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Asia Unplugged-First stop Hong Kong
We're off on a six week Southeast Asia adventure and our first stop is Hong Kong. We are traveling with our good travel buddies, John and Susan, on a trip almost a year and a half in the planning. Hong Kong is a great introduction to the excitement and Asian culture ahead. We wonder if the city will be changed much from our last visit years ago at the time China took over. During that visit the locals seemed quite concerned their city would be changed....
Today we stay at the Peninsula Hotel overlooking Victoria Harbour. And, as much as we can tell from a visitor's vantage point, they city remains the robust, exciting Hong Kong we remember.
If anything, it seems to have become more energized. The hotel itself is lovely.
But the mezzanine shops are over the top--store windows gushing fabulous jewels, more furs and designer clothes than you can shake a stick at. Really fun to window shop. And this is just in the hotel! A small sampling of the local merchants. We're told the extremely wealthy Chinese from the mainland regularly hop over to Hong Kong and really enjoy their shopping. Yea, I guess.
From our room in Kowloon section we overlook Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island.
Our first excursion is hitting most of the tourist must-do's:
We take the 27 degree (steeeep) Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. This is one of the oldest (1888) and most famous funicular railways in the weld. The view of the city from Lion's View Point is spectacular.
We drive to Aberdeen Village, near Repulse Bay, to check out the shops at the the Stanley Waterfront Mart. Vendors sell Chinese art, silk, laquerware and various trinkets. Then we ride a sampan in Stanley Harbour to view the fishing junks
and the huge, elaborate moored restaurant.
On the way back to the hotel we pass a beautiful old cemetery stretching up the hillside.
We walk through the Tai Po Market market filled with foods and goods. The butcher loved being in the picture...
Stalls are packed with just abut every thing you can imagine.
The fruits and vegetables were bright and shiny.
Wr came across our first dragon fruit (bottom right) at the market--we'll see these throughout the rest of our trip. Sliced, they are a white or pink fruit with tiny black seeds. A favorite here but there wasn't much taste.
Walking through several temples, Man Mo Temple is in an urban neighborhood. Filed with smoke from incense, it was built a century ago. The temple is dedicated to Man, the God of Literature and Mo the God of Martial Arts.
Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall and the walled villages of Lo Wai passing through the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail, the homeland of the Tang Clan showcasing the deepest of Chinese religious life. Members of the Tang clan have owned this area for years and continue to build houses for the new birth members of the family.
Followed by the Tai Fu tai, an opulent stately home that was built in 1865 by a scholar of the gentry class.
From our car we can see...CHINA! (You can see the high-sides in China's the perpetual smog.) Who knew!
We had to drive closer...and on the way we got a look at farming, Hong Kong style. (We may not want to know what made the soil look so rich.)
We went to Lok Ma Cha Garden. This park overlooks a flood plain with people living in tine houses on the Hong Kong side. Across the fence is Shenzhen, China. This is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, and it sits immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Because it is southern mainland China's major financial center, Shenzhen is home to the famous Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also one of the busiest container ports in China. All overlooking these people in their tiny homes.
Back at the hotel we are treated to a once a week light symphony--just fun.
Then we walked to dinner and spent the evening walking the streets of Kowloon. Walking down Nathan Street...
We walked through the Temple Street Night Market
And past some interesting restaurant windows....
Of course we took the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. A huge upscale mall is a few steps away--with one of the biggest Apple stores we've ever seen!
The city was beautiful at dawn as we prepared to leave--getting in to the more unusual parts of our trip. Next we're off Myanmar-Burma. Our first stop will be in Yangon--aka Rangoon a while ago.
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