First impressions of Hong Kong

First impressions of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an amazing place; I guess most places around the world are amazing if you’ve never been there though right? I’m about to say all the cliché things like the buildings are so different, the smells are strange, the lights all work backwards blah blah and it’s all true but I don’t suspect you will understand unless you’ve been here.

The thing that did strike me first was the incredible difference between that which has been designed, as in it looks good and has had an artist work on it, and that which is just straight out functional. The housing buildings and office blocks are good examples. Housing buildings here are often tall grey ugly things that hang out over the edge of the sidewalks, and peoples washing hangs out even further. They have NO aesthetic appeal. They are just huge grey dimpled constructions that aren’t much fun to look at. And then there are the office buildings. These are the pretty looking things. They express power and prestige of the companies that built them. They are beautiful glass structures with cool crisp lines.

Check out the difference in this photo. In the first you can see the HSBC bank office building and around it you see the high-rise apartments. I find the stark difference startling. I guess that in NZ the difference from building to building is not as pronounced because we don’t tend to have it right next to each other.



I find this stark difference is present in nearly everything over here. One store will look very tidy and the one right next door is run down. One sign or advertisement will be well produced and right next door will be a sign with the letters falling off.  The impact on me is probably magnified given that I work in the communications industry, but I know I would rather visit the stores that put effort into their appearance. Having said that, while talking to John he pointed out that there are so many people over here that every shop does well. They don’t need to advertise or promote much because there are people everywhere and they all visit every store.

I walked past three 7-eleven stores all right next to each other and all three were full of people. No one was doing better than the others. They all had enough customers to keep them busy. I guess that’s the great thing about running a business in a country with heaps or people.

Our hotel room is tiny. The bathroom is even smaller. I had a shower and was touching three walls at any given time – I’m not even exaggerating!  I had trouble lifting my knee to wash my feet because there just wasn’t enough room. The one bed I’ve slept in so far was a single made for Chinese people, not surprising really. My head was touching the headboard and my feet hung out the bottom by 15cm. It was a very firm mattress. I slept for 12 hours straight. The flights and working hard over the last week must have finally caught up.

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Are you at the Chungking mansions? respect if you are.
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No I wasn't. I don't know where or what that is. Is it somewhere dodgy?

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Reminds me of New York...everything so tall and close together.

Fri, March 20, 2009 @ 10:45 AM

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Does New York have the huge contrast in decadence and deprivation? the flash right next to the scummy? or is it a little more grouped into areas? the flash area over there and the scummy over here.

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