Saturday, 28 August 2010

China - The first Symphony of Lights

Day 12

Hello everyone!

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, yet it feels like you are stepping out of a LOndon train station. Initially we pegged it as a combination of three cities: San Francisco, for the hills, trams and coastal elements; London, for the street names and winding roads; and a major Chinese city, for the bustle and bright lights. However, I managed to work it out later in our stay. Hong Kong is Singapore's older brother; bigger, brasher and more adventurous.

I had three days in Hong Kong. Kelly and Matt had five, as their trip ended here before flying back to Seoul. We agreed that we would get every major aspect of Hong Kong covered before I left on the Saturday. It wasn't just the three of us this time, though. Kelly and I were very excited at the prospect of being reunited with Esther, a friend from our TEFL course and Kelly's housemate in Prague. She'd taken a couple of weeks off from studying in Melbourne to meet us. Via Bali, naturally. Lucky girl.

The first stop was the number one attraction - going up to Victoria Peak in the old tram. Well, it's quite modern thesedays, but quite a feat when it was first used in 1888. Before it was built, the posh Brits were carried up in cabins by the locals. Good old colonialism.

Even with a bit of cloud cover, the view was stunning. It is where the richest people live, so the apartments up top are pretty decent. But you don't go to the Peak to look up. You go to look down. The view of Central and the harbour is straight from a Hollywood blockbuster. I can see why so many movies are shot here now.

We hiked down from the top. Longer than we thought - probably because we arrived at a different exit to what we intended - it was nonetheless beautiful, especially the less developed southern part of Hong Kong island. Though the exit was wrong, we still found our next point of interest - the world's longest escalator!

What a let-down. And a lie - it's the world's longest 20+ escalators-in-a-row escalator. Not happy, though the sight of British food nearby made me happy. Less of that than I expected, actually.

Hunger was a constant theme of our waltz through the markets, which again seemed a bit of a disappointment - a lot of crap and not a lot of negotiating. The Shreddies monster was doing a number on our stomachs, so we dived into a local cafe. I ordered something I was surprised I was yet to sample - sweet and sour pork. Better than home, but not a meal to remember.

To get to this latest market we had crossed the harbour on the famous Star Ferry, and we did so again to return to Hong Kong Island. HK$2 is a bargain to ride that thing, but I guess some people use it to get to and from work. It is cool at night, something which I struggle to say about the Symphony of Lights, a light display using the skyscrapers - a symphony with no music is always going to be questionable.

Reading over this blog, Hong Kong seems like a bit of a disappointment. Far form it. In some cities I feel a natural connection - New York, Istanbul - and I feel this here. It's not always about the attractions - the vibe just seems right here, and I can't wait to go again tomorrow. Even after the lack of sleep from people having sex in our room all night.

Love you all


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