Travel

Hong Kong: First Impressions

I have so many impressions of Hong Kong that it is hard to know where to start.

Okay, lets start with the lights. This is truly a night-time city, at least in Tsim Sha Tsui. We did not venture over to Central at night except for a brief walk back to the MTR after our visit to The Peak, but I do believe that Lan Kwai Fong is the top nightlife spot on Hong Kong island. On our side, however, there was plenty enough to see and experience without taking a trip across the harbour.
If you are staying on Hong Kong Island, you must come across the harbour to Kowloon for the evening light show. Just a little walk around from the ferry terminal you will see a gathering of people staring across at the already spectacular skyline that is Central. And hopefully the viewing platform will be re-opened when you visit. The light show is performed on both sides of the harbour at 8pm every night, but looking from Kowloon to Hong Kong is definitely the best view.

The other major first impression goes alongside the lights, and is the sounds. I am absolutely convinced that the people of Hong Kong are a nocturnal evolution of humanity. I am also convinced that every one of the near 7 million residents appeared on the streets each and every night that we were in Hong Kong. I was prepared for the hustle and bustle because I believed that was how life was in this city, but I was wrong. There is certainly bustle, as defined:

n. Excited and often noisy activity

But there was no hustle, as defined:

n.

  1. The act or an instance of jostling or shoving.
  2. Energetic activity; drive.

In fact, despite the throngs of citizens on the streets, there was no hurry or rush. There was no physical contact, which I still find absolutely amazing considering the density of people on the streets. (The only time I was bumped, it was by a tourist who thought walking widely two abreast when everyone else was squeezing by her was perfectly acceptable.)
If this had been downtown Auckland I would have been jostled from pillar to post and probably been walked at or through on multiple occasions.
It was another revelation. I had been given to believe that the Chinese culture doesn’t go in for the queuing idea and that it was largely a case of who can get through to the front first. I have, in fact seen a bit of that here at home with some of our newest migrants. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was a complete fallacy. I don’t know if it is the 100 years of British influence, or simply the constraints of such a large population in such a small space making it impossible not to have developed either good manners or the world’s first “manners-rage” incident. (Like road rage, only up-close and very personal.)

My first evening in Hong Kong was very much dominated by the twin impressions of light and sound. But I have to say, even with all of the bright advertising and shop lighting and the bustle of commerce of all kinds below us, I managed a very sound and peaceful first night’s sleep in Hong Kong.

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2 thoughts on “Hong Kong: First Impressions”

  1. So tell me Waily One, are you blogging this ‘live’ or after the fact back in NZ? If you’re doing it from abroad are you using a laptop via the hotel network ($$$ I imagine), an Internet cafe, or what?

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  2. My Wailing is being done after the fact. The only posts I did while away were Good In-Flight Manners, Olé! and Nanny McPhee.
    We made a conscious decision not to take a laptop – just too much of a pain adding it to the luggage-to-tote list. (Not that we had much anyway, having decided to be minimalist in this area.) So, not too sure about the internet charges for the in-room broadband at the hotels.
    One of the perks of travelling for the company is that we get to upgrade to the executive rooms in hotels (didn’t bother in Singapore – only there two nights). If you choose a hotel chain that has one of these, you get free internet access (usually) in the executive lounge and that is what I used while in Hong Kong. Not to mention the sitting room, evening drinks, canapes, and private breakfast area too. Some of the people you can meet over drinks are really interesting as they are often frequent visitors with useful local knowledge. I might do a piece on this aspect of the trip as well. So, didn’t require an internet cafe either. If you don’t plan to blog-as-you-go, the cafe option may work out best value. But don’t hold your breath regarding connection speed. Singapore was terrific, but Hong Kong was terrible. It said 100Mb, but I swear it was no faster than my hopeless home dial-up which is a measly 56Kb. (Soon to be replaced by 3Mb broadband :))

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