China: Amazing Hong Kong
Former British Crown subject Hong Kong became the original Manhattan of Asia.
Hong Kong is an amazing city, and although in 1997 the reassignment of China became history, people still fear serious changes. They believe that China will greatly influence the politics, economy and domestic lifestyle of Hong Kong, because for a long time it has been and remains the center of big business – the “navel” of the earth in the capitalist world.
If you want to learn more about the history of Hong Kong, visit the Historical Museum. When the British first noticed Victoria Peak in 1657, Hong Kong was a deserted place. Then it all started with the trade: the British exported tea, silk and porcelain in exchange for silver and opium. One hundred years later, the Great Chinese Empire was on the brink of disaster because of its attachment to opium. Two opium wars died down, of which the British fleet emerged victorious. In 1841, Hong Kong Island becomes English. Only the midday shot reminds of those times. Jardin Mateson and Company, the largest company of all time, decided to give a salute in honor of their ships at noon. To the delight of tourists, this tradition has been preserved to this day.
Another relic of the past is horse racing. Hong Kong residents are extremely gamblers. Not one city in the world can not boast of such high rates. The excitement is going on at all the hippodromes, be it ancient in Happy Valley or modern Sha Tin in the New Territories. On the busiest days, only in Sha Tin, up to 80 thousand dollars are played out. 70 thousand spectators watch, win and suffer if they lose.
Ancient China has taken root in the noisy modern Hong Kong, and it’s not just about religion. Almost all the locals who care about their own health prefer to be treated according to ancient recipes. Tourists are often baffled. In the course are any ingredients. For example, from lung diseases you will be offered a monkey gallstone, and from tickling in the throat – crickets. But the most popular means is the magical items with the seal of otherworldly forces, sold in countless stores.
Feng Shui is highly respected in Hong Kong – it is considered the best way to make money, and they like to earn money here, especially with tourists.
But Hong Kong residents do not always rely only on luck, they are trying to attract it. In the countless temples of the city, they pray for the blessing of Jos. “Jos” in Cantonese means “fate,” but still protects life, love … almost everything. The local religion is a mixture of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. It does not make much difference. The most popular temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas is located next to the stadium. To get there you have to overcome a flight of steps of 400 steps, but still a waste of power justifies itself. The main temple houses 13,000 golden Buddha statues. They say two similar ones are not found here. There is no customary silence for us, interrupted by voices only in prayer time. Here, believers use bamboo sticks, and if one of them falls, the person goes to the soothsayer for explanations. The strong smell of incense covers you at the entrance to the temple – it burns many spirals on the ceiling, this lasts for weeks, and it is believed that smoke lifts believers to the gods. In Hong Kong, religious activities are also a pleasant pastime for all family members.
Victoria Harbor is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, here you can enjoy the soft breeze from the South China Sea. Historical junks are almost not preserved, although there are still locals who live in river houses.
You won’t meet sharks in Victoria Harbor, but you will get an unforgettable pleasure from a walk on the white-green double-deck ferries plying along the coast. Ferries have been here since the 19th century. The ticket costs only a couple of cents, but this does not imply its merits. This cute ferry takes you to Kowloon, where you can not only buy anything, but also see a lot of interesting things. From here there is a delightful panoramic view of the harbor and the city, for example, the Cultural Center and the Museum of Art. From the bridge in the harbor you can enjoy the view of the peak and skyscrapers of Hong Kong, while absolutely free. Towards evening, people gather here waiting for sunset.
District Mongkok – area for naturalists lovers. Although there are practically no parks here, because the region has the highest population density, the locals try to keep a piece of nature at home – they keep songbirds. In the Bird Market, they buy gifts to their pets, for example, fresh bamboo shoots or succulent grasshoppers.
If you are going to Hong Kong at the beginning of the year, you will have the opportunity to participate in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated from late January to mid-February. At this time, the central street of the city turns into a multicolored river. Tourists are offered to memorize the traditional greeting – it is very simple “Gon hey fatt choi!”, I.e. “Happy New Year, Hong Kong!”