Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Hong Kong

Central Hong Kong

Sunday 3rd June

Up at 8.45am, I went out to try to find coffee, without success. I did however get some money from an HSBC ATM. We got away around 10.15, had bad and expensive coffees in a 1950s themed eatery, and walked towards Central, without any real plan. Our first stop was the huge Pacific Place mall, which was sterile but had a nice English language bookshop Kelly & Walsh.

Kelly & Walsh bookshop
shiny skyscrapers

We then looked around Hong Kong park, at a small ceramics exhibition, a viewpoint tower (which Camilla passed on), and an aviary (with lots of showy birds, including familiar lorikeets and mynahs). There were wild eagles soaring above.

Hong Kong Park the following evening
The emptiness of Hong Kong Park, both now and when I came back a few days later, perplexed and still perplexes me.

Equivalent parks in central Beijing are packed with people, even when there's a small fee to get in.

Filipino workers under the HSBC building

Not having had breakfast, we were getting pretty hungry, but not hungry enough to settle for the Italian restaurant in the Park. So we walked into Central, around the Filipino migrant workers picnicking under the HSBC building on their Sunday off. My photo doesn't capture just how many of them there were: they filled the entire area under the building and some of the surrounding streets, turning the drab urban landscape into a giant party. Looking for somewhere to eat, we wandered through an absolutely packed four storey market where everyone was speaking Tagalog.

We were now starving, and all we could see on the streetfronts was McDonalds, KFC, and such-like. Could we really be going hungry in Hong Kong?? Finally we found a congee and wonton place on the top floor of the building above Central MTR, which was comfortable and served up an excellent meal for two for HK$180 (including a tip).

The lead stories in the local newspapers I looked at were about green issues, about Hong Kong's power consumption, China's environmental policies, and suchlike. In many ways Hong Kong has done pretty well: relatively few cars and good public transport, concentrated residential and industrial areas with large forested areas, and so forth. But air-conditioning is a problem: shopping malls are kept way too cold — my glasses would fog up every time we left one — and every apartment has its own individual air-conditioning unit, which must be incredibly inefficient.

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