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The Highs And The Lows

The Chinese really have a way with words. English words in particular.

After a long 15+ hour flight from Los Angeles, to Hong Kong, we checked into our hostel inside the Chungking Mansions. Now that may sound luxurious, but let me tell you from first hand experience that it’s not. I think it may be the worlds record for furthest from the truth.

Chungking Mansions features a labyrinth of curry restaurants, African bistros, clothing shops, sari stores, knock-off electronic retailers and foreign exchange offices on the first two floors. The remaining 15 floors are mostly residential and guest houses. The strange atmosphere of this building is sometimes called “the scent of Kowloon’s Walled City”. If there was a tagline for CKM it would be “We put the shack in ramshakle.” In all fairness, the hostel rooms aren’t THAT bad (except for the fact that the toilet is in the shower) it’s just the rest of the building is a total dump. On the bright side, it’s in a really great location… for hookers and drug dealers (if that’s your sorta thing) despite the posted signage.

Now in defense of the prostitutes and pushers (cuz lord knows they need all the help they can get), I’m not sure if this sign is in references to peddling your products to passer-bys, or if it’s in reference to hawking up a loogie and spitting, since there are signs elsewhere in the city that indicate spitting carries a $1,500.00 fine!

OK, OK. Enough of the negatives. We’re in a new country and on a new continent… let’s try to focus on the positives. Sorry, it’s just that I get a little cranky when I’m jet lagged. For one, the weather here is great! A low of 25°C and a high of 26°. Secondly, Hong Kong has some remarkable architecture, and some mega structures that boggle the mind. It has one of the most impressive city skylines I’ve seen thus far, and the engineering is to be applauded.

This photo doesn’t really do the skyline justice, but it was a bit foggy today, and this was taken from a ferry on choppy water as we crossed from Kowloon island to Hong Kong island. But you’ll see more of the skyline in just a minute.

Below is one of my favorite buildings, the Jardine House.

And another is the very geometrically funky Bank of China Tower.

Here are a few more whose names I am unsure of, but looked kinda cool.

I loved the imagary of this giant crane in front of the AIG Tower. Perhaps they are going to tear it down and sell it for parts to try and recoup their losses?

Along many of the streets it was clear that Halloween was in the air as many vendors were busy setting up decorations for the upcoming street festival.

And others were busy selling costumes.

Which is just what we needed…

… so we could spend some of these really cool Hong Kong dollars on costumes.

The $10 bill is made of a thin plastic like material. Very cool and virtually indestructible (we tried tearing it and couldn’t). I imagine many world currencies will begin switching to this type of bill shortly as it’s much more durable and lasts way longer than paper bills.

So after picking up a few items for our costumes, we grabbed a quick snack at some pastry shop that was making these egg based inverted waffle-like snacks. They smelled great…

…so we grabbed one for the road…

…and munched on it during the windy bus ride up to The Peak.

The Peak Tower is about 396 meters above sea level and from here you can really see that amazing city skyline I was talking about!

Kudos Hong Kong!

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