25 August 2009

Trip Report: Hong Kong

It is hard to fault any city that has an entire street devoted to fish & aquarium stores. So it is that I came to like Hong Kong.

Our weekend in the city was planned on a whim. Though Harmony had been twice, I had yet to visit. How could I live in China and not see their most prized Special Administrative Region?

We spent two days wandering the markets in Kowloon, gawking at the lights of Hong Kong Island from the deck of the Star Ferry, and riding the escalators in 15-story shopping malls.

We were only a short boat ride from China's mainland, but the differences in freedoms was astonishing to me. We actually were able to watch a Tarantino film at the theater ... at the theater! And it wasn't edited beyond recognition ... recognition!

I came to like Hong Kong, but I didn't fall in love with it. Its the city that Shanghai aspires to be. Its clean. Its orderly. Its shiny metal and polished glass. I have never seen a city with more shopping malls per capita than Hong Kong and each tries to pack in more Western luxury brand names than the one down the street. Its hard to love a city if it doesn't stand for something unique ... something compelling. The 'sameness' that pervades Hong Kong is the very thing that brings in the tourists from China's mainland and abroad.

I'm not saying we can't be friends. Besides ... they do have an entire street devoted to goldfish ... goldfish!

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