Saturday, February 23, 2013 – Day 25
Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities I’ve visited. Everything is so clean and orderly. Public transportation is very accessible. Everything is close by and there are a lot of nice restaurants to eat at. People are quiet and respectful and there is a lot of cultural diversity. But a huge con of Hong Kong is there is no space, everything is so tight. And because there is no space, everything seems to be more expensive!
A tiny apartment costs over $500,000! Imagine a 500 square feet three bedroom apartment with two full bathrooms and a balcony. Everything is perfect, except it’s shrunken into a space that would fit two 10-year old sized adults. You can only stand in the balcony, no chairs or coffee fit there. My dad and I stayed in a guestroom that accommodates three people – one bunk bed and one bed by the window that looks like a perfect spot for a cat who is sunbathing. Not sure where clothing and accessories would go if three people were living in this room though. The kitchen fits two people at one time and there is almost no counter space.
Besides the small size of the apartment, I would say it’s a nice place. The building complex has one security guard at the lobby 24/7. The entrance to the lobby is opened by a security code or the guard. There is a huge pool with other amenities. The apartment is next to all sorts of public transportation (bus, metro, and taxi), a beautiful big park, and a shopping center. So it has a perfect location. But I can’t imagine raising a family in 500 square feet with having a dog… I feel almost guilty not using my space efficiently back home. It shows how wasteful we are with space in Los Angeles compared with places where space is rare to come. Even though, by American standards, Los Angeles is crammed.
While we spent the next couple of days in Hong Kong, our means of transportation were buses, taxis, and metro. Even though it’s more time-consuming that driving your own car, I love the essence of public transportation. Everyone is like a little ant, we have a destination to go to, follow common courtesy standards, pay our fees, sit quietly and avert direct eye contact, and somehow everyone knows how public transportation works. I enjoy watching how everyone has a different destination but use the same means to get where we want to go.
I also love the super courteous culture of Taiwan and Hong Kong. Everyone, without question, gives up their seat for parents with small children, elderly, disabled, pregnant women, or people that are carrying a lot of load. Nobody eats or even drinks water while using the metro and everyone pays their fees without any problem. Also, almost everyone carries on conversations quietly without disturbing others, and mostly everyone keeps to themselves. Most young people are on their gadgets anyway lol It’s absurd how we are all immersed in our electronic gadgets, 90% of teens and young adults were on their cell!
The day after we arrived to Hong Kong, my dad’s friend took us to Sai Kung Promenade and Harbour City.
Sai Kung Promenade for the Freshest Seafood
El Salvador has a similar pier in La Libertad, where you can buy fresh seafood off boats. But Hong Kong’s Sai Kung Pier took freshness to a whole ‘nother level. There was a row of boats nicely displaying the freshest catch of the day (or maybe the week?). The selection of seafood was amazing; there was so much variety of exotic sea life. They looked like the sea life you would want in a salt water aquarium. I still can’t believe that anybody can just buy these beautiful fishes, crabs, squids, octopuses, etc…, and we just eat them right then and there.
My dad’s friend’s wife selected a variety of super duper fresh seafood off a few boats docked at the pier. Then, we walked around to choose a restaurant to cook our fresh catch while providing an ambience. It was one of the most delicious seafood meals I’ve had in my life. We had a feast of different types of seafood – which reminds me, I wish I had taken photos of each feast we had while in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China, but I didn’t, sorry.
Anyway, part of me felt so bad enjoying the crabs, shrimps, fish, snails, clams, and whatever else we had… It felt like I was so inhumane but I kept thinking that it’s no different from buying packaged meats at the grocery store and cooking it at home. Just because I don’t see a cow getting slaughtered for a piece of New York steak on my plate doesn’t make it any less inhumane to eating this fresh seafood. I was having inner conflict – should I feel bad or should I enjoy this buttery piece of fish in my mouth? I felt bad and enjoyed it at the same time.
This trip made me consider giving up eating animal products. But… I can’t. Not yet at least.
Here are some pictures while we strolled around the promenade:
Sedov, Where Did You Come From?
After the Sai Kung Promenade, we headed to Harbour City. A big surprise was docked at one of the Victoria Harbour piers! The world’s largest and oldest sailing ship, Sedov, made a stop to Hong Kong! What a lucky day! I’ve never seen a sailing ship anywhere besides Disneyland. This ship is so intricate. It’s amazing people know how to navigate this ginormous thing full of ropes.
Sedov is a 92 year-old Russian windjammer and was originally owned by Germany but surrendered to Russia in 1945. This ship is 117.5 meters, or 385.5 feet, long. Back in World War II, Sedov was used as an auxiliary fleet supply ship by Germany. Then after surrender, it was sporadically used as a training and research ship by Russia. Sedov is in the middle of a 13-month first voyage around the world as a training ship and in commemoration of the 1,150th anniversary of Russia’s statehood. On another note, the captain married a couple who is part of this world voyage on Valentine’s Day. They got engaged on the ship AND got married on the ship by the captain. How romantic is that?
A Symphony of Lights
After marveling at Sedov, we headed to a building structure where there is a huge open balcony and my dad sat somewhere with his friend while I went off on my own. It was so crowded! I had no idea what I was supposed to be waiting for. I was just following the hordes of people. A lesson I learned while learning how to use the metro in Taiwan – just follow the people.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting because I had no idea what I was waiting for, the music started. These lights coming from skyscrapers from across the Victoria Harbour started synchronizing. Now I know that this huge light show is called “A Symphony of Lights” and is displayed every night for over 10 minutes starting at 8 pm.
It was difficult to take a photo of the lights so I took a short clip instead:
The panorama of the buildings lit up at night is already a beautiful view. The LED lights show was just a bonus to the view. It is a great reminder of how a metropolis looks like. It’s a double-edged sword, on one hand technology is crazy advanced but at the cost of the environment and nature. So while buildings and concrete structures appear, nature disappears. Where do we set the boundary of technology advancement versus environmental degradation? Enjoy the convenience of everyday living at the cost of our health?
Which reminds me, a DIY I’ve been keeping on my to-do list is a recycling section at home. That will ease my guilty conscience a little bit of the harm I contribute to the environment : )
After the “A Symphony of Lights” show, we headed back to the fancy shopping center at Harbour City and had yummy sushi. Now you can put a face to my dad’s friend, his wife, and super hyperactive three year-old boy. I had to whip out my cell phone at each meal so he would sit still. My unprofessional diagnosis is that he has ADD. Or maybe all toddlers have the attention span of a pigeon? Never met an extremely hyperactive boy who loves puzzles, numbers, and singing so much.