. It just feels a little colder and more sterile. It is a similar feeling to that we experienced between moving from backpacker hostels to a holiday-inn esque 30 storey hotel. It's lost a little of what makes it special. Not that sterile is a bad thing - Singapore does it in style, because it is brilliantly clean and there are little in the way of street hawkers - but you still get that occasionally in Hong Kong being peddled suits and Hashish as you walk past Chungking mansions (not mansions at all, but skyscrapers filled with mini communities of backpackers, prostitutes and drug-addicts (or so we've heard)). Hong Kong is a little like London, but taller, and with a smattering less culture.
We arrived here after a turbulent flight which I did not enjoy in the slightest "please put your seat belts on as we are currently heading through some turbulence" - Yes, I figured that out thank you very much. I may not be a pilot, but I can tell that a plane isn't meant to rock violently. Taxi to the hotel, splashing out here. The 30th floor (yes, the top floor) would be our temporary home before we were going to move across town to another hotel (YWCA). It offered views from Tsing Yi island across the container port over to Kowloon and the views were magnificent. The hotel offered little past a comfortable bed and a couple of free toothbrushes - I like the extra family feel you get from a hostel. On the first full day in Hong Kong we visited the nearby Ngong Ping 360 cable car to yet another Giant Buddha (biggest sitting down one or something)
. A very enlightening trip as we learnt about the beginning of Buddhism through a theatre cartoon show and we strolled around some Buddhist artefacts. Just a bit of a shame when you are being sold an idea based on not requiring material objects for the theatre to lead out directly into a Buddhism orientated gift shop. The shame of it all.
A buffet dinner at the hotel enabled Kate to sample some Ox-tongue which she greatly enjoyed while we both ate our weight in food. A bottle of wine and we felt we were back in civilisation.
Just a quick update as time is tight on these computers. Will update the rest of our Hong Kong stay when we get to Nanning on our way to vietnam!
Hong Kong is not expensive whatever any traveller tells you. Hong Kong is exactly the price you should expect from a city with loads of business people and most of the tallest buildings in the world (less the Burj Kalifa). The mistake people (travellers) make is to associate it with China. They are very definately two different places. Hong Kong is a mixture, a coctail of soaring humidity and heat, Hong Kong (chinese/british mix) people and some British tendencies and for these reasons it can be very likeable. But for a couple of reasons it can also be a little too much. The driving is back to normality, erratic is gone and the incessant beeping is no more. I miss it a little. Signs remind you everywhere of bad hygiene such as spitting and the spreading of germs when you have a cold (a knock on effect of SARS a few years back). Order appears to be the name of the game now, with queuing developing a civilised manner and some kind of politeness enveloping the subways. No longer are we stared at, we are normal now. What you gain in civility however, you lose in the buzz, the feel, the atmosphere of the place