As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has long been a significant along with an integral portion of my life. Some 400 trips to every one portion on the globe, with road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article targets those in Northeast Asia.
A holiday to Hong Kong offered a chance to experience the destination although it was still under British rule.
Rising like modern monoliths of concrete, steel and sun-glinted glass skyscrapers occupied every inch in the city on both its Hong Kong Island and Kowloon sides, which are separated by Victoria Harbor. Bridged on the outside by frequent, Star Ferry crossings and below by traffic-and subway-boring tunnels, these bustling, commerce-concerned metropolises aimed to blend modern and ancient, and western and eastern culture, yet retain a hang on its past. A walk approximately an extensive breakfast buffet, as an illustration, meant the typically expected fare, but featured Chinese offerings, including dim sum.
My sightseeing strategy entailed an ever-expanded encompassment area.
Attractions included the Suzie Wong district of Wanchai; Deep Water Bay; and Repulse Bay using its beaches; the Stanley Market, once portion of a fishing and farming village and from now on a residential area whose sprawling complex of shops and stands displayed bargain-priced commodities, including designer clothes, porcelain wares, bamboo, and rattan. Aberdeen, fisherman-inhabited and water-littered with junks and sampans, certainly emphasized the city’s origins, and also a tram ascent up Victoria Peak, which rose from 80-foot Garden Road to 1,305-foot Peak Tower, offering new perspectives.
The Sung Dynasty Village, a recreated, period-dress representation of Bian Jing, China’s capital throughout the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD), offered going back to the country’s ancient, cultural past. Entered through its a pointer portal main gate, it afforded a multi-sense immersion through architecture, customs, food, and shops that sold many methods from incense and fans to silks, handicrafts, and wood carvings inside a layout of streets, a stream-spanning wooden bridge, and triumphal arches. Live performances solidified the event.
Considered “the land between,” New Territories, 15 miles north of Kowloon’s bustling waterfront, office skyscrapers, and gleaming hotels, was a space of rolling, green hills, neatly terraced fields, rural markets, and fishing villages. It shared Hong Kong’s then-border with Communist China.
Visits here were to Chuk Lan Sim Yuen, Tai Mo Shan, the tallest mountain, and Luen Wo Market.
Lunch, inside Yucca de Lac Restaurant overlooking the Tao Harbour, included corn soup with bean curds, green kale in oyster sauce, beef and pickles within a yam nest, fried chicken with lemon sauce, spare ribs with champagne and tangerine sauce, diced pork with cashew nuts, fried rice with ham, and frozen goodies.
Two day-trips brought beyond-Hong Kong perspectives.
The first, to Macau–the “Eastern Monte Carlo” –required a 40-mile, jetfoil-bridged journey for the Portuguese community, which had been founded over 400 a long time ago by Portuguese traders and missionaries to provide as an entrepôt with Imperial China and Japan. Now a blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, it turned out awash with pastel-colored palaces, baroque churches, temples, cannon-sporting fortresses, and winding narrow streets.
Its attractions, an interchange between Eastern and Western cultures, included St. Paul’s ruins, the Ken Iam Temple, the Border Gate with China, and Penha Hill.
After lunch inside the Hotel Lisboa, there is time for the pass through the casino.
The second excursion offered an idea of Communist Chinese life. A hovercraft visit to the Shenzhan Special Economic Zone-specifically to Shekou for the Pearl River statuary and west of Shenzhen City–provided personal inspection from the Terracotta Warrior and Horse exhibition, dating on the Tang Dynasty and today considered the 8th Wonder in the World, and also a visit for the local kindergarten, and then a performance of the incredibly disciplined students.
A subsequent drive through Nan Tau to Dongguan, one in the oldest counties in Dongguan Province, was rewarded using a superb, multi-course Chinese lunch, and was as well as the continued journey to Guangzhou, formerly generally known as “Canton,” but nevertheless the center of political, exonymic, and cultural life in Southern China. Its own attractions encompassed the Guangzhou Zoo, the Temple from the Six Banyan Trees, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, an octagonal building developed in palatial style to honor the politician, physician, and political philosopher who served as being the provisional first present on the Republic of China.
The experience was capped by dinner inside the dining car on the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) over the return journey. But a sign in the earlier times was expressed from the tour guide, who, opening crossing the absolutely no longer existent border, blurted, “Relax, everyone. We’re in Hong Kong. We can breathe again!”