Hong Kong

June 4, 2010 at 2:00 am | Posted in hong kong | Leave a comment

Hong Kong is so amazing and somehow we took very few pictures. We took the subway straight from the airport and stayed in Kowloon. The subway was so nice and clean – a dramatic change from the mass transportation in india. We stayed at one of the infamous “mansions” in Kowloon, Mirador Mansion. The bottom level(s) was filled with crappy shops and as the floors rose and rose, they were filled with crappy apartments and hotel rooms. there was a line for the elevators and our halls smelled of chinese food, but the rooms we stayed in were actually nice (albeit closet-size). after india hot water was a welcome novelty, even if I had to limbo over the toilet to take a shower.

after india and SE asia, hong kong seemed especially modern and clean. the view of hong kong island from across the bay is a striking silouette of skyscrapers, made even more beautiful at night.

besides the buildings’ lights, every night hong kong has a light show (complete with music if you’re standing near the public speakers). This lightshow has to be seen to be believed, and although short, it is truly hilarious/impressive. we usually stay away from most touristy stuff (too cool for that), but the light show was really funny and kind of like starwars fireworks or something.

although HK is so modern, just by walking down certain alleys you can experience a very old hong kong. we strolled down a bunch of these alleys and found everything from amazing antiques to bird nest shops.

This was our introduction to the weirdness of chinese foods. The birds nest soup is a really delicacy and is made from swifts nest. The saliva that the male swift uses is a supreme source of calcium and iron. A bowl of soup would set you back over $30.

there are also a bunch of little eastern pharmacies, selling oddities for whatever might ail you. we later found out that deer antlers are a real delicacy when sliced thinly (kind of crazy they come with the deer head as well though).

looks delicious.

there are also little food shops that sell every type of seafood/sealife imaginable (all dried of course). these places didn’t smell amazing, but looking at all the dried-up sea creatures was pretty fasciating. shark fins, sponges, shrimps, fish bits and other stuff we couldn’t identify are kept in clear containers – the stores look like candy shops. nightmare candy shops.

hong kong island is just a quick ferry ride away from kowloon. it was cool to board a ferry just like you might board a subway.

hong kong is a great walking city; there are loads of small streets to get lost in. i loved walking around – and getting turned around. You could also find so much amazing food – everything from traditional duck in tiny stall-shops to fancy groceries with western food (bread!). I really liked that little shops and hong kong brands stand alongside international labels and chains.

on one of my meandering walks (i had left hudson at a disgusting all-you-can-eat buffet), I popped around a corner and discovered the most amazing little alley (see below). while surrounded by huge chain shops, this alley is full of teeny-tiny boutiques and beautiful little bars and lounges. each place had been carefully designed and thought-out to look individual. in a way, this random little alley sums up how i thought of HK.

we split up one day and i went to the art museum. it is very well-done and has an amazing collection of antique jewelry.

The hong kong museum was a fascinating look into the history of hong kong. In the 19th century, Britain was flooding China with opium from india, when the chinese government objected to this (due to large amounts of the population becoming addicted) and blocked anymore trading, the opium war began. This resulted in the British being victorious and receiving Hong Kong as part of the treaty of Nanking. This lasted from 1860 until 1997 (bar the japanese occupation during the pacific war)

great view of the bay and hong kong from the art museum’s upper floor. too bad the weather was so overcast.

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