I loved Hongkong at first sight — without question, it is one of the world’s great cities. We spent much of a day wandering the streets here, and this first introduction has been enough to convince me that spending more time here would be rewarding. What is it about being in a great city that puts a certain bounce in your step?
The high-rises bump shoulders against each other while glimpses of hills and oceans peek in between, broad roads lined with designer stores lead off onto cobblestoned lanes lined with produce stalls, and the world’s longest escalator climbs alongside the steep roads to the top of the hill. Hongkong may remind me more of New York than Beijing, but it has a charm all its own. The population density is undeniably high (and growing constantly) but you don’t get the sense of being overcrowded. The traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular) is managed quietly. (It took less than half hour from the airport to downtown on the high speed train.) You see about as many Chinese faces as you do white ones in New York, and a fairly balanced mix otherwise. There is just enough hint of foreign-ness to delight me (want to visit Yat Fat stationers in the Prosperous Building?). Most of all, the city smells delicious! From the little we saw (and ate), Hongkong’s reputation as a food destination is well deserved – you can spot, say, an Israeli kebab pizzeria next to a traditional dimsum joint.
Can you call it love at first sight? I spent less than 24 hours in Hongkong, and I would be willing to move there (at least for a while).