Rose and I spent five days in Hong Kong during my final visit to Okinawa. The city is very impressive with the look and feel of New York City, but yet not quite the same. You can wander past the Peninsula Hotel(*****) and window shop at stores like Tiffany &Co, Bally, Burberry, etc. Then, all of the sudden, you are looking at a window of dried sharks' fins and rhino gall stones. If you wander a block off the main drag, then the world really changes. There are tiny shops filled with printing presses and paper folding machines that churn out manilla envelopes and business forms. The next street over will be a series of small shops packed to the ceilings with clothes of all descriptions for cheap but you aren't allowed to try any of it on. This could be a problem since I learned that I am an extra large there. I guess the Abercrombie and Fitch factory had some serious overruns because their stuff was everywhere in these little places.
We spent most of our time wandering the streets and just looking. It was easy to find a pub for a pint of draught Guiness or have peking duck for lunch. Some of the fancier restaurants near down town had conversations in German, French, English, and Chinese all going at the same time. Westerners make up only 2% of the population there but the city definitely reflects its British heritage.
We did take a half day guided tour where we learned a few things. Life hasn't changed much since China took over because the one country, two systems policy basically guarantees the laws in Hong Kong will stay the same for 30 years. You do need a visa to go from Hong Kong to China or vice versa. Many Hong Kong residents travel to the Canton province in China to work in the factories there. Our tour guide told us that a big problem now is that many men keep a second wife and family in China where the women are less assertive and more traditional. The tour ended in Stanley where condos looking out over the Bay rent for about HK70,000 for 1000 sq. ft. That is about $10,000. We wandered through the market looking at all the silk stuff. They print the most ridiculous things on silk there--everything from smiley faces with cowboy hats to dancing condoms. You can get ties, pajamas, kimonos, or scarves in all these fabrics.
Hong Kong was celebrating some sort of "we love France month" so we went to see the Marseilles ballet performance of Giselle. It was very good. The next night we went into downtown to see "Shanghai Noon", the new Jackie Chan movie. He is from Hong Kong so the crowds love him and the movie was fun.
We also took a day trip to Macao which was a Portugese colony until last year. The mediterranean pastels with white trim made an interesting contribution to the Chinese architecture. The Macao museum did a really good job of showing what life was like a hundred years ago and the Portugese food was one of the best meals of the trip.
Pictures of Hong Kong
Pictures of Macau