Hong Kong, ChinaFebruary 22, 2015 in Hong Kong
This was long anticipated and lived up to it's reputation as the commerce capital of the world. You could truly buy anything in Hong Kong and it seemed that during the Chinese New Year the many tourists from China were doing just that. We came in to a rather foggy day but it cleared a little during the day and we got to see the sights from the upper deck of the bus going from Stanley to the Central city. The public buses are $1 and have an upper deck that can be like a thrill ride as the driver zips around the turns of the winding roads going over the mountain. From the to you look down on the water below without the benefit of seeing the road or anything below you. It can be a little harrowing.
The local markets have a lot of cheap stuff that is not just inexpensive but also cheap. The shopping malls on the other hand (of which we are told there are 48 "major" malls in the city) carry everything that has a name brand on it. The window displays show jewelry that have US$200,000 price tags. I am assuming that if you want to buy some of the things in the window that cost more then that and didn't have price tags you had to actually talk to a sales person. :-) The real estate is also quite expensive. The photo below is of a small apartment in the city of about 500 sq ft for a little over $833,000 US. Needless to say we didn't get the summer place we were thinking about when we went shopping. :-)
Where all this money is coming from is amazing but they get almost as many tourists as the US does every year so it comes from somewhere.
One night we took the subway to the area called the "night market". I suspect this is what people think of when they think of Hong Kong. It was busy and alive but most of the food hanging on racks in restaurants were unidentifiable to westerners and the general atmosphere said "seedy" although it seemed to be very safe as well. We walked the back alleys in some of the areas without too much concern. We were not brave enough to sit down for a dinner of chicken feet and duck tongue (or at least that is what we thought it was). :-)
All in all a great two day stop. I have never seen as many people in one place as we did in the temple we went to on the last day of the New Years celebration. We went to one of the lower end areas where it was mainly public housing but the temple there got about 100,000 a day during the New Year so it was a pilgrimage of sorts for the Hong Kong people. It is a Buddist/Tao temple but is sort of non denominational in that just about al the religions come to pray/wish for good luck for the coming year . It was crowded and smoky but it was very interesting to just watch people. Plus we got to rub the foot of the statue for our year sign (I am a rat and Nancy is a dog) so we should have good luck all year. :-)Read more