Hong Kong is where real capitalists go to play. Bill Gates would be out of his depth swimming in the pool of sharks that operate and trade in this financial and commercial hub of Asia. As you can see from the photo, there is no shortage of big buildings on Hong Kong island, or in Kowloon (or Tsim Sha Tsui, where we stayed). In fact, it seems that everywhere it is possible to build a structure in this city, someone has built one. The tower in the middle was for a while the tallest in the world, (it is now fifth).
When in Hong Kong, what do you do? Well first of all, you can shop. In Kowloon there is approximately one shopping mall per resident. HK is shopping mall central. If you want it, it is for sale here. If you can't afford it, beat the sellers price down a little, or look for a cheap knock off on the street. Some of the knock offs are better quality than the originals. And once again, always negotiate. The photo is Beth getting her custom made suit fitted. She has never been so happy to be in public in a borrowed shirt wearing pants held closed by one little pin. Chris had a suit made as well, but he was holding the camera...
Have you wondered what happens to songs after they lose their shine in the US? Well, we found out. It appears that China, and to a lesser extent, Japan, are where american popular songs go to die. Sort of like the mythical elephant graveyard. We heard songs that we had forgotten (with good reason) ever existed. Michael Jackson, KC and the Sunshine Band -- you name it, we heard it. Not that we didn't enjoy the nostalgia, but Beth was suffering from severe Dave Mathews Band withdrawal.
The Peninsula Hotel, the best hotel in Hong Kong during the colonial period, and still one of the grandest hotels in the world, was right next door to our lovely Sheraton. Beth was particularly taken by the bathrooms, so every time we walked by, she pestered Chris for some change so she could tip the attendant. We also had lunch there, at "The Verandah" which is visible above the marquee in the photo. Great little meal.
Bamboo is used every where in Hong Kong for just about everything. Here, Chris is posing with some particularly talented bamboo which was acting as scaffolding for a small renovation project. We saw huge office towers shrouded in bamboo scaffolding, used just as metal scaffolding would be used in the US. The photo also gives you an idea of the density of the city. Signs, buildings, cars, buses everything all crammed together onto tiny streets.
Another thing about HK is that it is actually a working port, much like Shanghai. From our hotel window, you could see commercial traffic on the harbor, from water taxis, to hovercraft, to ferries (about HK$2 or US$.24 to cross the harbor), to cruise ships, at all hours of the day. There were even little container barges, which had their own cranes on them and were towed out to container ships which were at anchor in the outer harbor. Sort of a long-term temporary solution to the insufficient port facilities for this frantic city.
Well that is about it for our travels, all we have left is an eternal flight back to the states, and a week or so of de-jet lagging. What have we learned? Well, for one thing, America is a good place to be. Second, and most importantly, good hotels are the key, drinking tap water is out of the question, and if someone wants to sell you something, say sure, then offer them half of what they are asking. Who knows, you might just enjoy it!
Thanks for following along on our travels.
We had a great time, and knowing that others were enjoying our trip as
well made it that much better. For all of you that think that it
might be fun to do this (web page travel thing) we highly recommend it.
Contact us and we'll let you know what we have learned. Thanks again,
and see you all soon!