A city of contrasts
After a very rough passage (monsoon rains + big waves = seasickness) on the China Sea from the Philippines, we were grateful to sail into Hong Kong. Skyscrapers surround the harbor on both the island of Hong Kong and on the mainland of Kowloon. These tall buildings are crowned with name of banks and corporations that make Hong Kong the thriving business capital that it is. Other skyscrapers provide apartments for the 7 million people that live and work here; occasional floors have no walls so that the wind can blow through the buildings instead of making them sway. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Our guide, Shermone, along with her husband, 2 children, her grandmother, and a domestic helper occupy a 600 square floor apartment. The domestic helper sleeps on the floor next to the children's’ bunk beds.
Honk Kong is a city of great contrasts; communism and free enterprise, ancient traditions and the latest technologies and fashions exist side by side. Pedestrians in business suits talking into cell phones pass by incense filled temples where chickens are slaughtered during worship. Huge street markets selling everything from canaries to corn, Nike sneakers to netsuke figurines operate in the shadow of hundred story high corporate towers.
There was great anxiety about what would happen when, after 150 years as a British Crown Colony, the city was returned to the communist government of mainland China. Fifteen years later those fears have proved to be misplaced. It would be hard to imagine a city that is better run and whose people have more energy and hope for the future.
What do you think makes a city a great place to live? What do you think would improve life in Hartford?