We flew into the city of Guangzhou to transfer and catch a high speed catamaran to take us to Hong Kong. The catamaran was a 2-hour trip.
I read that the Hong Kong harbor area was one of the busiest ports in Asia. The catamaran seem to have kept dodging ships as we headed toward Hong Kong. This city is in many ways is perplexing to explain. It's now once again part of China but in some ways it continues operating as a separate country. One needs to show ones passport to go from the mainland into Hong Kong.
It's a very small land mass area and considered to be the densest area in population in the world. They even have their own currency (Hong Kong dollar) and it's monetary value is different from the one used on the mainland. Being that Hong Kong, until very recently, was under British authority, it has changed little. Cars are still driven like in England from the right side. This is a vital piece of information to remember when walking and crossing the street! Chinese citizens from the mainland need special visas to stay for an extended time or to work in Hong Kong.
The Honk Kong dollar is one of the top 5 currencies most traded around the world. A private Hong Kong financial company had recently announced that it is investing $40 billion dollars to build a canal through Nicaragua. Once it is built, it will impact and change the balance of world commerce.
It was a very short ride from the port entry to our hotel. It took a few hours to realize that we were somewhere very different and unique from the rest of the nation. The majority of cars were new Mercedes and in just one day I saw more Rolls-Royces, Ferraris, Maseratis, and Lamborghinis in one small area than I had seen in many years. If you stay in one of the local hotels on the waterfront just a few blocks from where we were, you have the option to being taken to the airport in their Rolls or helicopter.
I thought it was quite interesting to see the bank brand name on their dollar bills. I'm going to have to do more research on this particular bank.
The city is divided by a small gulf. Hong Kong as a whole is actually a series of many small islands. There is a ferry service that connects both sides. It takes about 7-minutes to cross.
The city changes character as it lights up at night. There are so many high raises close together that having their lights in and shining in the water makes it quite a colorful scene. People walk the shoreline to see and enjoy it.
We found the weather here to be quite pleasant for being early November. Apparently the outside temperature and humidity during the summer months here can be adverse and challenging. On the news they announced that a typhoon was now headed to our region and that this city could possible experienced it.
In this part of the world these natural storms are referred to as typhoons (in the Atlantic Ocean area they are called hurricanes). Just before we prepared to fly home we learned that the typhoon stayed to the south of us and was going to hit the Philippines. It's a major tragedy when the Southeast Asia is hit by these major storms. It does great damage to areas that have extensive impoverished and densely populated areas. This region is coastline and highly exposed to high winds and large amounts of rain fall. The property damage and number of persons that will be hurt is projected to be extensive.
On our final night of our trip here in the city we just sat in the outside public square near our hotel. We sat and met persons from many parts of the world either visiting or doing business here. We saw and sometimes met persons from different parts of the world in Beijing and here in Hong Kong. It's very clear that the Beijing crowd were in the government services areas and here it was the financial and investing business sectors.
There is one particular story about their transportation infrastructure that merits attention. The private investment sectors paid for the construction of a major underwater channel tunnel roadway to connect the two sides of the city. The road was designed to be a toll road. I understand that they already obtained all the money on their investment. The investors must now be making a sizable profit from the road tolls it is now collecting daily.
Early in the morning we flew back to Seoul, Korea to then took a direct 11-hour flight to Los Angeles.
During the flight back it provided time to reflect on what I learned and experienced on this very busy exploration. This never turned out to be what I would label as a vacation. There was no time over the 18-days to simply lounge around and relax. Each day was full with new and exciting experiences. Every day there were new sites to visit. Everywhere we turned we saw the old cultures and the modern developments combined. It was hard to keep track each day of what we collectively saw. We nevertheless took time to listen to the experiences of our fellow travelers.
I think that at the end of the journey practically everyone must have been mentally tired. There was so much to learn and experience in such a very short time. Is very difficult get an in-depth understanding of a country that has thousands of years of history.
I am personally very grateful to our tour company, their in-front and behind the scenes staff and special thanks to our 18-day guide Sun Qingjun "Harry" who had to ensure the traveling logistics, orientation and safety of the tour members.
We were very fortunate to have travel along with 44 amazing persons. Many of them were from the East Coast. They were seasoned travelers and were opened to shared their experiences and insights with us. It was a very friendly, conscientious and cohesive group of mindful and inquisitive travelers. Everyone took on the many changes and challenges of the travel in stride. Persons on the tour were very helpful and constantly looked out for one another. This raised the safety factor of the members. There were countless times when we laughed together and the group conversations seemed to always be exhilarating and heartwarming.
Visiting China was truly a life-changing experience. Traveling with all these wonderful people made the trip FUN!
Now to begin writing the overview of this amazing trip.