Day 3: Hong Kong

So today was my first full day in Hong Kong, and I had the benefit of being accompanied by a guide.  I love to travel this way when I can as it is the best way I know to take in as much of a city as possible.  My guide was Thomas, Danish by birth and upbringing, but Hong Kong resident for twenty years, and his love of the place was difficult to miss.  I think I would have loved the city regardless, but his enthusiasm was more than a little contagious (this kind of contagion definitely beats SARS!).  

We started off the day with the obligatory ride up the tram to see the city in all of it's glory.  It was overcast again today, but no matter.  The beauty and grandeur of the city was impossible to deny, grey or not.  

No, it's not a selfie!  

No, it's not a selfie!  

Hong Kong is one of those cities that avoids succinct description at least for me.  It is vast and varied.  At once Chinese and very much of a global city all at the same time.  It has extreme wealth and commerce, and it has humility and poverty.  Every block felt like a place I could easily spend a day trying to get to know.  In this way, it reminds me very much of New York or London or Paris.  It's just one of those places that is truly dense with amazing stuff to see and experience.  

I would say that my big impression today was all of these contrasts.  By way of example...

From a fancy water-front mansion on Repulse Bay...

From a fancy water-front mansion on Repulse Bay...

...to a down and out house boat

...to a down and out house boat

From cutting edge modern architecture...

From cutting edge modern architecture...

... to antiquities and traditions

... to antiquities and traditions

From a busy and congested street...

From a busy and congested street...

... to a quiet beach (with very well dressed Mainland China tourists)

... to a quiet beach (with very well dressed Mainland China tourists)

And how can anyone not love a city where it is just so easy to figure out where to get a foot massage...

HK foot massage.jpg

It's impossible to really get a sense of a place in such a short period of time.  I have another full day tomorrow, but that could never come close to giving a real sense of this city.  As my guide Thomas put it, "You have to think of these quick trips as appetizers.  If you like the food enough, you will come back for the main entre."  Well said.  And yes, the appetizer so far is pretty tasty.