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Hong Kong Stop over

Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Hong Kong 27 Sep-30 2010

Pete and I were staying in Kowloon which is the main city on the mainland. It was really muggy and hot and there are people everywhere!! The smells were amazing; your nose gets violated in many ways, always something strange. There were a lot of seafood smells (probably due to all the shops that sell all types of dried of seafood on the side of the road), meat aromas, and the smell of cooking coming from the thousand restaurants located in Kowloon. Oh yeah and nicotine clouds- I think most of the population of Hong Kong smoke cigarettes, which they smoke just about anywhere, all of the time-passive smoking at its best. There were people everywhere trying to sell us stuff. The locals were in our face every minute. They were either pushing us to just “take a look inside my tailor shop”, yelling at us from their little stalls on the side of the road, or blocking our path when little old people were pushing big trolleys with rubbish or squashed boxes.

There are approximately 7 million people that live in Hong Kong, 90% of which are Chinese and they’re re about 7000 of them to each sq cubic meter. The people here live on-top of each-other in little apartments, and everywhere you go you will see washing hanging out of windows on little bamboo pull lines. I thought this above all things was amazing. What if you drop your favorite dress! Wealth is measured by the size of your apartment (or house if your extremely rich!!) and 110% tax must be paid for each car on the road, which means there are not a lot of cars per head and all cars are new as it is cheaper to buy new ones then to keep paying taxes on old ones apparently!

Pete and I did a bus tour of Hong Kong Island and the tourist stops. The Man Mo temple where we had to leave because there was so much incense burning it made our eyes cry. Victoria Peak on HK Island which has views to Kowloon and the harbour and you go on a 45 degree angle pretty cool tram ride 373 meters to get up there.
We took a Sampan (little boat) around traditional Aberdeen fishing village which is on water (the fishermen and families live on the boats), had lunch at the Jumbo floating restaurant, which was a beautiful building in the middle of the water and had an even better dim sum lunch, and finished off with shopping at the Stanly street markets. We had a look around but I have to say that all the shopping starts to look the same there because there is so much of it. HK Island is huge, and when looking at it from the mainland at night with all the lights you do get a bit in awe of how big it is. Photos really do only give you a fraction of how ominous it is.

The next day we did a tour of the New Territories, which is the land between Kowloon and China. We started off with visiting the Yuen Yuen institute, with its beautiful temples, monasteries, gardens and ponds in honor of Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist religions (if I remember right the difference between Taoist and Buddhist is that Taoist eat meat and are allowed to drink and smoke where Buddhist cannot. I know which one I like!) We then went up Tai Mo Shan, HK's highest mountain for photos but there wasn't much of a view. I did enjoy it for the greenery and the lack of people tho!
Next was the Fanling Walled Village, which was started by one family and has expanded. This place has the buildings so close together and you walk through these tiny gaps where there are doors to houses and it’s like a maze. The great and weird thing about this village is on one side of a small lake is this walled village where everyone lives in such close quarters, on the other side is a beautiful park with walks and trees and old men out walking their canaries.
A stop on the side of the road showed us the Chinese border, where a small village named Sha Tau Kokis located. The interesting thing about this town is it has the border line running straight through the middle of it, so half belongs to China and the other to HK.
My favorite stop was the one to Luk Keng, a tiny village of about 100 people where life is still lived in the old ways. Houses are very dirty on the outside. Religion and tradition imply that if their family home is cleaned or changed in appearance than their dead ancestors won't be able to find their way home, therefore they aim keep the home looking the same. Understandably the villagers are only keeping respect for their ancestors. It was such a small simple place, but everyone we saw was so lovely and happy for us to look through their community.

We were then whisked away to a tiny Sam Mun Tsai fish farm, not too different to Aberdeen but what they do here is all the fish they catch that are too small to consume they harvest in nets next to their house-boats and farm until big enough to sell. These people live on the water in very simple living conditions and, overlooking them on the land is a hill covered in houses/apartments called the 'Beverly Hills'; quite a contrast.

HK is quite a dirty place with rubbish all through the water, and when were leaving at 4am this morning to go to the airport, we saw empty streets with rubbish piled up on the sides (we also saw a lot of people still out and restaurants still open with people in them!!) Pete says he will know HK for three things: the random drops of water that hit you when you’re walking down the street when it’s not raining; these poor frogs we saw bagged up, still alive for buying and eating; and old men blatantly staring at my breasts (I missed this part, too busy NOT starting at the old men and their bare chests). I will fondly remember Hong Kong for all the washing hanging out of windows, stalls and markets everywhere- day and night, and the big signs that hang right over the streets. Oh, and the fact that when we were out at 10pm Monday night, shops, stores and restaurants were still open and buzzing with activity! Not in Hervey Bay anymore!!! HK really comes alive at night.

All- in-all it was definitely an interesting way to start our adventure. We couldn't have asked for more friendly people, and we had our own bed with a western toilet (thank God I only had to try the squat thing once!) and more than our share of rice and noodles. Maybe not a destination choice for the non-shopper, but a beautiful culture and landscape on the fringes awaits you if you have the time. We had a little look at the art gallery and space museum but to be honest come late afternoon all we wanted was to go have a little lie down in air conditioning and not walk anymore!! Boy are our feet going to get a workout over the next few months!!!! Thanks for checking in- Rochelle x x xx

Take care of yourselves, write soon

permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on October 1, 2010 from Hong Kong, Hong Kong
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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love the picture of you two in HK at night with the city lit up behind you. beautiful.

permalink written by  Brian and Erin Towles on October 6, 2010

What a gorgeous couple.... Will be in touch x Asta

permalink written by  cocopops on October 7, 2010

keep up the commentary for us vicarious livers... cool photos- only complaint is that I felt compelled to read Pete's T shirt and couldn't. Have fun and keep safe! much love, josh.

permalink written by  cocopops on October 8, 2010

Hi Babe, absolutley loving the blog, fantastic photos and stories. Looks like you are having great time. Appears Pete cant wipe the smile of his face.
Enjoy catch up soon. Love Mum

permalink written by  Mum on October 18, 2010

The "T" shirt is annoying, I want to know what it say's now!

permalink written by  Mez Soutter on October 31, 2010

Awww what a lovely pic to finish on. Man you trip is the bomb, looks like you guys are having a blast!!

permalink written by  Matt Smith on November 6, 2010

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