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Hong Kong

By marksams, 03/03/2010 - 13:07

Hong Kong spans a number of islands with "Hong Kong island" hosting the modern metropolis (American-style with some English and Chinese touches) where we spent most of our time, exploring the multiple dimensions of pedestrian routes that all merge into one complicated web of modern design. Once a fishing village, now 100% modern with no transitional elements or places of historical significance to visit. And it's not just streets, bridges and buildings - everything is designed for maximum integration with its surroundings, and it seems quite normal to traverse commercial buildings, shopping centres, apartment buildings and sports facilities at various levels with most walking done above street level. Restaurant and cafe culture exists at all levels. When we asked why there were so many normal-looking women eating, drinking, and partying in small cardboard-fenced groups along the walkways, we were told that the maids, mostly from the Philippines, do this every Sunday - "only in Hong Kong!".

The city is vibrant and very bright at night (with a 'symphony of light' in the harbour at 8pm) , and a lot of people around, especially at the weekend when the streets and public transport is overflowing. Only prestige or custom private cars share the streets with numerous buses, taxis and trams. The public transport is very good, essential for so many people in one location. Everyone is really friendly and we felt safe at all times. If travelling to Hong Kong from the African bush as we did, be prepared for a claustrophobic-city shock and the various smells that are produced by so much human activity. We managed to escape the metropolis for a day with a nice visit to a neighbouring island, Cheung Chau, which is relatively quiet with fishing and some tourism industry - and a notably 'low carbon' culture.