It’s only been a few days but I think I’m starting to fall for Hong Kong! It’s a truly international city, a major port, global financial center and the gateway to Asia. It’s a bustling, affluent city that provides many opportunities for a well-heeled crowd of international business professionals and company owners. Its dense population lives among the skies in one of the many amazing scrapers that fill the city landscape.
Here is a video of my first visits around Hong Kong.
As a past British colony and home to many ex-pats it has been influenced by English speakers yet is still truly Chinese with its own distinct culture. Language isn’t an issue here in general but occasionally, like when I went to the launderers I had to resort to a bit of pantomime or when I went to the pharmacy to look for some stomach medication.
Training for my new position I was shadowing with the top sales rep here in Hong Kong and we visited a few of his better clients, some of the shakers and makers in this international city. It’s an eye opener to meet and work with an upper echelon of consumers where money is rarely an issue and I can’t wait to get started meeting these VP’s back in Calgary. The weather is about 32 degrees and although I don’t find it terribly hot the humidity is a problem. Running through the city from client to client I end up looking like I ran through a sprinkler, I don’t normally sweat at home because it’s so dry but here its ridiculous. Hoping I’ll get acclimatized but sure I’ll be glad to be working in Calgary instead.
Wednesday afternoon we got off work a bit early as tomorrow is a national holiday. The Mid Autumn Festival celebration starts in the evening with family celebrations, dinner, lantern lighting and the eating of Moon Cake. Thursday is the holiday and has given me the first day to really start exploring the city. In the evening I headed out to one of the Lantern Festivals taking place in Victoria Park, a green space and popular venue that is surrounded by skyscrapers looming from above.
Walking from the Causeway Bay MTR Station I made my way through the Fashion Walk shopping area and into Victoria Park where all the action was taking place. It was easy to find and easy to get to as the cities public transportation is some of the best in the world.
I spent a few hours gazing at the lights and lanterns, some of the entertainment playing on a few different stages, looked through a few of the vendors selling hand made wares and off coarse my favorite- just people watching.
On the night of the Autumn Moon Festival it is tradition to eat Moon Cake and although I’m trying to diet and lose some of my European gained pounds I couldn’t fight with tradition! So I ate some Moon Cake I bought at a bakery down the street and washed it down with some Jasmine tea before retiring for the night.
Thursday was my first full day to explore and I had planned to go to see The Peak, a mountain top and popular tourist attraction that looks over the city with incredible views. It’s reached by a tram that climbs up to the top and I made my way here traveling through the Central MTR Train Station. Following the crowds I arrived at the Tram Station which had lineups that were over 2 hours long, I’m not that patient a guy so with all well laid plans I made a change and decided to see the adjacent Hong Kong Park.
I really enjoyed the park, its quite amazing and you could easily spend half a day here. Many of the locals had packed a lunch that they were enjoying in the spaces where food was allowed after wondering through the many sections of the park. There is a bird sanctuary, Tea Ware Museum, many playgrounds for the kids and an abundance of beautiful spots to soak in the tropical nature that surrounds you.
I happened upon a restaurant that was in the park and made a pit stop for lunch which was excellent. I drank a glass of Mulberry Punch and ate a dish of spicy beef with peppers and lemon-grass which I really enjoyed.
I’m starting to discover that Hong Kong is a gastronomic center with some of the best Chinese and international cuisines in the world.
After leaving the park I stopped to see St. Johns Cathedral that has been in the city since 1849 while walking through another green space called Battery Park. It lead me through the downtown and major shopping district as I made my way back to Central Train Station and home.
It was a fantastic day and I can’t wait to explore some more this weekend. I’m going to give The Peak Tram a try again and will plan to arrive early and see if I can avoid the weekend crowds. Check back later to see more of Hong Kong. Here is a link to some more Hong Kong Pics