7th December

Well time has flown by since I arrived, in what I have now dubbed this crazy, zany, wonderful area. Here East meets West and North meets South. It seems like virtually all the cultures fuse to create this eclectic mix of new and old, traditional and modern and sometimes just mad. For those who have visited, you may understand this. For those who perhaps visit in the future, you will see for yourself. However, I will do my best to share some of my experiences.

I have clearly become tuned with the Finland, the land that has less residents that Hong Kong, but substantially more land mass. This took a little adjusting at first and I am grateful to Luise who eased me in gently to the crowds. One market place is about the same population as Oulu.... I should of course be used to it having been born and raised in London and living in Leeds for last 12 years. Somehow however, my mind is now in quieter living. I did however re-adjust after a few days, at least a little.

So here, I will try to capture some of the sights, sounds and smells of Hong Kong. If my site administrator will allow, I may also add a few photos by way of something a little different - but time will tell??? Now there are the familiar parts of Hong Kong we all recognise. The wonderful high rise blocks that seem to be freestanding. Truth is, although constrained by land mass, geology helps quite a lot here. Luise informed me that it is in fact only Hong Kong and New York that share this benefit. As you move around, from one street to another, there is a broad spectrum of old and new together...and it is spectacular. At night time, it takes on a whole new personality. First there is the light show, which is fun to watch and listen to. In many ways though, this is when the place really comes alive. Between 7 & 9, people mostly finish working in the offices, but the climate is such that people then go eat, have a drink, catch a concert, go to the races...do whatever. One thing I had failed to appreciate is that one factor that drives this is that because land and property is so expensive, much of the accommodation is so small, that people need to go out to find 'space'!!

Then there is the traffic. If you are blessed with the opportunity to visit, be warned, the traffic is a little carefree. Now from experience, it is not as bad as Moscow, where anything seemed to go, but nonetheless, cars do not deviate, so only cross where you are supposed to and be quick about it when you do. The public transport however is integrated and works very well. It is a mix of trams, trains, metro, bus and supported by a multitude of taxis. Everything is very reasonably priced and people therefore use it. Added to this it is so clean, since no eating or drinking is allowed and this is mostly observed. So, when you want to find a transport model that works, start here. If they can get it to work in Hong Kong...it should be possible in other areas. Pet gripe almost over, but I look at transport planning and am staggered sometimes by the lunacy of proposals. Moving on...

Next, there are many attractions here. Can I however be as bold to recommend that you go off the beaten track a little here. Hong Kong has much to offer..............but it has so much more than most take advantage of. I think that it is good to explore a city for some of its culture, history, architecture, attractions and Hong Kong has an abundance. Before I arrived however, I did not think of Hong Kong and beaches, or long hill walks and quiet country roads...ok, so the last one is not true. I did however have the great pleasure of spending quality time with Graham on 2 long walks and with G&L on one medium walk (food at both ends of this one!) On the second walk however, I think Graham had the air ambulance programmed to speed dial...I am fitter than for some time, but still... This was not helped by leaving the correct trail at one point and joining a much harder path, but we had to laugh once we regained our breath....alright I am being unfair to Graham here, once I regained my breath. But it was stunning and I have some good photos that I will add to the slide show soon.

I have to say though that I had one day that surprised me, at least a little. I encourage all you to visit the History Museum if you are visiting. Plan a whole day and really engage with the exhibits. Okay, I know this may not be to all tastes, but really, it is eye opening. The social history, the opium wars, the taking of Hong Kong and the difficult times it had right up to the 1970's really. This is not something we tend to think of when we hear HK, but there is so much diversity in the history. It is also enlightening to see just how history evolved

Anyway...thank you Graham & Luise for such a great time. I hope to return soon and experience more of the place....just got to try and get some business to help pay for it!!!