September 11th, 2007

Hong Kong

I have ties in Hong Kong. One of my friends recommended a hostel that was not in Chungking Mansion. The new hostel still wasn't perfect, but it was in a totally different league than the mansions. It also helped alleviate the problem of limited Internet access.

Hong Kong has a unique character. There are many first generation immigrants. Also, I suspect that one of the city designers was a big fan of the Jetsons. There are moving sidewalks everyplace. They're important because they take you between all of the awesome restaurants. I have eaten all over the place. I'm very good about trying new foods. It is pretty rare that I encounter a totally unfamiliar food. It happened four times in Hong Kong. I had never even dreamed of almond tofu. All this for less than $5 per meal.

They have their own ways of dealing with things like money. Hong Kong has branded money, like the HSBC dollar and the Standard Chartered dollar. I knew that, back in the day, money started that way, but I had not known that it was the case now. Particularly now that there is no gold standard.

I had always thought of Hong Kong as being a huge city with no way real way to escape. Apparently, something like 80% of the land area of Hong Kong is uninhabited. I visited an island called Lama, that is about 20 minutes away from the main island by ferry. Lama doesn't have any cars. Most of the smog from the main island doesn't drift that far. I walked from one end of the island to the other in about 2 hours. It was an amazing escape from the big city. If I could justify/afford it, I would buy property there.

Hong Kong is Chinese, but is steeped in English. That makes it easy to get around, but it is enough Chinese that most of the culture is still hidden. I really felt like I could live in Hong Kong for a year or more and discover new gems regularly for the whole time.