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Published: January 12th 2009
After 26 hours of traveling, a detour to Seoul, Korea, and an early morning plane change in Seoul we set foot on Hong Kong island. Something about stong head winds, low fuel, and then the need for a new flight crew added the unexpected additional 7 hours to our flight. But, after a short nap and shower we were ready to see how much Hong Kong had changed since we were last there in 1998.
The first thing that we noticed was the additional skyscrapers along both sides of the Harbor. The new IFC Tower 2 now dwarfs the former tallest building, the Bank of China. Soon the IFC 2 will become the second tallest when the new building on the Kowloon side is completed. The practice of land reclamation continues along the harbor and the buildings just keep being built.
Our next discovery was the increase of smog over both Hong Kong island and the mainland areas of Kowloon. The views on both sides were greatly obscured on both sides and the air quality bothered our eyes and throats. We were pleased to see it improve a bit as the days passed.
Another big surprise was Macau.
It was once a sleepy little Portuguese colony an hour's boat ride from Hong Kong. It has turned into a gambling mecca. The casino area of Macau is reported to be bigger than Las Vegas. We couldn't recognize anything except for the ruins of St. Paul's cathedral.
Hong Kong is a fairly easy city to navigate with a great Metro, a good bus system, and the many ferries that cross the harbor on a frequent basis. We were able to cover most of the top spots and give our friend, who was there for the weekend, a whirlwind tour.
One of my great joys of Hong Kong is the food. We had many tasty dishes, bowls of soups, dim sum, and yummy Chinese pastries. The food is always an adventure and usually a pleasant treat.
We are now in Bangkok enjoying it's sights and spicy hot food. Well, I'm enjoying the food, it's a struggle for Ron. We'll have more on the Bangkok stop in the next installment.
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