Two faces of Hong Kong

A week of being back in Hong Kong… Time has flown by this week with a plethora of diploma exams. However there has been a little time for other things. Time to look around…look for places I remember from last time i was here. Much is familiar but many changes have occurred in the three years since I last spent a long time here. The nice Japanese restaurant next door …😯. The great bar where we watched the ABs in that heart-failing Rugby World Cup final of 2011…gone 😕 Optometrist. …still there ☺ New glasses ordered😎. Frozen yoghurt bar….gone 😰
Perhaps I am more mindful of the differences between NZ and HK now. They say Hong Kong never sleeps…. try to find a shop open before 10 or 11am. Agreed they stay open late into the evening. However before 10am Hong Kong sleeps… I am working at the top floor of the Festival Walk shopping mall in Kowloon Tong…about 6 or 7 floors up by the time you count lower ground 1 and 2 and ground, upper ground….well you get the picture. Going up the escalators at 8.30 in the morning the place is almost completely empty. You could swing a Ragdoll cat (!) and it wouldn’t hit anybody. In fact the top escalators are turned off.

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Emerge from my little cell about 10.15 and there are a few people around. Mostly along at the foodhall at the far end. Come lunchtime…well I made the mistake of going to buy some lunch. It was a 15 minute wait before I was able to find a seat and eat the lunch. 15 minutes in this deafening roar of humanity….. and I had yet to eat.
Here a few shots of Festival Walk. It is a fairly upmarket mall with lots of trendy (read “silly money”) shops.

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But there’s more…Last night I was over on Hong Kong Island. This was a shot I took in one of the walkways.
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Excuse the slight lack of focus. Hong Kong people are impatient people, mostly in a rush…I decided that I would like to walk 3 kilometres back to my hotel and my stewards had orders to go with me to make sure I arrived safely…from the reaction, I realised I would need to go with them in a taxi…for which we waited 15 minutes as the traffic crawled painfully past. In fact we didn’t get one until I suggested we move to another street….
Back to my story…Having taken the photo above I turned around to find a square almost empty of people so I took this photo below.
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There are beautiful sights here. These shots are taken from my hotel room.
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I could watch some of the daily laser light show from here. However new large buildings here have impeded the view somewhat…
So now to turn the other cheek…in a manner of speaking…..we are talking of the two FACES of Hong Kong…..

Today I went on a tramp. Five minutes by taxi from Wanchai (close to Central on Hong Kong Island) over Violet Hill to Stanley. Starting the walk about 6.45 and arriving in heat of 27 degrees into Stanley about 9.20. So I turned off the phone…which felt quite liberating really….more in another outburst another time…..and off we went straight up the hill.
I have too many spectacular shots from this walk to include. However what struck me was how close we were to built up areas of Hong Kong yet how far away in terms of environment. We saw a few birds…heard rather more….and saw no footed animals larger than a few butterflies, spiders and dragonflies – no snakes! Apart from that I revelled in the spectacular scenery amid the backdrop of Hong Kong from a rather different perspective. I will stop my verbosity and let the photos tell the story.

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So we arrived at Stanley about 9.20. Generally full of people, you can see from the following shot of the Stanley market that there was nobody around or open.
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We cooled down with a very nice Mövenpick Sorbet and my first coffee since my arrival here and then wandered along the boardwalk….

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…..after which we wandered through the market which was still….at 10.35….empty.

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So while Hong Kong is so busy in the buit up areas, it is relatively simple to escape the urban areas, which according to Wikipedia, make up less than 25% of the total area. There are indeed two faces of Hong Kong.

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About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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