The partly autonomous Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (SAR) is an interesting blend of West and East. Many aspects of architecture, culture, food and transportation are heavily influenced by the past British history, but still a vast majority of inhabitants have an Eastern background. English is widely spoken and all announcements in public transport are bilingual, which makes travelling here really easy.
Some randomly interesting facts about the city:
- Hongkong is one of the gloomiest regions in the world with often overcast and foggy sky. During the four days I spent here I never saw the blue sky, but at least sometimes few sun rays made it through the clouds.
- Hongkong has the second-highest density of 7-Eleven stores in the world. While standing at a crossroad with a view in several directions you normally see at least two to three 7-Eleven stores.
- As in Japan, people here are perfectionists in queueing (Public transport, some good and cheap restaurants at midday, tourist attractions). No one would push and shove, despite space is scarce.
- Due to the population density various laws and fines help to keep the city clean. Spitting on the ground costs you a fixed fine of 1500HKD (=200 USD). Also feeding pigeons and other birds may dirty the area. Offenders are liable to a fixed penalty in the same amount. On the other hand, SAR has no law on public intoxication, and retailers are legally allowed to sell alcohol to minors, even if most of them choose not to do so.
- The transition in 1997 and the increase in the population since then triggered a real estate hype. Nowadays a centrally located 2 bedroom / 1000sq ft (90sq m) apartment in one of the skyscrapers cost at least 3m USD or 3000 to 4000 USD monthly leasing
I spent my days here strolling around, visiting markets, some window shopping (you can find here the most expensive Swiss watches that I´ve never seen displayed in the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich) and waiting at prime picture spots until the fog and hordes of tourists dispersed a bit. In addition I used the fastest WLAN ever to upload pictures and prepare for the oncoming Africa trip. I sent home all my winter cloths (shipping will take 6 to 8 weeks) but with all the diving and camera equipment I still have some excess baggage.
As I´ll be the next two months on an organized overland truck camping tour from Cape Town to Nairobi, I´m not sure how frequent I´ll be able to update the blog and upload pictures. I try my best.
Sadly I heard the news of hurricane Pam hitting one of my favorite islands in Vanuatu. It´s unbelievable to see pictures of the capital Port Vila with 90% damaged houses. A place where I strolled just a few months ago along the harbor promenade and enjoyed island life. Hardest hit was Tanna Island with active volcano Yasur. First news say, that all trees and most houses were flattened there. Hopefully people found some natural shelter, as most houses are not solid built and cellars are unknown. Surely, the wooden tree house I stayed in, is no more.
Previous destination: Taiwan
Next destination: South Africa