Stephen Craton

2011-07-10 08.43.39.jpg
  • iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm
  • f/2.8
  • 1/603 sec
  • ISO 80

Hong Kong Birthday

Jul 9, 2011 Hong Kong, China 3 min read

What can I say about Hong Kong? Not much, as it turns out.

For my 22nd birthday, I decided the best gift I could give myself was another stamp in my passport. Seeing that I was in Manila, and there was a cheap flight available to Hong Kong, it seemed perfect.

“Why not go all out?” I thought to myself. “I’ll be puttin’ on the Ritz!”

I booked a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong for one night. I figured with how much money I saved on the flight, and that it was my birthday, I should just go all out with the hotel stay.

I arrived in Hong Kong at night and hailed a taxi. This was my first experience riding on the wrong side of the road. The experience, I decided, warranted a photo.

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  • iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm
  • f/2.8
  • 1/15 sec
  • ISO 1000

My plan for Hong Kong was to enjoy a fancy night at a fancy hotel, then tour the city market the next day before returning back to Manila. That all changed about 2 minutes after arriving at the hotel.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we’ve overbooked your room,” the hotel clerk told me.

My heart stopped. What was I going to do? I didn’t really know this place and it’s almost 9pm already! How am I going to find…

“So we’ve upgraded you to a deluxe suite at no charge.”

…my heart started again, and it swelled with amazement.

“Really? That’s so kind! Thank you for the best birthday present ever!”

When I arrived at my room I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was bigger than my apartment in Manila. The bathroom alone could’ve slept 6 comfortably.

And the view from the room’s full wall window…

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  • iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm
  • f/2.8
  • 1/15 sec
  • ISO 1000

It was then I began to wonder if I should get a better camera. All I had then was my cell phone.

There was an old fashioned telescope sitting next to the window, like you see in the study of a rich guy’s home. The bed had to be a California King, which I didn’t even know existed at the time. A lounging couch, a huge television, even a place to plug in your iPhone to blast your tunes across the entire suite (which was a big deal in 2011).

The experience was so surreal, especially with it being my birthday, I didn’t want to leave my little palace. I ordered room service. I listened to music. I pretended to read the Chinese newspaper as if I knew what any of those jumbled characters meant.

I drank my morning coffee, sitting next to the window, watching as boats came in and out of the bay. Then got lost in the surrealness of just how fortunate I was to be experiencing it all. I ended up never leaving that suite until it was time to head back to the airport.

So how was Hong Kong? I have no idea. But the Ritz Carlton was amazing.

Written October 23, 2018