When China threatened to impose visas on Filipinos traveling to Hong Kong, it didn’t bother me that much because the last time I went to Hong Kong in August it felt a little different. It felt tired.
My first trip out of the country, I was eight years old. We flew first class to Hong Kong and stayed at the Peninsula.
We don’t always fly first class as a family. It was just that one time. Maybe my parents wanted to make it special, and it was.
I remember buying Monchhichi dolls in Tsim Sha Tsui.
I have vivid memories of bones aching from walking so much at Ocean Centre, trailing family members looking at mainstream stores, and wishing, well, that I knew where the cool clothes were. (Now I know.)
Hong Kong is a Filipino pastime. My late grandmothers shopped there as well. I remember my lola frequenting to Shui Hing on Nathan Road. It doesn’t exist anymore.
If you’re Filipino, going to Hong Kong is such a treat because of its convenience.
“Five hours door-to-door,” Tita Virgie Ramos once told me. “That’s what I love about Hong Kong.”
Well, five hours for Tita Virgie, eight hours for me. I timed it. From our doorstep in Pasig to our hotel room in Causeway Bay, it took about eight hours.
My husband and I were supposed to go on our annual honeymoon in Tokyo this November 25. But Yolanda happened, and I couldn’t get myself to book the flights and hotel, or get a visa. It all seemed so frivolous, and depressing.
Yolanda took so much energy from me. I did what I could and I’m still doing it—helping people rebuild the roofs of their houses. But then Christmas is coming and so rapidly. I need to put up my Christmas tree for the kids. I need to buy some new parols. I need this and that. I needed a break.
I convinced the hubby to take me to Hong Kong where tickets and hotels can be booked quickly online, no visa required, not yet anyway. I got ourselves free business class tickets through Asiamiles. I booked us at Park Lane in Causeway for its convenient proximity to Ikea, among other stores.
We were lucky to be upgraded to First Class on Cathay Pacific—what a treat!
I even ate the meal!
When we arrived at Park Lane, the room wasn’t what I expected, so we got a “free” upgrade to a large, although dated, suite. (You half expect to see Tony Ferrer come out of the wood work).
This is the last time we’re staying at the Park Lane, hubby and I agreed.
We were there from Thursday to Sunday.
On Thursday I passed by all the shops on Causeway Bay—from Ikea, to aesop, Zucca, I.T, Vivienne Westwood, Liger, Droog, Frapbois, a.p.c.
On Friday I hit City Super, Lane Crawford, COS, and had a wonderful date at a hip Spanish eatery called Boqueria in Lan Kwai Fong. (Thank you James Acuña and Apple Mandy for arranging!)
On Saturday I had no more energy.
I feel old, I told the hubby. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t shop till I drop. I feel like a lola.
Hong Kong has lost its luster on me. I have been there 100 times. So if Hong Kong wants to impose a visa, I’m OK with it.
Despite all of that, we checked in six pieces of luggage on Sunday, when I thought that I didn’t shop enough. Luckily, Cathay didn’t charge us for overweight. Plus were upgraded to First Class—again!
My husband and I were seated at 1A and 1K, right by the nose of the plane.
Someone is happy…
Strangely enough I felt no fear. I prayed my chaplet quietly and read until we landed.
More than anything, however, my body was tired. I had developed a bad cold in Hong Kong and I intend to take it slow this week.