Hong Kong: Day One

brandhk.gifOur first full day in Hong Kong involved visiting clients and potential clients for work. However, the compact size of the city and the ease of using the MTR meant that we were able to indulge in mini bites of sightseeing by foot throughout the day. That is, we paid attention to the sights and sounds of a city in action as we went about our business. Doing this gave us the idea for our last half-day of sightseeing, a visit to the Museum of Art to see the “Early 20th Century Guangdong Painting” exhibition.

Unfortunately the weather was no help for a good part of the day. It rained on and off for most of the morning. This is how I learned about Quick Tip #2. 😉
At least knowing that I was heading for a hot and humid environment I had packed quick dry clothing, so within a short space of time the torrential soaking that came my way began to feel like I had taken a warm shower and was drying off in a nice warm room. Although sheltering in a mall or the subway system meant it felt more like I was drying off in an icebox. Needless to say, the umbrella was purchased shortly after the first heavy downpour.

We spent most of this day on Hong Kong Island. Our first stop was a client who has offices in the building called The Centre; which we later found out plays a leading role in the nightly Symphony of Light show. This gave us our first taste of the business and shopping area known as Central. It is certainly a mix of the old and the new, just like most parts of Hong Kong.

It also introduced the idea that Hong Kong grows in a very organic way. As you can see, if you visit this link to a description of The Centre, it is a completely modern and very opulent building. Directly in front of the lovely open entry garden and pathway seen in the bottom photograph there lurks an older, run-down building. Clearly the developer of The Centre did not want, or could not get the entire land area facing on to Queen’s Road.
So what do they about the run-down old building?
They screen as much of it as possible with a translucent glass, plant and water feature, which nearly encircles this old building on three sides.
It’s quite a remarkable sight, and the very next day we saw a similar thing at another client’s lovely modern building, but in that case it was a brick wall that looked to be about 2 storeys high and then topped with a wire and pole arrangement that was adorned with the beginnings of green vines. Clearly if the neighbours aren’t too pretty (and you have to look at them) all efforts are made to minimise the impact.
It’s screening but on a substantial scale. 😮

A little bit later in the day we were in a great position to see the controversial and angular Bank of China Tower, which I set about taking photographs of too. We were also introduced to navigating our way around the elevated roads, above road walkways and the underground walkways of Hong Kong. Although I have to say the signage in the MTR stations is great – there are maps telling you which of the many exits takes you to which notable buildings, shopping malls or attractions – the elevated walkways are not always quite as helpful.

After spending many hours on foot around the business district I learned Quick Tip #4 and Quick Tip #5 😉 and the luxury of sitting in a Pacific Coffee outlet sipping a mochaccino and reading the South China Morning Post for a window on local affairs.

I was very glad to make the final MTR trip back to our hotel (which conveniently is situated right next to an exit) and collapse into a sore and tired heap on the sofa.

Thank goodness for the Executive Lounge, and the cocktail and canape hour, just the thing to revive tired bodies. 😉

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