They say that Hong Kong never stops. It was certainly going when I arrived on Hong Kong Island about 11.00pm just before Christmas. In the Northern hemisphere – out with the winter woollies. Hey wait a minute – it is really quite warm here! Quickly remove a layer or two. It ends up being pretty warm the next day. In fact it remains that way my entire stay. Not quite as warm as in NZ, but after all it is winter time in HK. Imagine how hot it must feel in summer!
The hotel is in the mid-levels above the centre of HK Island. Right beside the escalator – this goes for about a kilometre or so up the side of the mountain. Very practical. It only goes one way at a time – so it goes down in the morning and up in the afternoon/evening. Absolutely wonderful way to be able to live above the hustle and bustle that is HK! the photo here is not a toy scenery. It is a (not very good) choir singing carols. The Christmas tree was huge and the models beside the stage were as well. Just shows that you should not look down too much on people. you can lose your sense of perspective!
Christmas is not a big thing in Hong Kong. Shops stay open throughout the festive days. The real difference to be observed is that there are even more people on the pavement. So a trip to escape all that along to the tram that goes up to the Mt Victoria peak and….”No I don’t think I want to wait three hours in that queue….I know! there must be a bus that goes up…..” Ten minutes later, the wind up at the peak tears through my warm layers – it is colder today!….Still it is a clear day without too much pollution (not too many of those in HK) and a brisk walk down the side of the mountain will make sure I stay warm. Maybe Mr Hu has ordered the weather to be clear for a few days. After all the government rules everything else.
Wander through the Christmas decorations. Sure, they might not really celebrate Christmas as much as in a Western country, but they are always ready to take advantage of any commercial possibility. So the Christmas decorations are colourful and have as much to do with religion as they would in any other country. Shops here are always colourful, but even more so now. I wonder how much more colourful they will be at Chinese New Year in a few weeks time.
Christmas Day dawns over a still busy HK. Shops open, crowds abound and touts selling suits are as busy as ever. I wonder why they always pick on me…. “ask a real Hong Kong person.” I say to one of them. He just smiles and wanders away, not at all put off by my rebuff. Walking through shopping centres – you can’t avoid them in HK – the whole place is a shopping centre. you can get anything here – if you know where to look of course. New Serengeti’s – not a problem – polarised and photochromic at half the price that I saw them in NZ. It is quite good that I lost my Raybans. I do see better with even my old Serengeti’s let alone these ones! And yes I do use them while in HK. It is not as bright as NZ, but definitely bright enough for me not to want to encourage any more wrinkles!
So Christmas dinner – in an Irish pub, with a buffet dinner. I can have a Guinness!! Even better, I can have a Kilkenny at this pub. There is a Christmas gift that I open there – a Guinness LED torch. Must be Irish – it does not work very well! Either that or made in China – the pub is lovely. Lots of ex-pats. Even a few Australians hoping that their team might not collapse in the cricket test the following day LOLOLOLOL……the English newspapers are full of the fact that the Australians are such bad losers. well the NZ cricket team are really good losers. They practise it all the time! A most pleasant time. I emerged well fed and watered!
A walk through the SOHO area and Lan Kwai Fong the colourful trend continues. These are fashionable eating places. In fact there is better value to be had just one block away, where prices are around 60% of the prices here, but it is certainly very festive tonight. Noisy but very well controlled. No drunken louts here. Merely people enjoying themselves, meeting other people and – well if they spend a little more on the food than they might otherwise, is that such a problem?
My final day in HK was a walk along the waterfront. Not quite as many negative Ions as walking down in the bush, but a very warm day meant that I had to find somewhere to strip off lower layers without being seen – Isn’t that some kind of offence…? Well, nobody saw,so nobody complained, no problem!
This has been a most colourful and enjoyable time in HK. A nice way to spend the festive season without too much rushing around, but many images of Christmas!