One of the great things about staying in a hostel is all the people you meet. Remember Agnes from Amsterdam and how she persuaded me to go to Vietnam? Well I’ve just taken over her reins and have been trying to persuade Shane and Jennifer from Bristol that they should go too. I so wish I’d recorded all the answers I’ve received in response to the question Why are you here? Shane’s has to be one of the best yet. He’s just competed in the World Chinese Pool Championships in Qinhuandao, a couple of hundred miles east of Beijing. They just told me a funny, but alarming story of their first night here. They arrived at 2am in the morning and had booked into a guest house not far from here. Shane described it like a film classic, going up in the decrepit lift and then seeing a very large rat. Hop Inn was booked, and the place they stayed was more expensive than here. So you can imagine how they must have felt as they made there way here this morning, expecting what – more rats? And I can only begin to imagine their relief when they found this delightful, wonderful place that I’m now calling home.
It’s the sister hotel to the one I first stayed in. This is Hop Inn Carnarvon, and that was Hop Inn Mody. Because all the rooms are private here, you don’t get the comings and goings, and probably meet less people than Mody. But what you do get is the wonderful roof garden. A roof garden in itself is no mean feat, but a roof garden in Hong Kong! Fresh lemongrass and herbs! It has me wanting to rush home to St Ives, and get Martin to partially take the lid off Harbourside Penthouse, and expose a little more of our apartment to the elements. Don’t worry Martin, if you’re reading this, of course this latest fad will have disappeared by the time I get home. A few balcony boxes will have to suffice!
I will miss this place when I come home. What I love most, is the attention to detail. A little cactus garden, plants rooting in water in a variety of bottles and jars that have been recycled and fashioned to make them attractive. The walls that serve as a guest book. Free coffee and tea and a hot water dispenser. An honesty fridge wth craft beers. An Apple PC. Free reliable wi fi. Posters, Artisan products in reception to support local artists and a community farm. The fact that all the staff are delightful and nobody bitches about anyone else. A squidgy sofa. Art everywhere. A guitar in the corner beckoning someone to play it. Free literature and guide books and maps. A classified and very large DVD library. Books about HK in every language. And super high standard of cleanliness. AND NO RATS.
And lots of lovely interesting people who I can ask Why are you here in HK?