It's difficult, if not impossible, to write anything about visiting Hong Kong without mentioning the demonstrations that are making headlines around the world. When we were in Shanghai, both the Shanghai Daily and China Daily newspapers were featuring front-page stories on both the Occupy Central movement and the riots in Ferguson, Mo. Yet to the average Hong Kong resident, both stories seem to share an equal sense of importance. Or, to be honest, non-importance.
We arrived here Thursday night and spent most of Friday trekking through Hong Kong's center either by foot, by cab (bad idea because of the snarl they call traffic) and subway (crowded but a whole lot quicker). And we could see little effect that the Occupy Central movement was having. We even had a long discussion on the night we arrived with the husband of a restaurant owner who said that while the majority of city residents supported the Occupy movement, an equal majority disapproved of their methods.
I'm not a political reporter, and I don't have the overall knowledge or expertise to judge any of this. I can only report what I see. And what I don't.
What I saw on Friday was a city built on an island, so congested with high-rise buildings and streets that snake over and atop one another it's hard to imagine people actually living here. The city extends across an inlet to a portion of the mainland (where the demonstrations are taking place), all area that the British had claimed and held for a century and a half before ceding it back to the Chinese government in 1997. We ate lunch at a restaurant, Dim Dim Sum, that lists Anthony Bourdain as one of its biggest fans (the photo above is over a pork roll that was sweetly scrumptious).
After lunch, we stopped by a shopping mall (the biggest I've seen outside of Dubai or Minneapolis) to get tickets to an evening showing of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” (because what is a trip to Hong Kong, home of Bruce Lee, without seeing a movie?). Then we jumped in a cab (big mistake) to head for the station of the tram that climbs up to The Peak that overlooks all Hong Kong. After what seemed like hours, we arrived — only to wait in line for what seemed like forever. At the top, the view is magnificent, though the haze made the taking of photos pretty much a useless activity. Then we took even longer to get back down.
But after getting directions to the nearest subway stop, we piled on and two stops later we were at the very shopping center where the movie was playing. We ate dinner (pizza because, after 10 days, we wanted a change in diet) and then took in the movie — which adds a third item to the list of things I've seen and not seen.
Things I wished I hadn't seen.