Thursday, August 23, 2012

The many sides of Hong Kong - part 1

Saturday 18th August

After the coldest airplane overnight flight I have ever been on we reached Hong Kong first thing in the morning and were greeted by our friends who had got up incredibly early to come and meet us at the airport. We really appreciated this, I'm not sure how we would have found the right bus to their area on our own. Hong Kong airport is massive! They live in an area of the New Territories so the bus ride was a long one but gave us a bit of an insight into the size and scope of Hong Kong.

Passing the cable car to the Buddha on Lantau Island.

Our first look at a real Hong Kong street!

The area in which my friends live is about a 45min train ride from the centre of Hong Kong and is mostly inhabited by Asian people, it is generally not an expat area and we saw very few Westerners. The area is surprisingly green and spacious, interspersed with high rise apartment buildings. Rich may have managed to conquer his fear of heights a little - our friends live very high up and have a balcony overlooking the area. We can just see mainland China in the distance!

The view from the balcony at night.

The large landscaped pond full of fish and turtles outside their building.

Can you spot the boys down there?

We hung a flag from the balcony so they could spot us!

After a very tasty Dim Sum brunch at their local restaurant, we all headed out to explore the area, specifically the Ping Shan Heritage trail close by. Locals still live in the traditional walled villages although the signs of modernisation are even evident here, with plenty of cars parked outside and air conditioning units dotted across the stone walls. There are several imperial study halls, some still intact with their traditonal decorations and others turned into housing.

What do you think of when you picture Hong Kong? I certainly found this area surprising, it was definitely not the bright lights and shiny skyscrapers of modern Hong Kong, but it had a real texture to it that I think is missing from the glamour of the inner city...

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