Two weeks in Hong Kong

    So... I took off for the other face of the planet, for a period of two weeks, in january 2000, mostly to work with Enlight Software, but also to have a chance to visit the place.
    In the end, I didnt reserve myself that much time to visit, but still I think I had a chance to get a feel of Hong Kong, walking most of the districts around, seeing a good part of whats to be seen, and taking a good score of pictures.
    I invite you to this later part, as there is still no way to share actual memories :).
    However, I used throwaway cameras for the job, and that meant most of the fifty or so night shots I took finished screwed up. Thats a shame as the night sights are a real important part of the experience, but I cant make that up. I will next time I go there :)

General views


Classic sights

Nathan Road



Night shots

Ocean Park

Cheung Chau

Games !

Enlight people

    One of the global feelings I have after returning (one week now) is to be in some alien economic world. Let me explain. Hong Kong has no resource, no mine, no field, extremely little fishing, no factories or real manufacturing. The economy there has no root, no base. The only existence of the city is trade, which means it rely on other places to survive. Most shops also exist only because there is a lot of people to cater for, and these people have a salary because they work in these shops... Do you follow me ? It all feels like a balloon. Has it reached its blowing point ?
    It would be a startling thought even without the recent return to a communist state line modern China, the next superpower, which will soon be able to challenge global rulings, in my opinion.

    Another funnier thought is that the hong kongers, in fact, never move. Its not about the fact that the city isnt very large, or that the countryside around is pretty small (if you dont count China, of course). But they have a real host of public transportation, ranging from the usual cabs, buses, subways, on which they add trams, ferrys and minibuses. And most of the town is vertical, anyway, and noone would even be thinking about climbing those 14 floors using the stairs. So, they use lifts, enter cars, exit cars to enter lifts, and so on. They hardly need to use any muscle at all :)

    The most impressive elements of the city are of the skycrapers, overwhelming around you at all time, but that is probably the same in Manhattan, for instance. Tied with that are all the neon decorations, linked with the new year or not.
    The sheer number of people in some areas like Mong Kok, said to be among the most densely populated areas of the planets, is also great. This kind of density is reached in Paris in the Paris underground in busy hours only, and on the Champs when we just won the world cup :).
    As you've seen in the shots, the bamboo story is a thing apart, perhaps its the same in the whole Asia ?
    Something I didnt see is the Typhoons, for the good period is more like August or September. I was told trees and truck containers were flying around !
    When you're in Central most buildings are quite new, and some are great sights, among which the Bank of China was designed to be part. But back in the rest of the city, and more so in Kowloon, a large deal date back to the fifties or so, and start looking derelict, dusty, and even crumbling. This is pretty uncommon in a capital, or in some unprivileged suburbs, but not really in the heart of the cities.
    What else ? I was quite surprised when I understood there were different sort of banknotes, at least different designs. This is explained by the fact that three banks have right to create money here, the banks of china, of hong kong, and the standard chartered. I dont think this is the case anywhere else.
    I was also suspicious to see any pet dogs or cats, but at some points I noticed a few. There probably isnt much anyway.
    I didnt even mention the food ! Thanks to the fact that I was working with chinese, I have been presented with quite a lot of local dishes. I tried everything, but didnt like all. Globally I would say I liked it a lot, and our own western chinese restaurants dont live up to the real thing. Being a rice lover I had nice moments, and I discovered a few great stuffs, like the dim suns, or other meat dishes. Soups were more or less interesting, often populated with strange floating thingies. You can feel the british just left when you notice the drinking of tea throughout the whole meals. No alcohol was ever served. Desserts are perhaps the most exotic part, and the most difficult to adapt to. I never get used to any non-western dessert, missing sugar, eggs, chocolate, fruits, ice creams and all combinations. But with the score of all types of restaurants, you can find anything, or even rely on McDonald's for a fast hamburger, although they close up at ten !

Muad Dib