Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Hong Kong


The similarities between the economies of Hong Kong and Singapore are undeniable. Competition in trade and finance between the 2 islands is fierce. Both are trying to be Asia's regional arts hub. I'm not too concerned about high stakes art auctions. I'm still miffed that Sigur Ros played in Hong Kong and not Singapore. Don't even get me started on the rest of the bands. Anyway, we've fundamental differences in terms of culture and politics; we can't be more dissimilar.

The island is a very interesting study for political science, and perhaps for sociology. Its systems and political opinions are supremely interesting. It has always been at the forefront of change, perhaps due to the mindsets of the people, and they're now settled in for another paradigm shift. I've a little bit of a problem associating Hong Kong with China. The vibe is so different, although I'm not sure if another 10 years would change the essence of the city.

Hong Kong has never really been on my travel radar. Like how @joooness puts it, tourism ads exhorting the island's virtues are all about "eat, shop and happening nightlife". That, is just a tad annoying. Can someone mention about its outlying smaller islands, trekking routes and walking trails, scenic spots, farms and the quaint villages? To me, Hong Kong, like London, is simply not a vacation spot. It's a 'doing' sort of place- conferences, meetings, work, other friends. I'm not big on Chinese cuisine (except for its stewed abalone and stir-fry green vegetables!). Pork and chicken don't feature in my diet. I'm not bothered about the shopping either.

The last time I was in the city was seven years ago. It was a five-day affair with the now-no-longer-friends-but-acquaintances. That was a complete disaster- four girls who 'promised' one another to do everything together on this trip. I underestimated the shopping trait in them. Despite them promising to indulge me to check out a nature trail or two, they did nothing but shop all day and eat dim sum. I nearly died. I asked if they had any interest in doing other things. By the afternoon of the second day, I threw a tantrum, checked into another hotel which I very much preferred, extended the stay by another two days on my own! Yay! Changed my return flight to my preferred airline and wilfully refused to join them thereafter. I went trekking and climbing in Po Toi Island. That salvaged some good memories of the city.

With a slight feeling of trepidation and a whole lot of excitement, I'm back in the city for a couple of days on an itinerary that's rather pleasing. It has now firmed up to exclude trekking and canoeing. That's okay because I've had my fill in Bali. I'm just over the moon that the trip doesn't feature shopping stops. So what I am doing in Hong Kong?

6 comments:

tuti said...

ah, the bane of travelling with 'un-like-minded' folks.
good you managed to salvage the other 3/4 of your trip then.

Pebbles said...

oh my. That was just so inconsiderate of them!

sinlady said...

what?

JoMel said...

I would have been annoyed too, if my travelling companions were to shop and eat and do nothing else, especially if the place is new to me, unless that's the pre-arranged and agreed upon agenda, in which case, I probably wouldn't make them my travelling companions. :P

I can't comment on its shopping scene since I've not been there, but I do think that the authenticity of its Cantonese cuisine is something that we don't find so readily available here, except in finer dining setting where chefs are flown in... so, yeah! I definitely want to experience HK for its Cantonese cuisine! Among other things...

But you no like Chinese cuisine..

So, what will feature this time eh? :)

joooness said...

Sounds like an awful experience.. I'm sure this trip will make up for the bad memories you had!

The only time I see a different side of HK (apart from ads) would be from TVB dramas & movies. There was this huge protest recently to preserve some old buildings in HK on Wing Lee Street. I only found out after watching 'Echoes of the Rainbow' :p

imp said...

tuti: luckily!

pebbles: different interests lah. and i was too young to do the separate things thingy. now i know better.

sinlady: coffee. friends. :D

jomel: i like their porridge and noodles. i can do soups too!

joooness: heheh. my other impressions of HK is really from tv serials!