Hong Kong 2 of 3: The Opposite of Slum Tours

May 22nd, 2009. China

At 10am Friday morning, I arrived at the Cosmo Hotel after my 18-hour train journey from Shanghai to Hong Kong. I slept pretty well in my top bunk, so after settling in and taking a shower, I took to the streets to explore. My first stop was Hong Kong Park to visit the walk through aviary. Nik and I happened upon the aviary in December when we visited, so I knew it was a place I wanted to go back to. I sat for at least an hour watching and listening to the birds. There’s something extremely calming about bird song.

Two Doves

Two Doves

Then I wandered. I wasn’t really in the mood to take many photos, so I apologize about the lack of visuals for this trip. I wound through the neighborhoods past the corporate towers and street markets. I stopped in a few shops to browse then found a coffee shop and sat to read the local news. It was one of those afternoons where I felt like a local. I had seen most of it before and I didn’t have a destination in mind. The sun eventually started to set so I found a little pizzeria to have dinner. Once it was dark I still had energy, so I continued to wander.

Street Market

Street Market

The city was bustling with activity and I was soaking it all in. The sidewalks were so full of people, that I started to go with the crowd. When I came to an intersection, I took a right if the majority was taking a right and I took a left if the majority was taking a left. I quickly found that most people were going to the subway entrances. But instead of following them on, I started going with the crowd exiting. It was an interesting way to see the city and to see what people were up to on Friday night. People were constantly shedding off to go into restaurants, but even more people were going to shop. And they are the ones that led me here.

Are you "Central"?

Are you "Central"?

This photo was taken in one of the many luxury malls in the Central area. I normally avoid places like this because they kind of make me nauseous and I know that I can’t even begin to afford a pair of socks at one of these stores. But since I was going with the flow, I decided to take a gander, and boy was I rewarded. On this Friday night, the entire Central shopping district was having a cocktail party, and Hong Kong’s elite were in attendance. There were men in tuxedos serving champagne and hors d’oeuvres, string quartets and saxophone players sprinkled throughout the halls, tango dancers circling the atrium, models in stiletto heels and black evening gowns holding lanterns, fresh flower arrangements at every turn and gift bags being handed out at the entrance. However, this was not what I was interested in. I was interested in the people attending this extravagant soiree.

I found a spot on the second level balcony so that I could observe from a distance. All of the ladies were dressed to the nines in their silk dresses and fancy shoes with designer handbags flung over their shoulders.  The men wore designer jeans with untucked white button down shirts and sneakers. Of course, each had the essential accessory stuck to their ear or held out in front of them, the iPhone. All of the shops that could be seen from the atriums or the street were packed with people. The store managers and sales people looked like they were on stage. Dressed perfectly and smiling while shaking hands trying to make a good impression on their clients hoping that they will come back tomorrow and the next day.

After watching for a few minutes, I decided that this was the complete opposite of the slum tours that we have all heard about. Perhaps I can start selling tickets to watch the city’s elite. I wonder how the cocktail party attendees would feel about that?



My guess is that they would LOVE it! I typically think that people that like to buy ALL high-end brands like to show them off and therefore like the attention it gets them.

This post really evokes the atmosphere of a book I bought yesterday, about Hong Kong at the time of the handover. The author was just named one of Australia’s best young writers – http://www.alicenelson.com.au/pages/lastsky.html. I’ve only read the first fifteen or so pages, but I have a feeling you’d really enjoy it :)


Keisha – I was thinking the same thing. In fact, maybe those on the tour could actually be paid to take the tour!

Megan – “The Last Sky” sounds like the perfect book for me right now. I hope that Garden Books has it in stock. If not, I’ll have to go to Amazon.

I’ve just finished the book, and I really definitely recommend it! You could probably have it sent direct from the publisher http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/books/886 – let me know if you’re keen to get it and having trouble finding it :)

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