Jill and I went on a surprise trip to Hong Kong (for Jill) during the week of December 5 – 12. We had not been there since the change of government from the British in 1997. On the surface, this new / special region of China looks very much to be as it was, although we did detect an undercurrent of concern from some of the local people with whom we spoke that they no longer had free and democratic representation in terms of government decision making.
These were our favorite impressions of Hong Kong During our visit.
1. It is simply hard to beat the best value boat ride in the world – a trip on the Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon. The fare costs less than .50 cents. The ferries run every few minutes and this trip provides great views of the crowded skyline of Hong Kong the bustling harbour and the waterfront. Since Hong Kong is built around the harbour, this trip captures the quintessential essence of Hong Kong. All in all, we made eight trips across the harbour and marvelled at the sights on each and every occasion.
2. The Christmas lights in Hong Kong were superb. Thirty story buildings were strung with ever changing lights and decorations. They put the feeble attempts that we have here in Australia to shame! In Melbourne, we have become much too concerned with political correctness (in case we offend some of the minority groups from other cultures and religions) to put on any decent Christmas displays anymore.
3. The diversity of sights that we saw on two self guided walking trips that we undertook in Hong Kong and Shim Sham Tsui. It was fascinating to see streets that specialised in different types of shops – antiques, goldfish, food, pet birds, flowers, clothing etc and get a taste of a very different culture and way of life.
4. The new airport is less exciting as a place from which to arrive and depart from Hong Kong, but the new facility on Lantau Island has not only required the building of a runways and terminal, but the construction of a new freeway, an express train line and suspension bridges of up to 1 1/2 kilometers in length to provide access. Truly impressive!
5. The shopping of course was very good. Hong Kong is no longer the cheapest of places in which to visit and shop, but the diversity of things to buy is mind blowing. My successful objective was to purchase a little Sony Vaio U Series computer (the smallest personal computer in the world). It is about as big as a DVD case and about an inch thick. It will be tremendously useful tool for me to take on my travels and through which to update this blog site.
Home now to sort out our purchases and to pack them up for the family.