Hong Kong 2011

When someone asks me to describe Hong Kong, the first thing that comes to my mind is an old lady in a very good shape. The skyscrapers and the architecture of the city is not old enough to be fascinating, but the downtown can be defined maybe a little bit vintage (not so much). The up and downs of the island reminded me of San Francisco, but the good taste of the californian city is not even close to what you get here. The materials and the shapes of the buildings (except some very new ones like the HSBC buliding) have that weird look that really don't impress but still you can tell they've been futuristics when they've been projected.
Walking around all you get is a massive quantity of shops and shopping centers and an amazing moltitude of people compressed in the narrow streets of H.K. Most of the times you'll find yourself going through building to go from one place to another, and guess what you get? Shopping centers. Some will take place in a couple of floors of a buildings, some others will have their own massive structure made of glossy iron and glass, but you can be sure you'll be able to find whatever you want. And if you're not satified with the fancy look (and prices) of all this you can still try to head to the heart of Kowloon. This is called "the jungle" by the people living on the island, but that's just because it's not as fake as the main part of the city. Here you'll finally run into the real people of Hong Kong, people attending the infinite markets and living the real cantonese culture.
Try to use the astonishing MTR to move around and get oriented with places, and on the red line from Sham Shui Po to Tsim Sha Tsui it will all be a blast. Here's where you'll find any kind of experience you were looking for, from the flee market and the big mess you'll run into, to the unbeatable smell of the cantonese cusine. Just try to stay away from Nathan road, a huge crowded road with no personality at all, and rather stick around Shanghai st and all the western side of that area. Kowloon park is a big green dot in the middle of the dominating cement, and if you're brave enogh to wake up very early in the morning you'll be able to watch people practice martial arts. But the park is a great way to escape the crazyness of this city anyway, so if you're looking for some quite and sense of nature...that's where you have to go.

Victoria's peak is another must if you really want to get an idea of the majesty of the island and its surrounding bay. If you're a big trekker you can either walk up there (and you'll be paid back for the effort), or you can go for the easy way and take the tipical tram.There's plenty to see around there if you don't just stick to the usual path. You can follow this link and click on the different trails available and you'll totally find what you're looking for.
Another way to enjoy the special atmosphere the bay can offer (especially at sunset) is to take a walk to the Avenue of Stars,and rest for a while right on the waters sitting on the many benches you'll find there maybe after visiting the few museums right behind it. I went to the Museum of Arts and I found very interesting the calligraphy section at the last floor of the building.It's very cheap to get in and right at the entrance you'll run into a fantastic shop where you'll be able to buy amazing books and prints of the chinese culture.
Something else funny and very interesting at the same time I experienced in H.K. is the Hong Kong Science museum. It's ment to be mainly for kids, but the interactivity and the curiosities in there are just for any open minded person, and if you belong to this kind of people be sure you won't get bored.
But let's go back to the unusual things to visit in this incredible city. I'm one of those persons in love with nature, and before coming here I took a look at the map to spot where the green areas were. It's not so hard to notice the New Territories and to realize that at the eastern tip there's plenty to see and visit. The coast is full of bays and islands, and after a quick research on the internet I finally found the right site for me...Enjoy Hiking and the THE MACLEHOSE TRAIL. This is a quite hard and long trail, but you can cut it in slices, if you don't have so much time, and get an idea of what I'm talking about. I really suggest you to take a camping tent with you, since there's planty of free cam sites where you can spend the night and take off the day after to keep living the dream.

Well...I don't want to bore you any longer with lots of informations and tips. Things to do and see here are almost endless, so you'd better be patient, do your researches on the net and you'll go back home with a sweet feeling in your earth.
For those in love with the nightlife...well, you can't miss Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai. The first one is a bustling array of restaurants, eateries, pubs and bars and beer, alcohol and wine from a myriad of countries could be enjoyed here accompanied by chess, dart and music band. In my opinion this area is way too loud and the quality of the music is way cheap, but I noticed lots of people really enjoying all this. After a long walking and taking a look at the high level of low quality places, I decided to stop at La goccia, where an amazing dj from Serbia was playing some quality stuff following it with his trumpet in an exquisite live session!
Wan Chai is not such an icon like Lan Kwai Fong, but it's more for sexual turism lovers. Usually, I heard, people head to this area of the island when they're wasted enough to pick their choice from the many sad clubs hosting poor girls coming from all over south east Asia.
This is the first impression I got from Hong Kong during my short stay...for sure it takes longer to understand such a "complicated" city, and for sure I'll go back one day!
See ya soon H.K. and thanx to Francy (and the sweet Olivia) for hosting me in her wonderful flat facing the whole bay in Lai Chi Kok.

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