly westernized, with tall, illuminated sky scrapers and hoity toity shops and malls everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. Seems less friendly than Taiwan and less general courtesy, more business and less ‘real’.
But then we stumble upon Temple Street and this impression takes a step back. Temple Street seems to be where the traditional Asian culture still manages to hang on to its roots in contrast to the cold modern buildings and gaudy shopping malls surrounding it for blocks. Vendors of all sorts are out in the streets peddling food or wares. That robotic feeling dissipates and there’s a real liveliness to the area that is a refreshing change of pace.
Bao tells us to watch our belongings in this area, apparently it’s notorious for pick pockets. A brief walk along the strip and two things, stereotypical to this type of scene, actually happen in the first five minutes:
1) We’re approached by a guy in a trench coat who opens it up to display a collection of glamorous looking watches. “Rolex?” “Haha no thanks, Pal”.
2) A couple of sketchy-ass mofos ask if we want to buy any drugs. “Now whatchu gonna do with it?”. Of course! We buy all of their drugs. They had everything, so we just got it all. Then we did all of the drugs immediately. Mixed it all together in a brain blender. I think we even did bath salts at some point. Things got hazy. Queenie caught and ate a mangy street cat. It was crazy. We’re lucky to be alive. This took about 6 minutes.
Afterwards, we decide to detour out of the Temple Street area and come back at a later date when we’re not so stuffed and can sit and grub down on all of the amazing looking food here. Now we’re on a different sort of mission: Drinks at Ozone, the highest bar in the world!
The route to the highest bar in the world takes us down to the water front. The Skyline along the water is pretty nuts. There are the most lit up high rises I’ve ever seen across the water all decked out in Xmas themes. The area is super swanky time with high end stores for clothing, watches and tech flooding the scene. There’s a cool clock tower and some art installation pieces in the area too. Eclectic spot but still a little too commercial and mall-like for my tastes.
Passed another strip of shops we come to a blockade. There is a ton of construction in this area and walkways and streets are closed off. Well ok… we’ll see if we can go this way. Nope. This way? We go down under the street along some tunnel and pop out onto the street again but it too is blocked off. Well damn. This way? Hmmm maybe. We’re totally turned around now. Ok if we go up this street we should come around to the…. what the hell?! We’re back at the Hello Kitty dim sum place?? Haha shit, we walked in a full loop. (Fairly embarrassing for a bunch of people with majors in GIS).
After a whole ‘nother round of getting lost we finally find the building that this famed ‘highest bar in the world’ is in. It is a tall building… but where is the entrance….
We circle the whole place… wtf? Ok what did we miss? I realize that I’ve been fighting Hong Kong two dimensionally, like Khan fought Kirk, and I was losing. This area of HK had streets stacked up in circular on and off ramps and the whole business was under construction so yeah, it was confusing. But we simply had to navigate up a level to find the entrance to the place. Finally!
We walk in and there’s… a hockey rink?
Annnnnd… we’re in another mall. Lost in the mall looking for the elevator. We find a shop with my name on it.
We also get a shot of McBurger in the middle of a Xmas scene. A lady just walking through the mall sees me taking a pic and decides to get one too. She doesn’t even notice McBurger is there until after haha
We finally find the entrance to Ozone up several escalators in the back corner of the mall. The elevator goes from level 9 to 101 haha, ok here we go!
We get off the elevator and it is swaaaaanky. We’re now in the Ritz Carlton. The elevator doors open and there is a dapper looking host in a three-piece suit minus the coat who comes right over to us. He gives us the once over, up/down glance, “Good evening. Are you going to the bar?”, “Ahh yes”, “This way please”.
He ushers us over to another elevator under some fancy gold leaf thingy on the roof. This elevator goes from floor 101 to 118. Zsssht!
And we’re finally there, Ozone! At 1608 feet above sea level the place claims to be the highest bar worldwide. It’s super super fancy and we feel waaaaaay under dressed the instant we exit the elevator “Ohhh I’m wearing jogging pants and a hoodie”, “And a backpack”.
We skirt over to the bar and nab 4 drinks while we take in the view. The view down on the harbor is pretty sweet. The prices for 4 drinks is not – $100 USD!
Here are some pics that in no way do the place any justice.
The clientele seems to be the upper echelon of money tossers and money tossing posers. Folks are dressed to the nines and the people watching alone is worth the price of our drinks (almost). The interior is loungy cool with soft, rotating lighting and various comfy seating areas for couples or small groups of people. There is a semi-outdoor area with an open sky and another bar, some fire pillars and a large glass wall overlooking the harbor. All kinds of awkward dates are going on, we pass by them on our way to the patio area to check out the view. It’s nice.
Midway through our second round of hundred dollar drinks Agent Getz exclaims, “I’m definitely taking a shit here.” No doubt. Dropping a deuce at 484 meters above sea level in a world class Ritz Carlton sounds like a primo experience. He takes off through the bar and we all crack up laughing.
While Getz is doing the business our conversation devolves into sheer snobbery, “Here’s the thing about owning a yacht… I just lend it to my butler on the weekends cuz I’m waaaaaaaay too busy”.. etc… I think we’re pretty much over Ozone at this point.
Getz comes back, “Alright, I just shoved several towels down the toilet and upper decked it, let’s get out of here.”
We drop in reverse through 118 floors…
Through the mall, back to the street and nab a taxi, next stop is Knutsford Terrace.
The taxi zips away through the neon streets of high class Hong Kong to some destination we’ve only heard of. It bounces through the busy streets blaring techno, literally pushing people out of the way as we come to a stop in the middle of more shops. We gangster toss some HongBucks and exit to the street. We have no idea where we are but supposedly there’s a cool strip of bars around here somewhere.
Being GIS experts, and maybe a little too deep in the meat wine shots, we head off in exactly the wrong direction. This lasts for a few blocks until we decide that the taxi probably put us directly in the right spot and we’re just dumb dumb drunk dummies.
We head back to square one and just up the hill is the terrace known as Knutsford. As promised, it is a string of medium-uppity cocktail spots midway up a hill looking out over downtown Hong Kong. Cool spot for sure. Seems like a good place to hang with the crew.
We peruse the scene but all of the outdoor patio spots are taken. We end up inside at a kind of cheeky spot called Bahama Mamas. This’ll do. We crank up a few more cocktails and get some fries to nibble on. We fill in McBurger on the details of our mission in Taiwan. Things are starting to wind down.
it gets to closing hour and we shin splint our way back down the hill to grab a taxi. This taxi dude is a character. Older guy. He speaks no english or mandarin. I’m not sure if he’s hard of hearing but he is absolutely yelling at Queenie. She shows him the address Bao gave us on her phone. The guy whips out a mini magnifying glass to look at it. There’s more yelling. “It’s not in Cantonese” Queenie explains. She tries to explain where we need to go. More yelling. Queenie looks back at us defeated. The dude just floors it. We fly up a curved entrance ramp and out onto some highway-ish road. The guy is cruising, busting it between cars and continues to mutter and seemingly complain to himself, or just out loud knowing that we can’t understand him. We’re just holding on and kind of giggling at this bizarre situation. Are we even going the right way?
We start to pass through some sort of boat yard full of shipping containers and I begin to get a little worried. “Queenie?”, “I don’t know what’s happening!” Ahhhhhh ok. I lean forward to try my hand at communicating with this dude. The car just stops suddenly. At first I think it’s because he saw me coming at him in the rear view, but when I look up we’re directly outside of Bao’s place. Haha WTF?!
We bushwhack our way up the elevator to her steel caged door and try to sneak our way in. Impossible. We make a racket trying to get the steel gate unlocked. Before we’re done Bao is already at the door. “Maaaaaeeeeerhh” is all she says, leaving the door open and slinking back to bed.
Our sleeping situation seems to be the following:
Queenie doubles up with Bao in the bedroom
Drisdelle and MacKay nab the reclining love seat
I get the floor in front of the love seat
Whatever, a few drinks in and I don’t care. I get down on my blanky on the floor. Kinda hard. Hmmmmm… maybe I do care. I’m squished between the love seat and the TV. I dunno. They both recline their seats and I feel air swish by my nose and junk. I almost get clipped! Now Drisdelle’s nasty Hobbit feet are hanging over the love seat footrest directly above my face. Yeah, this pretty much sucks
It’s been a long day (we did wake up in Taiwan), MacKay and Drisdelle crash out in a jiffy. MacKay launches into a snoring routine that would eclipse a full tilt lumber yard. I roll over and wrap my pillow around my ears. Krrrrrrrrgazzrrrrrrgggggg!! (This epic snore is fairly well documented) I’m trying, I’m really trying here… Drisdelle’s hobbit foot hits me in the ear. Holy faaaaaawwk! I’m up.
I drag my blanky and pillow into the only other non-kitchen room in Bao’s tiny abode. It’s dark. I use my phone light to get situated. I only fit in the room if I lay diagonally. Whatever. I lift my butt and heel kick the door closed. The lumber yard isn’t quite as loud. This is as good as it gets I guess. KXB