NUMBER 19: HONG KONG
In the summer of 2000, I went on my merry way to Hong Kong for a few days. It was my first Asian city visited and from the moment I arrived, it blew me away with a rich diversity and bustling culture. A former British colony, I think there are over 7 million residents on the island and an array of delicious food and delicacies on every corner. Interesting aspects that struck me on my visit were the way in which the island moved at such a hectic and furious pace. People were always on the go, rarely resting and always eating if they did get the chance to slow down and think! You could spend all night at the markets eating fresh produce and buying bits and bobs for all walks of life.
Language was a fun barrier to cross over when dealing with locals. I found myself using make shift sign language which was quite fun. The locals didn’t have a great deal of time if you were too slow on the up take so it was a case of battle fast or battle hard when negotiating. I remember spending a lot of time on the water, taking in the sights that were all around. And at the time they had a majestic HMV record store that covered three or four levels and had endless racks of CDs. books, records, DVDs and cassette tapes to choose from. And yes, they still sold cassette tapes in the year 2000.
My last day in town gave me the greatest gift of the trip. I somehow stumbled into a downstairs record store operated by this little chubby fellow who was selling strictly bootleg CD-Rs of every band you could imagine from A to Z. From memory, you picked up the case off the wall, took it to the counter and then the little man would disappear out the back somewhere and come back with your supplies. All up I purchased around 50 bootlegs because they were all of $4 Hong Kong dollars each! A genuine shopping bargain which gave me hours of listening pleasure over the following weeks.
I think rather highly of Hong Kong a lot. It is a place I would love to go back to now I am older and wiser to discover more of the rich history and culture that wasn’t really on my radar in my early twenties. There is also the added incentive of flying over to mainland China and taking a look at the Great Wall of China among other attractions. If you have not yet been, I would suggest you spend some time in Hong Kong. It’s a memorable city and one that will not let you down.