The English merchants and the government of the Untied Kingdom made this memorable city famous and prosperous. After the First Opium War (1839 – 1842), it became a colony of Britain until 1997, when an accord between the people’s republic of China and the United Kingdom declared it a Special Administered region of People’s Republic of China.
As a British colony, there were no taxes, so commerce thrived, and industry expanded; of course, British merchants benefited immensely from all these policies. Even today there are many English trading offices that import primarily British, but also from many other countries. Exports and harbour activity also contribute to finances.
Originally, Hong Kong was a fishing village inhabited by the Hakka people thousands of years ago, and who still inhabit the New Territories a few kilometres out of downtown. The first extensive records of this, now thriving seven million inhabitant city, go back only to 1842, although the Portuguese explorer Jorge Alvares was the first European to set foot on Hong Kong.
The British declared it a “free port” serving their companies as an entrepot for other countries in the region.
Hong Kong is often described as a city where east meets west. You can stay in the luxurious peninsula Hotel to be chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce, or stay in a country-style in and use public transportation.
Kowloon is connected to the mainland Central District by ferry. Every en minutes or so, one departs and practically all tourists ride it at least once to enjoy the harbour vistas in the least expensive way possible.
Hong Kong is a crowded place with 7650 skyscrapers to accommodate the population in the least possible space.
For the tourist, the downtown is a fascinating place with street hustlers peddling everything imaginable, including tailored suits in two days using the best English fabric. Once you get a suit made, you can order another a year later, and the company will mail it to you. Some businesspeople travel “on business” annually to get yet another inexpensive made to measure suit.
Po Lin Monastery, the Ocean Park, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Temple Streets are the sites most frequently visited by tourists, but they are not the only ones. You can hop on the tram (streetcar) for 25 cents for an interesting tour. The century-old transportation system is efficient and transports thousands daily. You can hop off to see the Suzy Wong era nightlife of Wan Chai, or look at traditional buildings in front of which old people animatedly discuss their own problems or world politics.
There is also a modern sub-way system.
Hong Kong people
love to dine out. There are more than 11,000 restaurants (one for every 636 citizen). You can eat high-end Chinese delicacies, or a bowl of soup, Thai, Middle Eastern, North American steaks, French, Italian, and even Russian specialties.
Many tourists take the hydrofoil boat to Macau to visit the huge hotels wits casinos and admire Portuguese architecture. Portugal administered Macau until recently
Hong Kong residents love to party year round. The biggest events happen at Chinese New Year, but every month or so, there is some kind of festival.
The city thrives on tourism, trade, the textile industry, toy manufacturing and everything of value that can be imitated and converted to money.
Hong Kong Tourism Board
offers many free activities such as tea appreciation seminars, tea ceremonies, tai chi classes, architecture tours, and calligraphy lessons.
Every major airline flies to Hong Kong but Cathay Pacific operates out of the modern airport, itself an architectural masterpiece of technology.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.