Hong Kong by night

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of Hong Kong  ,
Friday, December 16, 2005

Hong Kong by night is even more awesome than by day. People finish work and hit the streets to eat and shop. A million neon lights suck the power from all over southern China in a retail addicted version of Las Vegas, where the biggest and brightest usually gets the sale.

It's consumerism and materialism gone wild and as usual, in the most incongruous place now that China has taken over the reins. Fortunately they seem to have worked out the 'One country, two systems' policy and Hong Kong (and probably neighbouring Macau too) seem to operate with a great deal of autonomy. I certainly didn't notice any form of undue Chinese influence during my time here.

So we were up the Peak at the end of the last entry. We adjourned for a hot chocolate and a beer and returned to the viewpoint half an hour later to find this to savour. Residential and commercial buildings on both sides and from one end of the channel to the other combine to provide a light show that is probably visible from Mars if anyone cared to look. Still, pretty spectacular so we lingered here to get some fuzzy self portraits despite the cold. One or two came out which was good.

Back down the hill and over the water to Kowloon we went. Apparently every night of the year a lightshow is held at 8pm utilising 20 or 30 buildings on the Hong Kong island side of the water, making the Kowloon waterfront the prime area to watch the show. Music and light are combined in a bizarre but compelling symphony that runs for about 10 minutes of flashing bulbs and zapping lasers. It must have been a challenge choreographing such a grand lightshow! Due to Christmas the show is even more spectacular due to the heavily decorated buildings, many with complex Season's Greetings messages along entire sides of the structures.

As it's the centre of retail activity, Kowloon certainly hasn't missed out on the lights. The swanky Peninsula Hotel is awash with stars floating like champagne bubbles in the breeze above the drive and outside guest windows. The Cultural Centre next to the Star Ferry terminal is a pulsing rainbow of colours up its strangely shaped sides.

And Christmas just keeps on giving around here. No expense has been spared on the decorations and they are everywhere, blinking and flashing day and night. It's possible that the cost of energy is largely responsible for Hong Kong's high prices and cost of living.

Probably should mention the food too - we had some top notch western and Chinese meals here, and I drank the first red wine I've had for 6 months which was a real treat. The food is great but expensive, and even we baulked at one restaurant which was selling predominantly intestines, bile ducts and snouts (there was definitely a lot of the first on the menu anyway). Southern Chinese seem to eat anything, so if you're looking for culinary adventures, this is a place to find them.

Good meals and views with Dad were especially enjoyable times so thanks for coming and visiting mate, and read on for our excellent expedition to Lantau Island.

Next entry -> Out of town on Lantau Island

You've spent too much time backpacking in South East Asia when...

1) You laugh heartily and then automatically add at least 20% on to any travel time estimate given to you by an Asian travel agent

2) You have no avian flu concerns and you eat as many chicken dishes as possible in the hope that the rooster that keeps waking you up at 4am every morning might end up on your plate

3) You're quite content continually walking through construction zones

4) You can't remember the last time you had a hot shower

5) You automatically say 'No thanks' to anyone approaching you in the street

6) You start to think that buying a motor scooter might be a good idea when you get home

7) Everything in your backpack, and the backpack itself, is a counterfeit item

8) You wear only t-shirts with local beer branding on them

9) Drinking tap water seems very strange indeed

10) You start to think you may as well litter because you realise that anything put in the bin will be dumped or burnt anyway

11) You automatically remove your shoes/flip flops going into any building

12) You now weigh the same as you did when you were 14 years old

Fortunately some of these haven't happened yet and I've managed to escape before they do...
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