Yesterday was a really long day. Like I mentioned in my previous post, we have a pretty basic room and even that’s a euphemism. On the one hand, it keep us out exploring the city. On the other hand, it can get tiring to just be out all day. We began our morning checking out the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which I’m counting on Joylani to write about. Afterwards, we took a ferry across Victoria Harbor to Hong Kong Island. From the ferry terminal, there were elevated walkways to Exchange Square, kind of the center of the aptly named “Central” district. We explored inside the nearby International Finance Center, which had malls and shops on the lower levels. Besides realizing more and more how expensive everything was (even at the grocery store), I got a feel for HK work life. There’s a lot of foreigners all around, ostensibly working for the major financial firms. But its busy, busy, busy. People are all walking somewhere. They eat and talk while they walk, rather than sit or stand around. It’s a very fast-paced place. Joylani said she doesn’t feel relaxed at all here. One interesting thing is that many of the buildings are connected by elevated walkways. I mean, I think you could walk for miles without going on the ground. You could just from building to building, mall to mall via walkways. And in fact, there’s even a 800 meter escalator that takes people up a hill in HK (see first photo). It runs through a busy commercial district and you can just get on and off every 50 meters or so. While kind of weird, it was useful in going up the hill from Central. We stopped off for some lunch and then continued up to the end, from where we walked to Hong Kong Park.
Joylani with HK island skyline behind her
one of the many Star Wars-esque walkways that criss-cross HK
checking out rainy HK from the Observation Deck of the Bank of China building
It had been raining all, so the park wasn’t much fun. But we stopped in at a Tea Museum. Before this trip, Joylani and I were both tea lovers and I think this trip has almost turned it into a hobby. The tea museum is the latest in our education. It was a small museum, but well presented. It had everything from ancient tea-related antiques to displays on how tea and tea-drinking has evolved. It’s a bit of a boring thing to write about, but ask us if you want to know a few tidbits about tea history. After the tea museum, it was back down the hill to the HK (name here), which overlooks the harbor and Kowloon on the other side. It was kind of a disappointment, as it was still raining and overcast and viewing access was restricted by a convention that was going on. We were pretty tired by this point and snacked a bit. If this is starting to sound like a list of things we did, it kind of felt like that too. We headed up the hill again and took a tram up to “The Peak,” from where amazing views of HK could be had. But again, it was still overcast and raining and so our view was nil. Just a big expanse of grey clouds. I was pretty disappointed, because seeing the view from the peak was the number one thing I wanted to do in HK. Discouraged, we headed back down the mountain and ate before returning to our little cube of a room for the night.
two photos, very different, but both quintessential Hong Kong
Today we left Hong Kong. The train to Shanghai runs every other day, so it was either today or day after tomorrow. We both could’ve stayed another day in HK, but two more days was stretching it. We had originally planned to stay two or three full days, but our one full day was enough for us. Hong Kong was interesting in a few ways, but I feel like about it like I did about Singapore: it’d be a nice place to work or live, but isn’t that great a place to visit (although I doubt I’d ever want to live in HK). Everything from accommodation to food was insanely expensive (close to US prices). Perhaps things could have been different though. It rained continuously the whole time we were there, which not only made exploring less comfortable but limited (HK Park) and denied (The Peak) our attempts to see some attractions. On the other hand, it’s still a city with shopping and sightseeing the main activities. I didn’t really dislike HK (in the sense that I disliked Vietnam), but I it fell well short of my expectations, given that it was one of the cities I was most looking forward too. For the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be content to just read about the goings on in HK in the WSJ.