This is from The Peak. You take a funicular cable car up a 45 degree slope for five minutes then ride up a series of 6 escalators, the last of which costs an additional $28 HK to reach the very tip-top...and now I know where they take those famous photos of the city. That was yesterday.
Today…I hopped a ferry to Kowloon to see about getting my name on a chop (a seal that has “Kyle” in Chinese characters carved into it). The concierge said The Jade Market might be a good place to look. But that area so reminded me of Bangkok with its traffic and crowds and people hawking everything and almost getting mauled in the Market to get me to buy something (albeit with none of the heat and humidity), I left within an hour and caught the metro back. Then I hopped an express bus to Stanley and got it done there on a deep blue stone polished to perfection with a soft white streak down one side. Cost me $25 US, but I like it. Now I just have to remember which end is up when I use it.
I’ve seen enough of Hong Kong. Parts of it are amazingly beautiful while parts are hideous. There really are some breathtaking skyscrapers, while so many other buildings just bring out a WTF reaction. The place is fairly clean -- the Metro was phenomenally so -- but I’ve seen areas that are trashed up, and don’t get me started on the narrow little alleyways. As for the people, I've decided they have this passive-aggressive sort of politeness going on. If you’re talking to them, they’re normally very helpful...to an extent; but man, if you’re in their way, they will shove you aside. And nothing, nothing, nothing is free.
As for the traffic -- it’s like this insane version of "chicken" when cars or busses or trucks need to change lanes or merge. I stood on the first floor walkway (our 2nd floor) of the China Resources Building, Thursday evening, and watched the ebb and flow along Gloucester Road of remarkably undamaged vehicles as taxis, vans and sedans zipped off a cross road to force their way into the backup. It was almost like ballet…no, Martha Graham style dancing is more like it. Very impressionistic.
It was a bright sunny day and a bit on the warm side, and even though I was using sun block, I still got pinked up around the nose and cheeks, and my brain (what little I have) got baked more than I expected. The bus back from Stanley stops in front of my hotel so I hopped off, sat in a nice hot tub for half an hour and took a nap, so now I’ll be up late.
Am I sorry I came? Not really. It actually sort of met my expectations as a place I’d like to see but not stay at for very long. Unfortunately, it’s also made me less interested in visiting Tokyo, and for sure no-place else in the Western Pacific Rim even begins to attract me.
Just call me Euro-centric.