From Hong Kong to Beijing

8 04 2010

On our second day in Hong Kong we had planned to take an open air double decked bus tour around the city.  When we woke up the weather would have nothing of it though.  It was raining and kind of cold so for the first time during our trip the weather made us change our plans and first we went to the Hong Kong museum of Art and then we went shopping.  I have never seen so many shops anywhere and the luxury brand stores here will make even Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich blush!

In the evening we saw the Symphony of Lights, a fabulous light-show where the sky-scrapers on Hong Kong island are the main actors.  The lights on the sky-scrapers dance to the rhythm of a specially composed music and you can kind of see the character of the sky-scrapers on how they dance.  Some are shy and minimalistic while others are cocky and a bit of a show-off and everything between. 

This morning we took the short flight to Beijing and landed in Beijing in the afternoon.  The weather in the capital was nice and the temperature was about thirty degrees hotter than when we flow through in January.  We have been quite impressed with the Chinese so far.  People have seemed cheerful and there is a pleasant wibe everywhere we have been. 

The taxi drives tried to scam us though.  We knew that we should pay 15 Yuan ($2) from the train station to our hostel but they didn’t want to talk to us for less than 100 Yuan.  We met two girls that told us they paid 300 Yuan ($45) for a ride that was supposed to be 20 Yuan.  Fortunately we found a tourist information office that helped us out.  It shows what we knew that you have to know everywhere what is the right price to pay for things or else you will be overcharged.

In the evening we went to a touristy night market that sold food and snacks from all over China.  On offer were for example grilled snakes and scorpions and worms, lamb testicles and penises, pig kidneys and hearts and cow stomachs and many other mouth-watering dishes.  We were not so adventurous and had fried dumplings, chicken pancakes, Chinese hamburgers and deep-fried ice-cream for dessert.  All of the dishes we tried were very delicious.  Hopefully we’ll go again and perhaps we’ll be more adventurous then ;)

Have you seen Jackie Chan in person?

6 04 2010

We we haven’t either seen Jackie Chan but we are in his home town – Hong Kong – and saw his wax statue :)

When we arrived in Hong Kong our first impression was that of high organization and that everything seems very efficient and just the way you like it.  The airport is ultra modern and easy to navigate and the public transport system is very effective.  It has busses, trams underground trains and boats and everything works extremely well.  It is obvious from the start that the there is a lot of money in Hong Kong.  Nothing is done half way but without overspending either.

Another thing we noticed when we arrived in town is how many people are in Hong Kong.  This small “country” has over seven million inhabitants and is the fourth densest country on earth after Macau, Monaco and Singapore.  Since I was looking this up I checked how Iceland was doing on the list and we were eighth from the bottom or eight least dense country by population, just after Australia.  Can you guess what country is the least dense?  I’ll put the answer at the bottom of the post :)  Since I was looking at lists I looked where Hong Kong stands according to size.  I was surprised to find that it came in 179th of 233 countries so there are 54 countries that are smaller than Hong Kong – did YOU know that?

Anyway, today we have been exploring the city.  In the morning we went to Victoria Peak, a mountain that offers majestic view of Hong Kong.  Unfortunately there was an overcast so we didn’t get as good a view as we hoped.  That should however not be a problem because here is a photo service at the top that can “fix” the view for you for a few dollar so even if you arrive in dense fog your pictures will be beautiful.  The sights were impressive though and we might shoot back tomorrow if the the sky will be clearer.

After the peak we walked down town and checked out a few shops.  Hong Kong is a shopping heaven – if you have the money – with many shopping districts, big malls, flagship fashion stores, markets and some small alley-ways with some cheaper stuff.  We ended however in familiar territory in H&M.  After picking up a few items in H&M and eating the local specialty – dumplings – we took the boat to the mainland.  The mainland offers a fantastic view of the Hong Kong skyline which is quite impressive with the most amount of skyscrapers compared to any other place on earth (106 buildings above 180 meters).

We’ll only be two whole days in Hong Kong so I’ll have to go back to planning what to do tomorrow.  There is plenty to do and see here se we have to choose wisely…

To answer the question above: the least dense countries of the world are Greenland, then Falkland Islands and third is Mongolia.  There you have that.

The smallest countries of the world are Vatican City, then Monaco and third Pitcaim Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean.  The largest are however, as we all know, Russia, Canada and China or the USA depending on definition.

Test – posting through email

5 04 2010

I’ve been told that is not accessible in China. Fortunately I discovered that I can post to the blog through email and this post is my first test so if the post is horri ble – be patient.

Right now we are sitting at the airport in Bangkok on our way to Hong Kong. While in Bangkok we noticed a lot of protesters in the streets, all wearing red shirts. They are calling for the end of corruption in Thai politics, which seems ironic since most of them are supporters of the former prim minister Thaksin Shinawatra who him self has been charged with corruption. The protesters in Iceland can learn a lot from their Thai counterparts who are very persistent – with excellent stamina and also know how to have fun!

Last night we went out to a Shabu Shabu and sushi place for Easter dinner. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese style hot pot where you get a thin soup but can add all sorts of stuff to it – just the way you like it. They had meat, herbs, noodles, squid, fish and a lot of other unidentifiable stuff. The sushi was also good and I think we have not eaten as much the whole trip.

Well we have to go to our gate – I hope this post comes out all right through the email interface. I’ll tell you all about Hong Kong in a day or two. I’m sorry about how fragmented this post is – I’ll do better next time :)