Yesterday en route to Australia I stopped off in Hong Kong for a few hours which was - believe it or not - my first glimpse of Asia. Rather than spend my spare seven hours between flights sitting in the airport – lovely as it is, I decided to go exploring instead. Whilst hanging out at the docks and ports is probably the one thing a single female - with ‘tourist’ tattooed on her forehead - shouldn’t do, I decided to throw caution to the wind in search of some Chinese graffiti, and whilst I didn’t find anything profound it was definitely well worth the excursion.
Whilst walking around Hong Kong I discovered that it’s much the same as any other cosmopolitan city with commuters dutifully standing on the right-hand-side of escalators, using Oyster type swipe ticket machines, and rather wonderfully I came across the Chinese breed of chuggers – soliciting passers-by for contributions to a children’s charity. The only difference between these lovely people and the urchins you get in London is that they had bundles of genuine enthusiasm, energy and passion, which I’m guessing makes so much more money for their causes in the long run. They were very nice to me indeed, excited to hear where I was from and recommending places - that I as a clear foreigner - should visit to get a feel for the city.
From what I could see Hong Kong is going through a massive regeneration with building developments dotted across the city - much like London, although in China they’re doing it with great aplomb - demonstrating that it can be achieved with minimum disruption; no traffic congestion and the holy grail – no noise and seemingly low pollutants of other varieties.
A thriving port city, the main financial district reminds me very much of Canary Wharf so surprisingly I felt rather at home whilst bumbling around. In order to sample traditional Hong Kong cuisine I stopped by a little restaurant packed with locals, and sampled the leek fried dumplings (a bargain at £1.50 for six), consisting of chicken, leek and pork and were absolutely delicious – although the staff were rather foxed and hopefully not offended by my request for a knife and fork.
In sum, I’d love to come back for a longer stay to really get a grip on this diverse, friendly and respectful destination, self proclaimed as the capital of Asia – although maybe next time I’ll seek out the trendy and hip places to go as all the cool kids have to be hiding somewhere!
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