Hong Kong, again – Around the Harbor

posted in: Adventure, China, Historic Site, Travel | 0

The first time I was in Hong Kong, the light show was kind of blah with so much fog and low cloud cover, so this time with clear skies, we wanted to see the Hong Kong Symphony of Lights again. After the church buildings, we took one of the narrow trolley buses along the island just to ride them. I think they look a bit like the Harry Potter Night Bus. It is a fun way to see this bustling metropolis and really cheap. We got on near Central and off near Wan Chai, an area with a lot of shops and restaurants.

From the trolley, we walked to the Expo Center and found “Little China” in Hong Kong. I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, but when we got to the Expo Center Aaron and I looked at each other and asked if we were back in the Mainland. It feels like it because this is a beacon attracting all of the Mainland tour groups by the bus load.

HK 30 Jan 2012 (48)

In front of the Expo Center are two monuments dedicated to the reunification of Hong Kong and China in 1997. One of them is a flower, the same flower on the Hong Kong SAR flag and coins, and was given to HK from Beijing when it all happened 15 years ago.

Why did it feel like the Mainland? There were tons of people not concerned about order or the people around them, loudly expectorating, and a bazillion photographers trying to get you to pay to get a picture in front of the statue, just like any big touristy spot in China. It is also the only place I saw in HK with the Chinese flag so prominently displayed. Most places just have the HK SAR flag.

We took a Star Ferry from the neighboring pier and ended up at Tsim Sha Tsui in time to eat and get good spots for the Hong Kong Symphony of Lights.

Symphony of Lights

Last time I was in Hong Kong, I missed the Symphony of Lights on Victoria Harbour because I got lost in a mall, not hard to do in HK. This trip to the world’s most vertical city provided two opportunities to see the spectacular. The first time it was a very cloudy night with low-hanging clouds covering the top of the IFC tower. I thought it would make for a cool show enhancing the beams of the lights and lasers. I was wrong. I was very underwhelmed with the show.

The second time, however, was much different. The weather was great and the show exciting. I feel like the first time I saw it, they only used half of the lights. After the second time, I would recommend it if you’ve never seen it. It’s really short and could be enjoyed from either side of the harbor, at 8:00 nightly.

HK 30 Jan 2012 (88)

The biggest disappointment is that the show uses MIDI music files instead of a real symphony recording. It sort of puts a ‘we-don’t-care-that-much’ stamp on the production. If it had a real recording, it could be on the scale of a Disney Parks production.

The next morning we made our way to the Macau Ferry Terminal for the hour ride to another of China’s Special Administrative Regions. More about that adventure to come soon, until then, go have your own.

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