Apparently it’s snake season in Hong Kong. So The South China Morning Post informed me.
Despite having found a traditional snake shop hidden away in Central, I have never really though of Hong Kong as a place for snakes. Australia, yes. We have more than our fair share of venomous creatures, and I once sat on a red-belly black when nine months pregnant (another story). As we’re always telling visitors here, everything in Australia wants to kill you. But Hong Kong is a city of high rises, not snakes.
Continue Reading →
The morning was still young. I seemed to be the only person about, which is a rare occurrence in Hong Kong. An occasional snore, or a soft rustle – little other noise came from the tents.
For tents there were, stretching along a highway which would normally be a traffic jam. The skyscrapers towered over them, emblazoned with huge advertisements for the next product to bring wealth and happiness. In contrast, protest signs hung from the overpasses, along with clusters of umbrellas. Continue Reading →
This photo encapsulates Hong Kong for me. Walking through LKF I spied a moomintroll – of course. Tove Jannson and her moomins are a world away from Hong Kong. Yet they are here, because everything is here.
That’s what I love about Hong Kong – from the fake antiques along Cat Street, a forgotten nunnery in Kowloon, the gathering of maids on their day off as they gather in parks and along walk ways, chattering away like sparrows, the tranquility of her bush walks – I always find something completely unexpected.
Always a reason to return.
I first went to Hong Kong some forty years ago, and immediately felt a bond with her vibrancy and way of life, her noise, her chaos, even the smell of the place. Shopping Hong Kong’s markets are always high on my to do list whenever I visit. Every visit I discover a new one, maybe only a street or two long, but I still have my favourites I return to again and again. They are also a great place to start when discovering The Fragrant Harbour for the first time. Combining local atmosphere with bargains, Hong Kong’s markets are a place where everything from bobby pins to (mostly fake) antiques are for sale – and when the heat and haggling become too much, there is always somewhere to sit and, with a cool drink and a delicacy to nibble, watch the world pass by.
Here are some of my suggestions for both first time and also frequent visitors: Continue Reading →
Rising above the chaos of modern Hong Kong, The Peak has long had an exclusive air, offering a place to retreat from the chaos, the smog – and the heat – of the city.Dodging traffic in Central, or struggling out of the MTR in Causeway Bay, it is easy to forget that Hong Kong is actually a mountainous island rising out of the sea; anywhere flat is usually reclaimed land. Most of the island is covered in dense vegetation, for this part of the South China Sea is filled with scrub-covered islands, making perfect hide-aways for those pirates who loom so large in legend and history.
The mansions up on The Peak were (and remain) the retreats of the incredibly wealthy. Those without their own means of transport relied on rickshaws to reach the summit, an arduous trip taking over three hours. Then, amongst predictions of spectacular failure, The Peak Tram opened in 1888. With the best seats initially reserved for use by the Governor, The Peak could now be reached in 8 minutes, in all weathers save a typhoon. The Peak Tram was a complete success, and the rickshaws vanished.
Continue Reading →
Chancing upon Hong Kong’s Domestic Workers
I heard them long before I saw them; the twittering of voices, so happy, so light, but growing to a deafening crescendo as I came closer. Walking back from the Star Ferry to Central I went via a series of raised walkways. These connect the high-rise malls and expensive hotels while providing safe access over the road. Indeed, a day can pass in Hong Kong without ever descending to street level.
Continue Reading →