Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hong Kong Observations #1

Last week was my first time to Asia.  I have a feeling that Hong Kong is a bit different than much of Asia, but I thought I would share some of my observations.

People everywhere!
There are ~7 million people in Hong Kong.  HK is made up of 3 major islands.  The population density is about 16,500 people/square mile (US is 80/sqaure mile).  It was crazy seeing so many people.  Granted I was in the very dense area (I think about 1/2 of Hong Kong is park area, so the density that you see is even greater.)  

The weird thing about HK is that it was a British territory until about a decade ago when it was given back to China.  So there are lots of British influences - driving on the left side vs right in China is one.  Street signs are in English and Chinese, which helped a ton.  When you walk down the street, amongst the millions of others, no one really seemed to know which side to walk on to pass.  I asked someone about this and there is no accepted walking pattern.

Star Ferry crossing between two of the islands.
So you can imagine the chaos of a million people walking down the sidewalk and not sticking to one side or the walk.  It was nuts!

But the people are unbelievably nice.  And many speak English.  And the service was unbelievable everywhere we went.  The people that work on the ferry wore old school sailor outfits.  And the waiters at the nice restaurants all wore Chinese styled black dress coats.  And despite that millions of people, there was no trash on the streets.  Everything was as clean as could be - but tons of smog and just general grime because of the masses.

But I was so glad to get off the plane in MSP and see trees and grass again.  And I know which side of the sidewalk to pass people on.

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