Gimme that Bling Thing!

24 08 2010

One of the delightful things about Hong Kong is that there are many surprises that await as one wanders through the maze of streets and back alleys. There is much to savour, from the sights and sounds presented by the colourful streets, to the sumptous smells wafting out of the many eating places, and also to the many tempting objects on offer at the glittering retail outlets all around. There is quite an interesting mix of just about anything one may desire in the many shops, from items of luxury to items that would appeal to the young and trendy. It is in the latter that Hong Kong does offer a host of surprises. Chic is not just everywhere and anywhere. It is in many ways a way of life in some of the more interesting streets of Hong Kong.

Shops that surprise are very much in evidence on the streets of Hong Kong.

A fashion outlet with a South Asian theme in Central being one.

One such area where there is a concentration of hip, is in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nestled in what appears to be a back lane off an area which had once been associated with the affordable fashion of the many factory outlets that once dominated the area, Granville Road, Granville Circuit offers just about anything the young and trendy could desire … and at prices are not far off from what one might have expected at the factory outlets that had once dominated the area.

A large concentration of trendy outlets and lots of Bling Bling ones can be found around Granville Road and Granville Circuit.


Scenes along Granville Road. The shops offer a little more than the lingerie shops that seem to dominate the road.

Walking along Granville Road, the countless lingerie shops as well as what is apparently one of Hong Kong’s most haunted buildings, may serve as a distraction, and one could be forgiven for thinking that by turning off the main street to Granville Circuit, one would be led to a seedy back alley. At first glance, it did resemble one of the back streets of London’s Soho. Walking down the street, the illuminations provided by the bright neon signs of an entertainment outlet that one might associate with London’s Soho, casts a glow on a row of shops to be discovered – there are many little boutiques and outlets for the young: clothes, shoes, accessories, and lots of bling things that have hip written all over them. That apparently I was to find, was only the tip of the iceberg. Much more of these were to be discovered in a nondescript and somewhat tired looking shopping arcade off Granville Circuit, the Rise Shopping Arcade. Walking through the somewhat run down entrance, one is seemingly transported into a time warp. The shopping arcade looking as if it would have been more at home in the 1960s and 1970s, than something that exists in the 21st Century. But the archaic looking entrance and stairwell had masked what had awaited … taking the escalator up to the three floors of small outlets, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer quantity of small but very hip outlets, each independently run by the many young and aspiring designers that have populated the shopping arcade.



Set amongst the back lanes off Granville Road, Granville Circuit is a mecca of street fashion waiting to be discovered.

Granville Circuit offers a glimpse into the hip in fashion on the streets of Hong Kong ...

The lights of an entertainment outlet being reflected off a windscreen on Granville Circuit. Set amongst some rather dark alleyways that perhaps resemble the back streets of London

Shop fronts on Granville Circuit ...


More shops on Granville Circuit.

Geck Geck spent hours browsing through the shops along Granville Circuit and in the Rise Shopping Arcade.

The glitter on Granville Circuit is in a rather old shopping arcade named Rise.

Stepping into the Rise Shopping Arcade transports one back in time ...

For some of the younger and more trendy, Geck Geck being one, wandering around Granville Circuit and Rise, offered hours of wonderment (those who accompanied her would testify to that). Rise had also offered some of the more mature something as well – very bling bling silver pieces that caught the eye of not just Catherine, but also Pete, who wanted to get his wife a pair of earings (how sweet!). For me, not be terribly into bling, wandering around offered me an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity, and perhaps to discover what Hong Kong has in store for the young, chic and bling.

Even Pete was taken by some of the bling things on offer.

Another view inside Rise Shopping Arcade.


On the Rise, inside the Rise ...

The lights in the shops in the Rise and along Granville Circuit, I was told, remain on well into the wee hours of the morning ...


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.

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The signs are out on the streets of Hong Kong!

18 08 2010

One of the things that never fails to catch my attention wherever I am, are signs, posters and banners. Signs, posters and banners can often provide a perspective on a place beyond the sights and certainly beyond what the guidebooks tell you. They can sometimes show the lighter side of a place, or can be just plain fun to look at. Hong Kong I guess provides that as well. There is in Hong Kong, without any about, an abundance of signs that certainly won’t fail to catch one’s attention. But beyond that, there is much more to see and look at from the perspective of the signs that perhaps show some of the lighter side of Hong Kong, those that make Hong Kong, Hong Kong, and those that seem to be everywhere in the non-English speaking world … signs with English translations that somehow go wrong …

Hong Kong certainly has no shortage of signs to look at!

On the lighter side …

The lighter side of Hong Kong seen on a poster.

A burger shop on the obviously naughtier side of town.

I don't quite believe that this is an effective deterrent!

This is one that has to be left to the imagination!

Acceptable bullying: Bully your stains away with Bully stain removing detergent!

Lost in translation …

Translations to English that somehow go wrong are very much in evidence.

The vehicle will have its day in court!

Life in Hong Kong …

It does look that Hong Kong is as much a "fine city" as Singapore is!

A city that never sleeps especially when it comes to construction and improvement activity.

Certain to have attention drawn to it. A bin for dog poo stands out in the shadows. There also seems to be as much a dependence on foreign domestic help as there is in Singapore.

It's a dog's life! The dogs certainly have it in Hong Kong!

A bus route through a narrow alleyway between old buildings.

The advanced and wired-up society that Hong Kong very much is today: WiFi on the buses!

The creative side of Hong Kong in a shop

I am always amazed by the creativity in first names that Hong Kong has: a very "faddy" name indeed!

Even the signs we normally see in plastic has an upmarket feel in the very upmarket 1881 Heritage.

A unfortunate combination of signs: Beware! Buying fresh meat might lead you down a slippery slope!

Signs are ignored as much as they are in Singapore!

Rats! Rat poison is used extensively on the streets.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.





The amazing “scarefolding” of Hong Kong

10 08 2010

One of the observations I made during the trip to Hong Kong is that it is a city that is very much in transformation as the new replaces the old at a relentless pace. I suppose that this isn’t very different from where we are in Singapore, where very much the same is happening. As is the case with Singapore, this change does sometimes take place at too rapidly for most to realise all too late that old and familiar places have suddenly vanished. What is certainly nice to see in Hong Kong is that there have been some attempts to retain some of the delightful older places, Wing Lee Street in Sheung Wan being one of them. This certainly provides the visitor to Hong Kong with an opportunity to have an experience of the Hong Kong that most don’t know about, a Hong Kong beyond colourful streets, towering skyscrapers, glorious food and limitless opportunities for shopping.

Much of Hong Kong is very much work in progress.

Construction activity is everywhere in Hong Kong.

A reflection of Hong Kong ... a reflection of the older buildings that would be replaced with the new that they are being reflected off.

Amidst all the construction activity, there is actually another bit of old Hong Kong that probably catches the eye … an old practice that is perhaps reminiscent of that in Singapore when I was growing up. It is something that one sees everywhere, being particularly hard to miss on the busy streets … bamboo scaffolding. This very old method of erecting scaffolding is used in much of the construction activity going on around Hong Kong, as well as in maintenance work on the exteriors of buildings and on the signboards that stick out from the buildings. These are also used in the construction of skyscrapers – something that seems unimaginable when observing the somewhat slow and primitive practice of scaffolding erection in which every joint is tied with a piece of twine, that seems out of place next to a modern skyscraper. Looking at how it is done, reminded me of a similar method of erecting scaffolding employed in Singapore when I was growing up. Back then, we used wooden poles which seems a lot sturdier than bamboo somehow, but tied using rattan twine in very much the same way. I distinctly remember how this type of scaffolding went up on the exterior of the block of flats that I lived in (all 20 floors of it) for a fresh coat of paint in the dressing up that was done for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, having observed the men at work. Being the mischievous boy that I was, I even attempted to climb over from the parapet to the scaffolding on one of the lower floors, losing my nerve as I was about to. I did manage an attempt at climbing up on it from the ground floor though, managing to get up one floor before deciding that it was a little too “scary” for me to attempt getting any higher. I would refer to the scaffolding as “scarefolding” then and I couldn’t see how anyone would want to work on them perched twenty floors up, let alone try to put them up and always thought that the painters and scaffolding workers must have been fearless.

Bamboo poles lying on the streets are a common sight. These are used to erect scaffolding seen at the far end of the stack of poles.

Bamboo scaffolding is used for maintenance and construction everywhere.

A scaffolding worker tying a bamboo pole with twine seen from the Mid Level Escalators.

While the use and erection of bamboo scaffolding is amazing in itself, there is something else that one will definitely not miss that is equally amazing: scaffolding that overhangs over a street, sometimes extending out to lengths seem to defy the laws of physics, and sometimes only barely clearing the tops of vehicles passing on the busy street below them! Most of these I guess would be for erecting and maintaining the many neon signboards jutting out from the buildings above the streets. It must really be a feat putting these up … and, it probably has to take nerves of steel to be perched on one of these extended some seven or eight metres out over a busy street!

One won't miss the amazing sight of scaffolding that seem to defy the laws of physics extending out from the buildings. It must be quite a feat to put these up!

Another example of scaffolding that seem to defy the laws of physics.

These sometimes barely clear the tops of high vehicles passing under them.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.





And before we knew it, it was time to reluctantly say good-bye …

6 08 2010

Having had a great time in Hong Kong, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and omy.sg, and having made some wonderful friends over the previous three days, the final day came all too quickly, and it was time to bid the Fragrant Harbour goodbye. All I guess were busy in the morning trying to stuff whatever shopping they had done into their bags, and when the time came to say a sad goodbye to the fabulous hotel room at 9.30 am, most of us had made it down to the glorious lobby of the hotel with bulging bags, which we soon loaded into the bus that was to ferry us around that day. Once on the bus, the ever amusing Aussie Pete, gave us an account of his shopping exploits at Harbour City Shopping Mall, and how he had managed to fill his very large and what had been an almost empty suitcase, even getting a toy dog that his son had wanted (isn’t that sweet?). That I can tell you is no mean feat, having not had much time to do any form of serious shopping, with the activity packed programme that the HKTB had lined up for us over the previous three days!

Pete started our morning with the story of how he managed to fulfill the big shopping task his wife had set him.

Evidence of Pete's shopping exploits.

The day’s programme started with breakfast at a congee restaurant that is apparently on list of recommended local restaurants in Michelin Guide, Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road. The word is that the chef has been dutifully gotten up at 3 am everyday for the last 50 years to prepare his highly rated concoction of Thai rice, crushed preserved eggs and fish bones that many crave. I myself, not being fond of congee, opted for a plate of beef brisket noodles, after which I was ready for what was to prove a very interesting walk around SoHo and Sheung Wan with Mr Leon Suen, which I have mentioned in two previous posts.

The day's programme started with breakfast at Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road in Central.

Law Fu Kee is highly rated for its congee which has been prepared in the same way for 50 years.

After the walk which ended at the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, it was time for lunch at the Yin Yang, a private kitchen with three tables housed in a historic building of 1930s vintage in the Wan Chai area, run by celebrity chef Margaret Xu. Xu had given up a job at an advertising firm to run the kitchen and an organic farm on which most of the fresh produce used in the kitchen comes from. The exclusive kitchen, known for its signature dish of “Yellow Earth” chicken which is roasted in an earthern oven designed by Xu herself, hosts up to 30 people and each sitting features a menu that is hand picked by Xu herself, which can cost around HKD 700 per person. I guess this and the sauce making session conducted by Xu herself that followed deserves another post and that I guess is what I would just do.

Yin Yang is a private kitchen housed in a historic building on Ship Street.

The historic building dates back to the 1930s.

Yin Yang's signature dish: "Yellow Earth" Chicken

The specially designed oven that the "Yellow Earth" chicken is roasted in.

We had a Blue Girl at the table.

Celebrity chef Margaret Xu later conducted a sauce making session for some of the bloggers.

Margaret's sauce making demonstration was very intently followed by the bloggers who attended the session.

Margaret Xu demonstrated how to turn this mixture of green chillies, spring onions, ginger and oil from this ....

... to this tangy tasting pesto like paste ...

... which Pete seemed to like ...

We each had a bottle to take home with us.

When the session came to an end, we had a chance to taste the tangy green chilli sauce that Margaret had shown us how to make, which had perhaps the consistency of pesto, of which Pete seemed to enjoy the most. We were each given a bottle of the green sauce which Catherine Ling of Camemberu fame mentioned goes well with Chicken Rice. With that, it was almost time for a sad goodbye to what had been a really enjoyable trip, made better by the company of the friends we had all made on the trip, including the members of the HKTB team, the omy team, and my fellow bloggers, as well as that of the excellent hospitality we all had been shown by the HKTB. After a quick look around the area, during which I had a quick glance at the Hung Shing temple on Queen’s Road East, which was constructed in 1847 and at the time of its construction was by the sea, it was time to board the bus for the airport and say goodbye to some of those who had opted to stay behind. With that, what certainly had been one of the most enjoyable trips I have made, came to an end.

A last look around: Hung Shing Temple (1847) on Queen's Road East.

An annex to the Hung Shing temple, a Kwan Yum temple was added in 1867.

Queen's Road East in Wan Chai.

Darren completing formalities, before we said goodbye ...

A lasting last impression of Hong Kong ... a city that reaches out for the skies in many ways.

Time to say goodbye.

All settled for the final journey to the airport.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.





In between Imagination & Reality in Causeway Bay

5 08 2010

While wandering around the busy Causeway Bay area on the second day of my Hong Kong adventure with Aussie Pete, we stumbled upon a really interesting sculpture exhibition “In between Imagination & Reality” going on at the Atrium in Times Square featuring sculptures from two of Korea’s renowned contemporary sculptors, Yong Ho Ji and Hwan Kwon Yi which runs up to 22 August 2010. What caught our eyes were the sculptures of Yi, whose sculptures are made in distorted proportions that play on one’s mind in a way that it serves to confuse and confound what the mind makes out of what the eye sees. It was really hard to describe how “disturbed” we felt from looking at the sculptures and this is something you have to see in three dimensions rather than in two dimensional images to have the feel of it. I guess the best way that can describe how viewing the sculptures affect one’s mind is how the NUS in Singapore had described Yi’s works in an introduction made to an exhibition held last year: “the affect of art lies not so much in the poses but rather in the compression of distance, space and time in Yi’s world”.

The distorted proportions of Hwan Kwon Yi's sculptures (sometimes in all three dimensions) play on what the mind makes out of the eye sees and serves to confuse and confound one's mind.

The "In between Imagination & Reality" exhibition runs up to 22 August 2010 in the Atrium Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

The disproportionate sculptures caught the attention of curious shoppers at Times Square.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.





There would certainly have been a mutiny on this Bounty …

3 08 2010

One of the many things that I looked forward to on this Hong Kong trip was the chance to board the Bounty, a tall ship which is in fact, a replica of the Bounty, infamous for the mutiny led by a certain Fletcher Christian. The mutiny which would have been construed as an act of disobedience not just against the authority of the ship’s commanding officer, Captain William Bligh, but also an act against the Crown, resulted in some of the surviving mutineers setting up a settlement on hitherto uninhabited Pitcairn Island and setting the original Bounty aflame to escape detection. By this unintended twist of fate, the group of islands that Pitcairn is in, has somehow become Britain’s last surviving colony in the Pacific. While we were certainly not in for this level of heart stopping excitement on the present replica of 1978 vintage (in fact this is the second replica built), it was for me, still something to look forward to, as I would do for any opportunity to visit a tall ship.

The Bounty, a second replica of the original, seen in full sail in Victoria Harbour (image courtesy of Hong Kong Resort Company Limited)

Tall ships are one of those things that I have always approached with the awe and fascination of a child. Captivated by the magnificent sight of tall ships in full sail from images seen in photographs and in the movies, and in part, drawn to the silhouette of a brig in the Old Spice brand of men’s toiletries that were popular back when I was growing up, I have long hoped to be able to sail on one, and work her sails. I guess the opportunity somehow never presented itself, and so, the next best thing for me was to attempt to visit one whenever I could. I managed a visit to one earlier this year, when the fastest tall ship, the STS Pallada, a Russian merchantmen training ship called to port in Singapore, and so it was very nice that I have a second opportunity this year, not just to board one, but also stay on her for a cruise around Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, albeit not with sails for practical reasons, but by her diesel power.

The figurehead of the new Bounty (image courtesy of the Hong Kong Resort Company Limited).

This replica of the Bounty that is in Hong Kong, was built in New Zealand in 1978 for the movie “The Bounty”, which starred Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins and was released in 1983. This would have been the same ship I had wanted to go onboard during a visit to Sydney some years back, but not having had the time, decided to give it a miss. This Bounty has, since 2007, been in the service of the Hong Kong Resort Company Limited, a company which operates the Discovery Bay Resort on Lantau Island at which the Bounty is based.

The bounty coming in to Central Pier 9 as the sun sets on Hong Kong.

A close-up of the stern.

The replica is not constructed of wood as one might think, being constructed of steel and clad in wood to give an authentic feel. While not as imposing as the Pallada which has a 49.5 metre tall main mast and measures some 106 metres (sparred), the 42 metre replica does have a spacious deck which measures 30 metres in length and 7 metres in width, and in the shadow of the rigging of the main mast which towers some 33 metres above deck, and the two other masts, the visitor is offered a very unique experience onboard. This makes the Bounty an ideal location for the use for which she has been put to. The Bounty is in fact available for charter for events such as corporate entertainment, private functions, harbour cruises, training activities etc, for which information is available at the Bounty’s website.

The main mast of the Bounty rises some 33 metres above deck.

The main mast holding its own against the IFC tower in the background.

The dinner cruise we had boarded the Bounty for, started from Central Pier 9, and it was a treat to stand by the wharf side and watch the magnificent vessel come in. Assisted onboard by the helpful crew, we were greeted by the sight of the expansive sheathed wooden deck, and the web of ropes and tackle along the gunwale that ran up to the masts. This, along with authentic looking fittings on deck as well as cannons lined up along the ship’s sides added a feel that we were going to have an adventure on the high seas, as it might have been for Fletcher Christian and his shipmates, sans the uncomfortable motions that might have come with the wind and the waves that in all probability have accompanied the voyage.

Blocks and tackle by the gunwale.

More rigging and tackle ...

While we may not have sailed the seven seas, the cruise around the harbour wasn’t without exotic sights. There were four to begin with, the lovely ladies in our group, who had a makeover with Celia Wong, a well known Hong Kong based stylist. While this would probably not have sparked a mutiny today, this would certainly have sparked a mutiny of a different kind in the days of Christian and Bligh, and might in all probability, have not just those loyal to Captain Bligh, but the Captain himself, join the mutineers! I guess with the company of pretty ladies, the spectacular night time views of the famous Hong Kong and Kowloon skyline, and the treat of the Symphony of Lights, was an added bonus.

Three of the four lovely ladies who might have set off a mutiny ... from left to right: Gin Oh, Violet Lim, Elaine Chua.

and here's the fourth ... Ms Ang Geck Geck ...


The company of the four lovely ladies was complemented by the magnificent views of Hong Kong and Kowloon from the harbour.

Dining on the deck was certainly a very pleasant experience. The light breeze that accompanied the cruising vessel which charted a course around the harbour made what was a balmy evening very pleasing and enjoyable. We had an opportunity to also inspect the accommodation below decks in the forward mess. An attempt has also been made to recreate the living spaces where perhaps the senior rates might have lived in. Going down through the hatch and stairway, it is probably hard to imagine conditions that may have existed on the actual ship where there would have been men tired and worn from their battles with the sea resting on what are now empty berths, right next to where livestock would have been kept during the early part of the voyage to provide the hungry men with fresh meat. Standing by the two tiered wooden bunks that lined up against the sides and centreline in the warm incandescent glow of light reflected off the lacquer of the wooden bunks and wall panels, I somehow could imagine that, and for a while I allowed myself to be transported to the original Bounty as she pitched and rolled to the rhythm of the violent sea, the creaking of timbers that strained as she rode over the waves, the bleating of goats, and the shouts of rowdy men fuelled by the contents of the wooden casks that lay on the deck, combining in a disconsolate tune. But it was only for a brief moment … the trance that I seem to momentarily be in, broken by the sight of one of the pretty ladies descending the stairway.

Dining on the deck of the Bounty.

Crew accommodation below decks.

Bunks in the old style with a modern watertight door.

The table in the mess.

Ms Ang came down for an inspection of the crews' quarters.

Back on deck, the rest of the cruise in the glow of the bright lights of Hong Kong’s wonderful harbour in the excellent company of my fellow bloggers somehow made the evening pass like a flash, and before we knew it, the evening onboard had sadly come to an end, and it was time to bid farewell to the beautiful Bounty. As we disembarked on to the pier at Tsim Sha Tsui in the glow of the clock tower, a crowd had gathered, seemingly to gawk at the magnificent vessel … but thinking about it, it might have actually been that word had got out that she was delivering her cargo of the four pretty ladies … and it was at them that the crowd were gawking at.

The spectacle of the Symphony of Lights and the beautiful Hong Kong skyline is seen through the rigging of the Bounty.

The view of Hong Kong's magnificent skyline by night was a treat!

Alvin seemed to want to participate in the ongoing Symphony of Lights!

The dance of lights on Hong Kong's skyline.

Some of the excellent company onboard ...


More night time views of the magnificent Hong Kong skyline from the Bounty.

Tsim Sha Tsui's historic clock tower (1915) ... the last remnant of the Kowloon Railway Station.

More views off and on the Bounty …

The ship's bell.

The bowsprit and figure head.

The fore deck.

View through the rope work towards Hong Kong Island.

The compass and helm.

Part of the ship's rigging ...

More of the ship's rigging.

The figure head seen from the fore deck.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.





All that glitters is Hong Kong!

1 08 2010

One of the things that strikes you about Hong Kong, is the unabashed celebration of ostentatious opulence on display. It is Hong Kong at its most glitzy, where labels having made their mark in the western capitals have found not just a home, but have become an inseparable part of the heart and soul of what Hong Kong is. Hong Kong is in fact where the labels seem to belong, thriving on a thirst for luxury that is driven very much by the pursuit of wealth as a means to measure success and happiness that makes Hong Kong, Hong Kong. It is in Hong Kong where there are more Gucci and Hermes outlets than there are in the world’s capital of haute couture, Paris, where every other shop seems to be one that offers the flamboyance of a Louis Vuitton or a Chanel, or one that glitters with the gold and diamonds of the many jewellery shops that illuminate the streets and malls. Nowhere is there such an enormous concentration of displays of luxury watches and mobile phones. This is even more startling walking through Harbour City shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, where there seems to be nothing but shops that seem to speak of nothing but money.

Objects of luxury and desire are everywhere in Hong Kong.

Objects of luxury and desire are everywhere in Hong Kong.

Luxury labels are everywhere in a concentration that surpasses even the fashion capital of the world, Paris.
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Luxury labels are everywhere in a concentration that surpasses even the fashion capital of the world, Paris.

I guess this is what seems to define Hong Kong, and while the objects of desire are unattainable to many, it is somehow a side of Hong Kong that thrives, alongside the traditional trades, markets and street vendors that share the streets with the glamour. This is perhaps what makes Hong Kong interesting, and what gives it a buzz that draws visitors from all around the world.

The pursuit of happiness in the form of material wealth is very apparent on the streets of Hong Kong.

The pursuit of happiness in the form of material wealth is very apparent on the streets of Hong Kong.

Desire for all that glitters is what makes Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Desire for all that glitters is what makes Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Even mobile phones speak of luxury!

Even mobile phones speak of luxury!

Perhaps one of the reasons that Hong Kong embraces the show of wealth with such gusto is the fact that many do not see the need to enslave themselves to the car, as it is the case in Singapore. The excellent public transport network that again combines new and old to good effect, the ultra modern MTR and the traditional means such as the Star Ferry, tramways, minibuses and taxis seem to work hand in hand in transporting the millions around. While we do see cars and particularly many Bentleys and Rolls Royces alongside the Nissans and Toyotas, it is considered expensive to own one: high taxes on cars and petrol, and the need to buy or lease a parking space at a home or in the city at high prices seems to make one more of a luxury than a Gucci or Louis Vuitton, many Hong Kongers have chosen to dispense with one. That parking spaces are highly priced (as are highly prized) is probably best seen in a conversation that I had with a Canadian expatriate whilst on the tram from Causeway Bay to Central. The Canadian who had been in Hong Kong for fifteen years described how recently, parking lots in one particular development that were sold came with a free gift … a brand new car!

Cars can be an unobtainable object of desire in Hong Kong.

Cars can be an unobtainable object of desire in Hong Kong.

Whatever it is, it is nice to be able to wander down the streets and take in the lavish surroundings – it is certainly a unique experience, one that somehow gives me a feeling that I am amongst those that have attained the holy grail of life … happiness …. albeit only for that moment I am standing in the glow that the glitter of Hong Kong has cast on me …

Even shop windows of cafes and restaurants speak of wealth.

Even shop windows of cafes and restaurants speak of wealth.


Note: this is a repost of my post on the omy My Hong Kong Travel Blog site. Please visit the My Hong Kong Travel Blog where you can vote for you favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip to Hong Kong. Details would be provided at the voting page.