Monday, January 17, 2011

The Fragrant Harbour

For the life of me I just can’t find the time to write a comprehensive report about our trip to Hong Kong, China over the holidays. Too much is going on in our lives right now. So I will just post photos over the next few days and add some brief captions, which hopefully will help to describe our amazing journey.

That much I can say at this point. Hong Kong is one fascinating city.

Our flight took us from Las Vegas, Nevada to Seoul in South Korea. Korean Air flies nonstop from Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport to Seoul’s Incheon Int.’l Airport. Koren Air is a great airline. The flight attendants were all most attentive and very gracious. Most American airlines could learn a thing or ten from them. The picture above shows one of countless signages throughout the huge and modern Incheon Airport. All signs are in Korean, Japanese, Chinese and of course English.

The airport in Las Vegas has slot machines and tacky shops for tourists. Incheon Airport in Seoul has real orchids throughout all the terminals, classy designer stores and fine dining restaurants.

George is enjoying his morning coffee while waiting for our connection fllight to Hong Kong.

That was our bird behind me. An Korean Air Airbus 330-300 took us on a three and a half hour flight to Hong Kong, the “Fragrant Harbour.”

Here we flew over Taiwan.

The first impressions from the airport into the city of Hong Kong were already overwhelming. This was our view from the 27th floor of the trendy and chic Cosmo Hotel, right next to Happy Valley.

Our hotel room view looking in the opposite direction, towards the financial district. The skyscraper with the reflection of the morning sun is the 88-story International Finance Centre and the second tallest building in the city.

Next to our hotel was a Sikh Temple and recreation center. Hong Kong residents are mostly Chinese but still has a very diverse population with many different religions living in close proximity.

We walked past this golden dragon statue many times.

There are many of these little shrines in-between storefronts or next to entryways. One can easily overlook these little gems.

Hong Kong is one bustling city. At times, traffic seems totally out of control but yet it flows. Controlled chaos. Here is an old double-decker tram which some locals call Ding Ding. It's been in operation since 1904 and travels all the way from one end of Hong Kong Island to the other. A fun way to get around and explore the city.

The financial district. Every imaginable bank from around the world is represented here. Some of the architecture is just amazing. The tower on the left is the Bank of China. The tower on the right is one of the two Lippo Corp. towers.

In all the crazyness of humanity and traffic we found this little oasis, the Hong Kong Park.

Although Christmas is not part of the Chinese culture it was ever-present. Here are some holiday decorations along a stepped water fountain in Hong Kong Park.

I was lucky to capture this shot of a beautiful butterfly.

The Museum of Tea Ware inside the historic Flagstaff House featured this exhibition of contemporary art of local artists, as well as an extensive display of the history of Chinese tea culture.

These types of trees are found throughout the city and they were all covered with these fragrant blossoms.

Taking in the scenery and the fresh breeze coming from the tall waterfall behind me.

We have never seen so many turtles in one area. The pond was full of them, along with huge koi fish and a variety of waterfowl.

The towers of the Lippo Corporations are peeking from behind the lush greens of the Hong Kong Park.

More impressive architecture was seen on our way to the Victoria Peak Tram.

Hollywood is everywhere, even in China. An advertisement for Walt Disney’s “Tron Legacy” in 3-D.

The rest of America’s money-making machinery was hard at work all over the city. Like this Seven-Eleven ad on a taxi. Every possible name brand was found here. McDonald’s, Subways, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Starbucks, Häagen-Dazs, Circle name it. Most have outlets here.

The incredible view from atop Victoria Peak. Hong Kong was lying beneath us and on the other side of the harbour was Kowloon. One could see the South China Sea from the other side of the peak.

George on top of Victoria Peak.

George and I on Victoria Peak with Hong Kong and Kowloon in the background.

After taking a rather adventurous bus ride down the mountain again, we took the famous Star Ferry over to Kowloon on the other side of Victoria Harbour. The sun was setting and most of Hong Kong’s skyline was starting to sparkle with millions of lights and hundreds of neon signs.

Another view of Hong Kong’s skyline.

Every evening at 8 p.m. the whole skyline turns into one gigantic light show which is synchronized to music. This “Symphony of Lights” uses decorative lights, searchlights and lasers and has been awarded the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records.

And so ended our first day in the city I now like to call a “Chinese London.” I will try to post more photos in the coming days.

再見 (Zoi Gin - Good-bye; See you soon)


Doug Taron said...

What a trip! What great photos! I've only made a transfer at the Hong Kong Airport- so I've gotten to see the city from a distance but never experience it.

The beautiful butterfly in your photo is a Jezabel, a member of the genus Delias. They are in the same family as the bright yellow butterflies that are so common back here in the States.

Jim said...

The butterfly may be common but it was beautiful nonetheless. There were literally hundreds flying around in that park alone. Come to think of it, I hardly saw any butterflies last year in Nevada. Or any insects for that matter. We humans really are good at screwing up our natural world, aren't we? Especially in the States. Sigh!

This trip was truly amazing. And these photos are only from the first day, lol. Hope to post more soon. Or check them out on my Facebook page. I really should befriend you on FB too, shouldn't I? :)