24 hours later, China was a distant memory and Hong Kong greeted us with open arms. Things were suddenly clean, and spitting, hacking and coughing up the contents of one’s body was truly a thing of the past.
Checking into the hostel in Mongkok, our preferred neighbourhood that offers an insight into local life as well as offering cheap eats and markets, the time to relax was far from us. If you have read our tales of the trans-siberian, you may remember our brush with bed bugs. Well, this was the first time that we could actually clean our belongings properly. Every last thing. We found a cheap but good laundrette and three trips later, our clothes had been heated to high enough of a temperature to kill any potential lingerers or the unborn buggers. No risks were to be taken… 2 weeks of insmonia, dreams (nightmares) of giant insects and paranoia about never being able to shake the bugs meant there was no question about it – everything had to undergo the same treatment. Of course, bags, shoes and other bulky items that are unfriendly (or just wont fit) in the washing machines and dryers, had to be tackled with Isopropyl alcohol rub. An entire day later, the mission was complete.
So, with that out the way it was time to relax surely? Unfortunately not, next on the list was Vietnam visas. Not realising until just before we found the embassy that they closed for lunch, we had to rush through the forms and queue for half an hour – lunch time ticked over and we were still queuing but luckily the chap serving was rather nice and didn’t turn us away. £100 later (how much?!) we were to return the next day to pick up our complete visas.
FINALLY, a day and a half after arriving we could actually stop and enjoy the wonderful city of Hong Kong. This mainly involved eating, walking, wandering, people watching and a little more eating for good measure. Throw in a meal with our Australian friends from Mongolia, and all in all it made for a great few days.
With visas in tow, the only chore left was to plan how to get to Vietnam overland… Not as easy as it sounds. It involves returning to China, a night train, finding a bus station in a non-descript Chinese city in the early hours of the morning and hoping we would make it on time for the bus over to Hanoi. The temptation to book a flight, which would cost just a few of our English pounds more, and would take just a couple of hours compared to the 36 we faced overland, was almost too tempting. But, we had made it this far and the thought of one stressful and long journey was not enough to make us put an end to the epic mission to get from England to Singapore using the land… To Vietnam!