The rain last night brought in some slightly cooler weather. It’s 65 this morning as we leave for Hong Kong Island. The weather this Sunday is hazy with low clouds, but no rain.
There’s a tunnel under Victoria harbor. $10 HKD per vehicle. The tunnel was completed in 1972. The taxi was 100 HKD, or about $12.88. A much better deal than hauling our luggage down the streets half a mile to the pier to take a ferry and find our hotel in an area with which we’re unfamiliar.
While you expect to see signage in Chinese, many of them also have some English. Though we haven’t found a lot of English spoken except for hotels, it hasn’t been a problem so far. The exception to this is understanding the text messages from China Mobile about the balance on my SIM.
I later received a text message I did understand. 0 bytes of data left.😓. Guess I’ll try to rely on the cellphone today’s hotel also provided and my speedy 2G. I went through 1.5gig in a day and a half.
It appears that English is taught or is an option in some schools.http://guides.wsj.com/hong-kong/guide-to-hong-kong/education/
Our new hotel on the island of Hong Kong is not far from the harbor and though our first hotel was very nice and the room had a harbor view, this hotel is even more elegant and we have a suite with a great view
We headed out towards the docks to see about catching one of those hop on / hop off sightseeing busses, figuring we’d never walk that far to discover some of the sights we’d see today..Riding in the uncovered top of the bus is better for photos, but not so great when it’s cool and you already have a cold. We bought a 2 day pass and rode on one of the three circuits today and will plan to take the other two over the next two days.
Far from the shops beings closed on Sundays, most everything is open. We also found that due to the extremes of space per resident, Hong Kong residents take to the parks for some open space, but also unexpectedly, gather under the highway overpasses and on pedestrian crosswalks. It seems that many gather based on their nationality (there are a lot of immigrants), but it was fairly cool, and we saw quite a few people who had brought a large cardboard box to shelter them.This wasn’t a few people in one place, but lots of people in a number of locations. You don’t see this on the weekdays and they’re not homeless (seen almost none of that).
There are block after block of high rise skyscrapers and apartments. Some of the apartments are newer, but many have window unit air conditioning hanging out and clothes hanging on bamboo rods to dry. So although you see a lot of wealth as evidenced by the number of Ferraris, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Tesla’s, the average person lives a modest life (avg monthly income of ~2000 USD).
Near the Convention Center on the harbor, there is a monument dedicated to the transition of Hong Kong from British rule to China in 1997.
Britain acquired Hong Kong as the result of defeating China in the Opium Wars, a not too savory part of Britain’s past. Britain impirted tea from China, but exported opium to China and it was a highly profitable trade. When China attempted to halt this trade, it resulted in war breaking out between the two after the Imperial Commissioner destroyed 2.6 million pounds of opium the British had smuggled into the country.
The Chinese emperor’s arms were sorely outnumbered by the greater number and sophistication of the British. They ceded Hong Kong to the British to save the dynasty.