Hong Kong General I

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From Ukraine we flew to Hong Kong. It wasn't hard to say goodbye to freezing temperatures, snow, gloves, and hats. After 3 months in Europe, we were finally getting started on our Asian adventures and I was psyched. Yuriy has been in Asia previously, but this was my first time. Once we landed, our cheesy grins said it all... the 70 degree sunny weather felt incredible! We hopped onto a double decker bus and headed toward the city, catching our first glimpses of the famous "Rush Hour" city. Shooting out of the ground on either side of us were tall, skinny high rise buildings. It was like a spreading weed... getting denser and denser the closer we got to downtown. Short buildings or houses are non existent in Hong Kong, The Vertical City. The change of scenery was so drastic. Chinese characters and Asian people in every direction. One of the first things out of my mouth was "it's like a never-ending Chinatown!" (Yuriy joked about it quite a bit).

The city is very clean, orderly, and high tech. The buses are equipped with wi-fi and there are random wi-fi hotspot booths around the city streets. We saw signs that prohibit spitting on the streets (resulting in a big fine)! I was impressed. These are clean people! The underground subway stations are shiny and classy, not trashy, stinky, and covered in graffiti like many in Europe and America. We noticed that the underground tunnels were extremely wide (to accommodate tons of people) and we later learned that the public transportation rate in HK is over 90%, the highest in the world! Hong Kong was controlled by Great Britain for a very long time, so most of the streets have very English names (like Thomas and Queen's Road), which was surprising among all the Asian characters and colors. English remains one of the primary languages (along with Cantonese), so we were in luck, as the thought of learning even a word in Chinese was intimidating.

Let's just say we were pretty impressed with our first day walking around the city.

* Julia

Really cool mountains out the airplane window, but unfortunately we were right next to the wing so I got a couple crummy shots.
The high-rise buildings start as soon as you leave the airport.
So strange to see Chinese characters painted on roads.
Our hotel was right on busy Nathan Road, but it was nothing to be proud of (a tiny little box)... we'll show you photos in an upcoming post.
A restaurant menu. Yes I'll take that special for $33 please (can anyone read this?!)
That's Yuriy on the end peering in at watches with the crowd. Must be a killer sale.
Always busy sidewalks.
One of the best/most extensive public transportation systems in the world.
Cars drive on the left (AKA wrong) side of the road, thanks to those British.
Construction scaffolding is made of bamboo! It looks incredible. (It's made of metal back home)
Jungle-like trees amidst all the modern techno buildings.
A sea of taxi cars.
These guys missed the signs...
Walking along the "Avenue of Stars"-- a promenade along the Victoria Harbor which reminded us of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California.

26 comments :

  1. Perfect timing with the guy in the subway :)

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  2. Thank you for loving my hometown ;) Great photos!

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  3. what an incredible change of scenery (!!!), but the fact that I couldn't speak the language (or even guess what anything means) would take quite a toll on me.

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  4. Wow- great photos! It's such a 180 from Ukraine/Europe. There's so much going on in this city- it looks awesome.

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  5. I really like to see a new city on your blog. This is gorgeous...

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  6. Great captures! I spent a week there myself... and loved it! The only thing I thought a bit annoying was the sticky weather...

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  7. Yay!! So glad to see a post on my adopted city!! A shame we weren't able to meet up while you were here!

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  8. Isn't Hong Kong great?!? Ahhh, I miss Asia so much! Wonderful pictures, so looking forward to see more of your Asian travels!
    xox

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  9. wonderful pictures! they really do capture how fantastic Hong Kong is. it's such a vibrant city, isn't it?

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  10. What type of flash did you use for some of the outdoor nighttime shots? How did you set it, turn it, etc.? (I'm assuming you used a flash on some of the pictures, like the one of the film reel.) I'm planning to get my first external flash, mainly for travel photography, and would love any tips!

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  11. i looked at the photos before reading your text (and after, too...and once more again, too) and thought the same thing: "everything is so clean!". i mostly just can't get over how different it looks/feels (can you say that just from viewing photos) compared to europe. man, i gotta get over there sometime!

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  12. So excited to read all about Asia! It's like your blog is a 3-part book covering each continent you were on, and we're on the second book now. Haha! Looking forward to it!

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  13. My favorite is the one with a crowd of citizens stopping to cross the street. LOVE.

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  14. Wow... you guys have seen SO much. People talk about a culture shock after going back home, but you two had one right after the other!

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  15. Hong Kong has been on my wanderlust for quite sometime. I am glad to know that people speak English there. One of my biggest traveling fears is to being able to communicate with the locals.

    It is quite amazing how alive and clean this city is. Bamboo is quite strong and they use it for many things in Asia.

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  16. Like May, thank you for showing my hometown some wonderful love! Looking forward to part 2!

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  17. Fascinating!

    (Been reading for a while now, and enjoying your travel posts. :-) Wanted to leave a comment to let you know!)

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  18. Wow. So different than any other city I've seen!

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  19. Love the photos, as usual. I was lucky enough to be in Hong Kong for the handover back to China. Though I was only 10, I remember it being an incredible city. I'd love to go back some day!

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  20. We are so excited to finally share photos from Asia and were glad to read that you are too!

    Anonymous- We didn't use a flash in any of these photos. In the night time shots, we bumped up the ISO, put the shutter speed and aperture way down, and held the camera really still to avoid blur... and relied on the streets lamps for light.

    Malinda Kay Nichols- "It's like your blog is a 3-part book covering each continent you were on, and we're on the second book now." Love this! We feel the same way.

    Inessa- All over Asia, we felt like more people speak English than in Europe. There was never really a language barrier. So no excuses!

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  21. awwww, i'm from HK, but now living in England, this post just reminds me how bad i miss home!!! very nice photos!

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  22. HK is such a vibrant place, you really captured the colours and buzz of the city! I loved it when I went there, this makes me want to go back. I can't wait to hear about your adventures in Thailand because I'm heading that way in August!

    Oh, and what's wrong with driving on the left (correct) side of the road?! :-P

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  23. i truly love hong kong. i lived in china for a while, and we visited hong kong a couple times. beautiful place.

    www.spencerandkylie.blogspot.com
    www.travelingtriplets.com

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  24. amazing photos. i love your blog your photographs never fail to inspire me.

    -misshur

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