Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HK General II

Hong Kong was a great city to explore. We only had 4 days but we tried to fit in as much as we could. It was nice to be able to see two parts of Hong Kong; the part with the markets and locals was very fun to walk through and the westernized-side with all its skyscrapers was incredible. The buildings are so high and overwhelming. We decided to go to the Victoria Peak (1811 feet) to get a better view of Hong Kong. We caught a ferry across Victoria Harbour and walked to the Peak Tram. When we got to the Peak Tram at the bottom of the hill, we were shocked to see a line that was probably a mile long, not even kidding.  By the way, this was Christmas Eve, I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. The taxi drivers saw a great opportunity and were charging $200 (HK dollars) for a ride up. Luckily we ran into a local couple who was willing to split a taxi with us so she took us a few hundred feet away to a hotel where we caught a taxi and were at the peak 20 minutes later... and it only cost us $20 HKD. Locals know all the ins and outs of their city. The view was incredible. From that point it looked surreal, as if you're in a movie and below are just lit-up toy buildings. It's hard to imagine that people live and work in all these skyscrapers. It was quite windy at the peak so we took some photos and started to head down. The lines were very long for the tram to get down and the taxi drivers were charging ridiculous amounts. But this time around we knew where to find a taxi like the locals. 

From there we did a bit more walking around Hong Kong. It seemed like everyone was out celebrating Christmas. All the roads in downtown were closed to cars and packed with people, dressed up formally or in costume, just wandering around their gigantic city. I don't think this happens often where you can walk around downtown Hong Kong on the streets and not worry about cars and buses. Christmas decorations were everywhere you looked, skyscrapers were plastered with lights, people singing and caroling all around you, Christmas choirs and bands performing outdoors-- it was an amazing atmosphere. From first glance, we thought Hong Kong celebrates Christmas a lot better than the Americans. If you are downtown back home on Christmas, it's extremely deserted and dead. Most businesses are closed and people have made a big effort to travel home to be with families. In Hong Kong, it's the opposite... people flock to the cities and stay out all night long. It was hard to leave all this excitement outside and go back to our little hotel room but eventually sleep sounded really good and we were looking forward to the next day... Christmas in Hong Kong.


Our 5-star room on Nathans Rd... A 10x10 box (the bed touched 3 of the 4 walls). We were really lucky to get this. We didn't realize how booked up everything got for Christmas in Hong Kong.
At the top of Victoria Peak on Christmas Eve (the highest point in the city).
What a Hong Kong mall looks like.
The underground metro tunnels are so nice, clean, and w i d e . 
Victoria Harbor splits the city in two, so ferries go across on a regular basis. The photo was taken from a ferry on our way across.
What the streets looks like in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve at midnight. And it wasn't just one street.... anywhere you turn, the crowds were this big.
How cool is this?! The world's largest toast art mosaic (found it in a mall).