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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Familiarity 

There is a saying that familiarity breeds contempt. In many cases this is true. Thankfully, however, not always.

I have been in Hong Kong for the last four days on a business trip.

I had a rather stressful journey getting here. My flight was on the one day when snow crippled London and the public transport I'd counted on to take me first to the office and then to Heathrow Airport just wasn't there. Nor was I able to coax my car up the oh-so-slippery slope from my garage to the road.

However, after a £90 taxi ride around the M25, I arrived at the airport with plenty of time for the flight and we took off more or less on time.

Hong Kong is indeed a strange place. When I first arrived it was scarily strange and I was reluctant to go anywhere other than the hotel or the buildings where I am running my course. However, with the arrival of the weekend and an increased sense of familiarity with the place, I summoned enough courage to go for a walk or two in my spare couple of hours and found HK to not be as scary as I had first thought.

Last night I took a walk down to the ferry terminal from my hotel in Kowloon and took some photos of Hong Kong island. Here's a panorama I assembled out of five of them.

Hong Kong Island at night 

The area where I took the photos was thronged with other photographers taking the same pictures and, oddly enough, dozens of amateur astronomers looking up at the moon. Perhaps that was the one dark place in all of Kowloon?

Last night was also the first time I had been bold enough to go into a shop and buy something. You can pass a shop and think they are selling sweets until you get close and see they are selling dried fish. I passed on that and went into a 7-Eleven to buy chocolate. I found dark chocolate Maltesers. Result!

My weekend walks also featured my fending off several people in the street intent on selling me a suit. Blimey, do they not take no for an answer. Say "no thanks" and they'll follow down the road telling you to come see where their shop is in case you change your mind. Being the only Westerner in a sea of Oriental faces does make me an easy target I suppose.

I have four more days here and for most of those I will be working. I'm not sure how much more of HK I will be able to see. Probably not much, I expect.

Now that I have become slightly familiar with the place, I find I am thinking of coming to visit here properly and have a good look around. Not sure I'd buy a suit though.

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