Asian Wonders # 16: Hong Kong

Asian Wonders #16: Hong Kong and HOME!

Masks of  Fantastic Creatures on loan from The British Museum have messages for us.

May you be healed: May you be free of the evil spirits: May you live a long life free of fear:  It’s cold here in Hong Kong and everyone has a cold, a cough and snot is everywhere. Gosh, for a germaphobic  like me this is a difficult environment.  The spitting still goes on here in the streets of this bustling New York like city, but a lot less now than when we visited in 1999.  As in most cities in China, spitting is a big “no no” and motorbikes are absolutely not allowed in the city centers. If you grew up spitting in the streets I guess it is hard to change, but if you drive a motorbike in the city there is a huge fine. We saw a motorbike crash head to tail in front of our hotel. We are in a lovely hotel, The Kowloon Hotel, right across a little street and slightly in back of the Peninsula Hotel.  We are on the Lounge Club floor with a view of Victoria Harbor, including breakfast, tea, and cocktails. They had a little anniversary party for us because when I made the reservations I told them we were celebrating our 50th. How sweet of them to remember.

Meet Joey Lee the Harbor Club Purser at the Kowloon Hotel. She will greet you and help you with everything and besides she is the nicest person. She is interested in everything.

We thought we would go for tea at the Peninsula, but the lines for tea were extensive. Instead we just gawked and enjoyed seeing such a famous old landmark.  We happily crossed the street to our lovely digs and enjoyed free tea in the Harbor Lounge.

Nighttime walking on Kowloon streets:

My new very favorite food is Glutinous Rice in a Lotus Leaf! It is very delicious. It is thick, dense and feels rich and full-bodied in your mouth. It makes you keep going back for more.   They have a Laser light show in Victoria Harbor every night at 8:00. The first night we ran with the crowd. We had to hurry along with everyone. We dashed down many, steps. Walked a little only to have to grind a climb up the steps on the other side.  We had to go under the street to cross safely.  We got to the viewing site in plenty of time.

I do not know anything about the Chinese people from this visit. I only know the sweet pleasant smiles of the service people and the beautiful, fashionably dressed people walking by.  Some of the sellers at the maretplaces want your money so badly, they hawk gruffly in your face. They negotiate in loud, clipped tones and when you have made a deal the literally grab the money, shove your item in a bag and turn their back on you.  We had an opportunity to speak for a little while with a couple from India.  He said he wondered if you ever know if you have received the best price. I told him, he will never know and none of us will.  The price you are willing to pay and the price you settle upon is the best price.  The three market places we visited and each worse than the other are: The Lady Street Market, The Stanley Market, on the way back from Victoria Peak and the Temple Street Night market.

We took the cable car up to Victoria Peak to get a shot of the view from that height. It was so foggy, and you see what we saw. Not worth the struggle. .

We rode a small sampan out into the Aberdeen a fishing neighborhood of Hong Kong.  It is where people live on their boats and you can negotiate a sampan ride from one of the ladies who run the boats out to see the sights in this area.They have preserved this area as a tourist site primarily now, but it was/is an active water village for hundreds of years.

Still in Aberdeen: The first photo is of the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant and the second one is the back of the restaurant: See what you can see floating around.

We were told that the Chinese are not good at inventing, but can copy anything known to man. They can, indeed. I think the reason they are so far ahead of where they used to be is that they can copy and we buy. They have gone to many other countries and taken the best they have to offer and manufactured it as Made in China, which it is….  How ingenious is that?  We, at least I have been taught to create something wholly your own and in the creating that is the genius.  Well, I have seen a new light. Copy if you can and add your own genius to it. This is very financially beneficial.  I have always been fascinated by the Chinese culture and should have studied more before we made the trip, and you can be certain a study will be made and we will gladly know so much more.

Hong Kong is totally separate from China, the mainland, but many Chinese have one foot in Hong Kong for investment purposes and it has served most of them well.  They are building a new high-speed train. The train service now connecting Hong Kong with Beijing is a 28-hour train ride. The new mass construction of the new train will cut the travel time down to 8 hours. The construction sites are everywhere.

We have enjoyed the bustling streets full of people on the go. You can truly shop until you drop and you can buy anything you want, you just have to know where to go to get it.

We rode on top of an open-air bus through the city streets at night. It was an interesting new perspective and very cold.  It was almost impossible to get a good nighttime photo because of their glaring yellow streetlights, so sit back and just enjoy the hubbub.

Our last stop was the tallest building in Hong Kong called Sky 100 because you view Hong Kong at a 360-degree experience on the 100th floor. The view from the 100th floor is knowing you are very high!

Today we visited the 1881 Springtime Wonderland at the Grand Piazza and the Museum of Art.  The best gallery is the one containing old pictures and prints of Hong Kong. It is hard to believe that this spectacular city is built on what once was mountainous terrain and jungle. Actually, forgive me, but Hong Kong is still a jungle of an altered kind.  I have noticed that the jungle animals here nowadays who are in a hurry and do not mind knocking into you, and shoving you along to wherever they are going. They have no spacial boundaries. Mine are huge! Never mind, I forgot to mention seeing antiquities at the museum from the Tang Dynasty, The Sun Dynasty and The Qing.  I know there were more dynasties represented but the three mentioned are all that I can remember. For an experience and general knowledge, Google Chinese Dynasties and enjoy reading about how the various dynasties played their roles in Chinese history.   We have enjoyed our Asian Wonders trip and have enjoyed having you along. We have been blessed and are happy and lucky!  Happy and Lucky are attributes the Asian people hold to be very special and important. Do you not agree?

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gary Friedman
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 17:40:13

    Amazing! I love the floating apartment complex. I remember back in the 60’s people were accusing the Japanese of not being able to invent anything but could copy anything. (In 30 years they’ll be saying that about Chad.)

    (Actually, in 30 years all I’m going to remember about this post is the “snot everywhere” observation.)

    Thanks for sharing your travels with us!



    • Sheila Clapkin
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 16:28:59

      Snot was everywhere, honestly, I guess because they were having some mighty cold weather. Oh and I found out what I thought was fog was in fact smog??????? Oh dear, I do see things though rose colored glasses.


  2. Reene
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 20:17:41

    Hong Kong seems much busier since our trip. I don’t remember so much traffic or so many cabs.
    Your trip sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to actually talk with you when you come home. Soon?? Reene


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