A few facts about Hong Kong I learned/experienced when there 2 weeks ago:
1. Travellers have been known to call the bustling metropolis "Hong Koncrete" but I prefer "Hong Kong Heaven".
2. After the First Opium War (circa 1841) HK became a British colony but was handed over to the Motherland in 1997. Thus, the people have British accents, awesome style, and are generally cooler than anyone walking around Mainland because they escaped the turmoil/devastation/etcetc of the event that shall not be named. The people (at least those I've rubbed elbows with) are very proud of being "from Hong Kong" not..."Chi.na". They consider themselves (are are) culturally distinct from the mainland. (i.e., there's no spitting, pushing for seats on the bus/metro, people line up without cutting/pushing, and no public fighting).
3. The Chin.ese have to keep HK under the same rules as it was under Britian (freedom of press, speech, reli.gion, etc.) for 50 years and then it can do whatever it wants. I'm not sure how it would work if they started taking away freedoms, it's like, how do you retract a modern society? But, I digress...
4. Mainland inhabitants have to have a visa to go to HK. Amer.icans do not.
5. Hong Kong is EXPENSIVE and smells like cold hard cash. There I feet like a pauper in the shadows of Gucci and Prada. It is in fact the 4th largest financial center (after London, NY, and Tokyo).
6. HK has the "Batman Building" from the movie where apparently there's some important scene (having not seen the movie yet taking pictures of the "Batman Building" was kind of anti-climactic.)
7. The water in Victoria Harbor is the most polluted water in the world (so Batman couldn't jump into it for one of his scenes.)
8. When in HK it's hard to know what language to speak. The native tongue is Cantonese but most people speak some English. Speaking Chin.ese will get you little to no-where (unless bargaining with foot massage sellers, as we found out). It's like, you go into a store and are not sure what language you are expected to speak.
Hong Kong, I love you!
I had been to HK before, last year at the tail end of The Crew's Spring Festival trip, but we only went to HK Disneyland and Macau. I still feel like there's a lot more to see, I'm not quite done with it yet, but a few more days there was fun. It's a breath of fresh (polluted) air and an exciting place to be. Full of life, vibrancy, color, and home of the world's longest escalator. What more could a traveller want? Oh! Yummy food. Well, they ahve that too in the form of dim sum. Yum yum yum yum yum. At one point we even ate little miniature hedgehog looking things. That was fun and delicious.
I tried to upload pictures, but blogger is being dumb tonight (thanks, Great Firewall!) So just imagine the most fun, perfect, colorful place. Insert some palm trees and a mysterious fog. Add some background music, maybe a little Regina Spektor. Then splash that picture with some tasteful graffiti.
And there you have it, Hong Kong Heaven.
HK, thanks for the memories. And for being genuinly awesome.
Walk Slow. xoxo.