Hi loyal readers (all 2 of you…)! It’s been awhile… I have no excuse – I really don’t do anything during the day till my job starts at the end of November…. soo… been catching up on my tivo I guess? Anyways, it seems high time that I post a few pics and stories from my adventures in Asia. I’ll work on it in installments – I’m still learning how to use the software that came with my new camera, so you’ll have to bear with me and my technological retardation.
Ok! First stop: Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Island was more or less exactly what I was expecting of a major international business center – everything sleek, bustling, efficient – well tailored suits, international crowd, sky scrapers, luxury shopping. If heading to Hong Kong and want to get immersed into a more local atmosphere, head to Lan Kwai Fong which is a hip area for the younger crowd. Note though, that if you go at lunch during the week, you will be run over by hoards of young business people hustling to a quick lunch. Also, the SoHo area (really, does every major city have to have a SoHo??) is pretty cool, with some swanky bars and restaurants and cute old antique stores.
The best view of Hong Kong can be seen from the Peak Tram car, which is terrifyingly steep and looks like a tourist trap, but has views that are unmatched.
In stark contrast to the central city, we stayed on the second major island of Hong Kong, Kowloon. The vibe is certainly more provincial – lower income, lots of little markets, no suits. We visited a flower market, jade market, goldfish market (i.e. several street blocks full of store fronts overflowing with fish in plastic baggies and giant tanks), and a bird garden (where old men sit around with their pet birds in cages catching grasshoppers with chopsticks to feed them). It was certainly a different world from the sleek steel and custom suits on Hong Kong Island.
Highly recommended: take a trip just out of the city to Lantau Island, to see the giant stone Buddha on the mountain. The island also houses a really great Buddhist monastery, though the entrance looks like you’re in Disneyworld – like a cartoon-y version of what foreigners feel like China should look like, with actually cartoon characters everywhere. Despite the fact that it looks like a tourist trap, the sites are actually worth seeing.
More to come… promise.