Wednesday, 4 November 2009

East is east and west is west. And Hong Kong is both

My two and a half days in Hong Kong have whizzed by faster than the city's ultra-reliable, sparkling-clean underground trains.

Countless travel writers have described its chaotic, cacophonous wonderment better than I ever could, so I'll keep my observations brief.

I've taken a near-vertical tram to its highest peak for a panoramic view of the stunning cityscape, and I've joined commuters on its old but indispensible Kowloon ferry.

I've sampled its haute cuisine (and will long remember the juicy eel with its crisp, charred skin) whilst watching the nightly laser spectacular, played out on the skyscrapers across the harbour. I've dined at a modest, semi-legal, neighbourhood joint where the chilli in the air-con system caused more coughing than the chilli in the dishes.

I've murdered ABBA classics in a karaoke bar, and managed not to titter from ticklishness as my toes were tweaked in the Zen-like, dimly-lit tranquility of a foot massage parlour.

The British legacy remains, and the resulting contrast between foreignness and familiarity is perhaps Hong Kong's most endearing characteristic. You need not go without your Pret a Manger sandwich or your Marks & Spencer undies. The buses are double deckers and the plugs have three pins. Some of those buses are bound for districts with Chinese names but others go to Kennedy Town or Clearwater Bay.

I'm warned that, for several months of the year, the heat and humidity are hard to bear, yet I still feel I could move there tomorrow.

Are there any media entrepreneurs out there? There's a gaping hole in the market for an English language radio station along the lines of Radio 2. I'd like to be its mid-morning presenter, please.

(Photo courtesy of

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