27 Feb 2007

The Pearl of the Orient, I love Hong Kong

Hong Kong is amazing. It is still the Pearl of the Orient!

My main purpose for this trip was to see a Kunqu performance "The Peach Blossom Fan", which is done beautifully, and I am so glad I saw it. Of course, shopping is a must do thing for me. After spending four days there, I must say I really like Hong Kong, and I would love to relocate there if possible. Hong Kong has excellent transportation system that makes life there so easy and convenient.

It is such an urban city where you can find whatever you want from the inexpensive to the high-end. Everything is grouped in the northern part of the Hong Kong Island and in the south of Kowloon. Walking in this area, you get to see the latest trends. It is new, urban, and international. This is the glamorous outfit of the city that presents the city as the superstar and attracks our eyes. This is the modern and trendy Hong Kong, a top city that competes with New York, Tokyo, and London.

In the meantime, you also see something that is so old and traditional in the small alleys behind the new, tall, and glassy buildings. These alleys are where you can discover and experience the old but true Hong Kong. It records the history of the Pearl of the Orient and supplies the city with rich cultures. Its existence seems to contradict the new look of the city, but it is this contradiction that highlights the advantage of Hong Kong and makes Hong Kong an interesting place to walk around. It is a place that offers both the new and the old and blends cultural differences.

Indeed, Hong Kong is so small with so many people. If the crowd really annoys you, you can always go to the south of the Hong Kong Island or other remote islands. I spent a nice afternoon just strolling around the beach in the south of the Hong Kong Island. Then my friend took me to Stanley Market just a bit further south for shopping. This Market offers a wide range of selections. I truly enjoyed my time there, and the inexpensive clothes there were very intriguing.

Talking about shopping, I think I should live in Hong Kong. It has everything I need. We spent a lot of time in Central, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sa Tsui. Though the discount season is finished, I still had a great time doing window shopping. My friend also took me to the west of Hong Kong Island for shopping in warehouses. (In fact, it is my request) There you can find warehouses for Joyce, Bluebell, Lancrawford and Prada. To my surprise, there were many people, especially foreigners, in this kind of residential and kind of industrial area. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed because there were not many items left after the discount season.

The food in Hong Kong is just amazing. My favorite is Dim-sum. It is good to travel with a local. My friend insisted that I must try Dim-sum at Maxim's Palace in the City Hall. The place was packed with people, both locals and tourists. I guess Lonely Planet must have listed this place in its Hong Kong guide. It is truly worth waiting. I have also tried the Dim-sum and the food in Yong Kee Restaurant(鏞記酒家), but I prefer Dim-sum in the City Hall. Yong Kee Restaurant is one of the world's best restaurants, and their food really tastes divine. I agree with my friend that the service and the ambience of Yong Kee Restaurant is way better than the one in the City Hall.

I love local food, especially the everyday food. My friend took me to a breakfast place close to my hotel, and I just love their ice milk tea. It tastes so different. You can never find them anywhere else. In addition, they serve macaroni in clear soup as breakfast. It is in fact a bit strange to have macaroni in the morning and in clear soup. This is Hong Kong where what used to be considered as western has been adapted to be a part of the culture of Hong Kong. I also had my afternoon tea in Hong Kong. My friend took me to Amber at the Landmark Madarin Oriental for afternoon tea. It was fantastic! They got extremely delicious sushi topped with fresh sashimi. The afternoon tea provides a good selection of cakes and chocolates, which is wonderful because I am a big fan of them. The quality of food and the service of Amber have proved that Landmark Madarin Oriental is truly the world's best hotel.

I stayed in L'hotel Causeway Bay Harbour View, which is a very nice hotel. It is new and clean, and the price is good. Though the view of my room is blocked a bit by the other buliding, I still had a good view of the Victorian Park. It is located right across from the Tin Hau tube station that makes it very easy for tourists. This area was a small fisherman's village, but you don't really get that ambience now. There were two nice old temples right in this area, one is the Tin Hau Temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea, and the other is the Lotus Temple dedicated to the goddess of compassion. They are both historical sites for tourists and are both the spiritual home for local residents. Religions are very important to Chinese, and temles usually serve as a community centre where local residents meet and chat.

When holidays come, temples are always packed with people who come to pray for good luck. I went to the Huang Da-Xian Temple(黃大仙廟)long time ago, and I think it was a good idea to check out that place agian this time. Huang Da-Xian temple is a very famous one in Hong Kong. Actually I think it may be the most famous temple there. When I got there, I found the area has changed a lot, and the temple seemed bigger now. Due to the Chinese Lunar New Year, there were so many people in the temple, and I had to queue to get in. Of course, it is impossible to really pray in a proper way, which means to hold incense sticks and pray. All I could do was just following the crowd. I did not stay long there because the buring incense was so strong that I had to leave for fresh air.

This is really a fun trip. I did not expect that I would have such a great time in Hong Kong. I thought four days would be way enough for this trip, but I was wrong. In fact, my firend told me that there are still a lot of places that I should check out, especially the remote islands where I could find nice and quiet beaches. Maybe I should plan another trip to Hong Kong again. Or maybe I should start looking for a job in Hong Kong and relocate there.

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