March 20th to 21st, 2003
The flight from Paris to Hong Kong is about 12 hours. We left Paris at midnight on the 19th and arrived in Hong Kong the evening of the 20th. The Hong Kong International Airport (opened July 1998) is actually on the Lantau Island in Chek Lap Kok. It's interesting because due to land shortage the airport was built from the ground up (or actually seabed up) on two small islands (Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau) at a core cost of more than $20 billion. Anyway, once through customs, there is an airport express train which transports people directly to Kowloon and Hong Kong Central.
I awoke early the morning of the 20th and had breakfast with Dave. After he left for work, I setoff for sightseeing! The Honk Kong Central area is the business hub of Hong Kong. All the tall buildings dwarf the coast and make you feel small. As I set out on my walk, I quickly realized that the street level is used for driving and the second level for walking. Almost all of these huge buildings were attached by crosswalks on the second floor. You could virtually walk all over the central district inside or at least on covered walkways. Most of these buildings contain shops and cafes on the second floor, which are completely packed with business people at lunch time. I headed to the water with my trusty guide book, so I could work my way through the buildings. At the pier, I had great views of Kowloon across Victoria Harbor and the convention center.
For this walk, my travel guide details many of the buildings which are instrumental in banking and trading. The one of the Bank of China Tower with triangles has been critised for bad fung shui! The Hong Kong bank has a 170 ft atrium. I took pictures of the neat ones!!!
This is the Legco (Legislative Council) Building, Hong Kong's equivalent of a parliament. The foundation stone was laid in 1903 and construction was completed in 1912. It previously housed the Supreme Court and remains as the only colonial building in the city center.
For lunch I joined the locals in the courtyard of the Exchange Square. Like the walkways, this too is on the second floor above the street. They had a jazz band playing in the courtyard, so I grabbed a sandwich and sat on the side of the fountain.
To get away from the busy city life for the afternoon, I visited the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens and the Hong Kong Park. The botanical gardens was established in 1864 by the British to provide research into the local flora. The zoo part was added in 1975. I found the zoo more entertaining! Meet my new friends!
Pretty fountain and walkways...
Hong Kong Park, opened in 1991, houses the Edward Youde Aviary, 96 ft Observatory Tower, Tai Chi court, and outdoor theater. The aviary was absolutely huge and I don't have any pictures which would do it justice! The first thing I did was to climb the little tower and get a good idea of the layout of the park...
There was also a really pretty waterfall and ponds...
I found a comfy bench in the park across from the waterfall and kicked back with my book for a little rest before heading back to meet Dave!
Dinner our first night was at a little Thai restaurant. We ordered the ginger chicken
in soup noodles and the spicy beef with jasmine rice. Both were extremely yummy, but we
were so stuffed we didn't have room for dessert!
Back to Hong Kong page
Back to Hong Kong page Click here