Six months after announcing our journey to Southeast Asia, we began our adventure in Hong Kong, which remains one of my favourite cities in the world. Too bad my single visit was under the fog of extreme jetlag, missing Basil, and trying to adjust to a culture with little sensitivity for personal space.
Here are our first observations of Hong Kong, as elegantly written by Drew, on 3 January 2011.
1. Escalators here are really fast. I’m talking at least twice as fast as those in the US. I guess it’s necessary in a city with a population density greater than that of an industrial cattle feedlot in Kansas.
2. The number of luxury vehicles is insane. Brand new Mercedes and BMWs are the norm apparently. I have also seen at least five Bentleys in just one day. I have yet to figure out where they all park though.
3. Great cheap food. In three meals, we have yet to exceed $10 combined for the two of us. Great dumplings, noodle soups and pineapple buns. I have yet to see Orange Chicken on a menu.
4. There are a lot of tall buildings. To put it in perspective, there are over 8,000 skyscrapers in this city. The most of any city in the world. It’s like visiting Manhattan and every neighborhood looks like mid-town.
5. Cleanliness is godliness. The people of Hong Kong take germ fighting to an extreme. There is a body temperature scanner at the airport before you pass through customs (run a high temp and they can deny entry. It’s a preventative measure for Avian Flu). The elevator in our hotel has a sign that says it is sanitized every hour. The escalators have anti-bacterial solution sprayed on the railings. The Museum of Tea Ware is sanitized six times a day. There is $1000HK fee for feeding cats or birds because they cause dirtiness (weird to be in a major city and not seen even one pigeon). The subway system (MTR) does not allow drinks or food on the trains.
6. People here are definitely shorter. The handles in the subway car are significantly lower than on subway cars in New York or Boston. The shower head in our bathroom is very short. These are my people. I have arrived in my motherland.