Last week I indulged my addiction to airline food: from peaceful, beautiful, and grey Copenhagen, to the City of Lights for a quick transfer and a couple of glasses of bubbly, to beautiful Cape Town at a scorching 34° C, to an even hotter Johannesburg, to Hong Kong for an infusion of energy, and finally to idyllic New Zealand to celebrate a good friend's son's wedding.
This week I want to share a few thoughts and pictures of Hog Kong, a city I first visited in 1979. Even then, before its reversion to China, it was a bustling city. But the bustle was offset by the pervasive colonial lifestyle enjoyed by the ex-pats. Fortunately a cousin who lived there was able to show me around, introduce me to some of his friends, so I often had company as I toured the amazing city state.
|Tall, short, new, old - Hong Kong|
Today Lantau is the site of the new Hong Kong International Airport, a massive, modern, efficient hub to almost every airline. No more the curved approach to the old airport, dodging hills and skyscrapers, with the sea waiting patiently at the end of the runway.
Each time I have visited Hong Kong, I've been struck by its energy and growth. But this time I was more than struck - I was blown away. New buildings are going up everywhere, and the sky is filled with cranes. Huge numbers of people have moved there, mainly from China proper, but also from every country on the planet. The Hong Kong government website has this to say:
At the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong covers Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula lies Victoria Harbour, one of the world's most renowned deep-water harbours.
Hong Kong's population was approximately 7.24 million in 2014. People of Chinese descent comprise the vast majority of the population, with foreign nationals comprising 8%.By comparison, New York City is 790 square kilometres with a density of 10,750 per square kilometre. However, if one only takes the developed part of Hong Kong, the population density is over 26,000 per kilometre.
It is a city of huge contrasts, rich and poor, old (some) and new (lots), original and fake.
Other than walking, walking, and walking, and being accosted every other step either to have a suit and shirts made by the next day or to buy a genuinely fake Rolex, I took Mette to a delightful hang-over from colonial times, namely Afternoon Tea at the iconic Peninsula Hotel. I am sure, not that long ago, that the clientele would have been almost exclusively White. Now one sees a White face or two, every now and again.
|One has to arrive in style|
|The tea room - full every day|
|The presentation is pretty good|
I think it's a city well worth visiting, but, if you do so, make sure you have the time to travel outside the building limits to the New Territories or to some of the islands.
Here are our pictures.
|14 stories of bamboo scaffolding|
|The view from the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong island|
|Luxury goods are everywhere|
|Real luxury, but fakes are everywhere|
|The Chinese like gold.|
|The Chinese love gold!|
|Even odd gold|
|Chow Tai Fook jewellers are on every block|
|Lots of colours|
|There are watches for sale everywhere - not all gebuine|
|People, cars, buildings|
|Chestnuts, Hong Kong style|
|Oh to be in the air-conditioning business|
|Beautiful old trees are supported.|
|Buy, buy, buy!|
|Even Marks and Sparks is there.|
|Hong Kong - an amazing place to visit|