Home and Resting.
BB and I have returned from Hong Kong and are back in our respective cities until Friday. It was a pair of very long flights for a very short time in Hong Kong, but we really had a wonderful time. Hong Kong is a great city. Just amazing. Very New Yorkish but cleaner and felt safer. Everything glittered. And the skyline, well, the Hong Kong skyline is among the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
I’m basically of the opinion that skyscrapers are just as natural as, say, anthills. They are a formation of crystals that grows where humans congregate in large societies – a natural formation that is a peculiar phenomenon arising from the strange chemical reaction we call “life”. So I find them beautiful is a wholly satisfying way, like a mountain range or a forest. And the HK skyline is set up so that in the evening they have city-wide light shows set to music, where dozens of buildings flash and shine in unison.
We ate great food (I even tried dim sum and survived!) and walked almost 50 miles in three days through the city. We saw the real markets that locals shop in and the sparkling high-end districts that visiting billionaires frequent. We went to the night market where everything is cheap and chintzy, and the malls where everything is so overpriced it’s ridiculous – spending simply to prove you can spend on things that don’t even have price tags.
We took ferries across the harbor, and to Macau. Macau is to Hong Kong like Atlantic City is to New York City. Full of casinos, and rapidly becoming poorer and seedier as you leave the strip. But it has some amazing colonial and pre-colonial sights, like the ruins of a massive cathedral and the A-Ma Temple, which predates the Portuguese colonization. It’s an hour on the jet boat from HK to Macau, and worth the trip even if you don’t gamble (we don’t).
The municipal parks in Hong Kong are free and beautiful, surprisingly expansive for being wedged into densely populated real estate. We saw aviaries and horticulture, and elegantly manicured stone paths. Much of Hong Kong has raised pedestrian walkways so you don’t have to fight traffic, and would be a parkour-practitioner’s paradise.
The weather was a mixed bag, with Saturday being dominated by monsoon rains, sheets of warmish water flung earthwards from a grey sky. Hong Kong can be done cheaply: $650 flights, seedy hotels, street food. Or you can spend $300,000 a day and still feel like your poorest friend. We had a lovely time on a reasonable budget and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, even if it was short and punctuated with a terrifying cable car ride and quease-inducing catamaran trip (I was ok until the lady next to me began using her seasickness bag copiously and noisily.).
A fine trip, better company, and worth the long travel time. Hong Kong has earned its place on the list of great world cities. Really one of my favorites. Now I’m going to rest for a few days and then get back to things.