Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Travel Blogging VI

Dateline: Hong Kong. We arrived here this morning, to somewhat cold weather. Two days cruising from Da Nang to here moved us from sweltering to chilly. The info on HK says it is hot and wet three seasons a year and cool and dry in winter.

Hong Kong is a knockout, just like it was 20 years ago under the British only more so. The other DrC says HK is cleaner than it was 20 years ago, I suspect she is correct. Do you suppose HK took a leaf from Singapore’s book? It wouldn’t surprise me.

The People's Republic of China has “owned” HK for 12+ years now and it still feels like the place the Brits left. Much credit must go to the PRC for keeping the “one nation, two systems” agreement made with the British in 1997. The people here wonder what will happen in 2047 when the 50 year guarantee runs out. Everybody here, and probably everybody in Beijing, hopes that “the mainland” will have caught up with Hong Kong by then in terms of economic development and civil rights. That being the case, there will be no adjustment issues.

We did the typical touristy things this morning: took the funicular to Victoria Peak, had a boat ride around Aberdeen Harbor, visited the Stanley market for trinkets, etc. We did this since we haven’t been here for 20 years and we wanted to see the many changes. This evening we watched the laser light show that fills the air above the channel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The boat traffic in that channel is fascinating, a constant stream of ferries, work boats, pleasure craft, etc. The Star Ferries still run every couple of minutes between Kowloon and HK Island, and there are three tunnels as well. Tomorrow we do more serious shopping, the thing for which HK is most famous.

The architecture here is spectacular; the influence of feng shui on design being apparent once a knowledgeable local points it out. This can lead to interesting holes being built into otherwise slab-like tall buildings. My favorite HK view is the one looking across the channel from Kowloon toward Hong Kong Island at night with the lights on the tall buildings, most of which buildings are relatively new. It is magical.