First impressions count for so much.
My first flight into Hong Kong was a surreal sensory experience: I can still wrap myself in surround-sound memories of listening to Asian flutes in luxurious Cathay business-class comfort, fuelled by love and champagne, as the plane descends through the clouds, allowing the first sight of that beautiful harbour with its sparkling light, junk-sailed boats and triangular karst islands rising out of the mists.
That whole trip, ten years ago, was magical. I must have walked, cabbed, bused and ferried just about every inch of the city and its harbour. My (now) husband was living there at the time in a perfectly-situated high-rise in Midlevels, overlooking the city, where the sight of the mists rolling out and the city lights coming on through the picture windows stopped everything in its tracks.
So, smoggy, cold, windy, and damp… it doesn’t matter – Hong Kong can do no wrong! That first impression entranced me, and I am forever in the city’s thrall.
Our most recent trip to Hong Kong, two weeks ago, was primarily about business and catching-up with old friends, but we did make a point of revisiting The Peak. We (wisely) elected to take The Peak Tram straight up, rather than walking the rather long and circuitous road as we had done when we were ten years younger.
It is only an eight minute trip up to Victoria Peak from Central; considerably quicker than the walk from Midlevels! The incline ranges from 4 to 27 degrees, and the views over Hong Kong, if you are smart enough to get on the right side of the the carriage, must be amazing on a clear day.
I’ve never been in Hong Kong on a clear day, so I take my photographic subjects where I can find them; inside the tram-car rather than outside it, if necessary!
Hong Kong is composed of hills which are made manageable by stairs and escalators. In that respect, The Peak Tower is a microcosm of the city. And, like downtown, the trip up or down the various levels of The Peak Tower is punctuated by food, entertainment and shopping…
So, we dutifully ate (a lot!) and shopped (a little) before embarking on the 3.5 Peak Circle Walk. I had no illusions about photographing views, as the the combination of overcast from the sea and smog from China showed no signs of lifting. But it is a pleasant circuit and (hopefully) helped to work off the super-sized strawberry shortcake I’d eaten with lunch.
People actually live up here, although I think the prices are well outside ‘normal’ ranges. Clearly some of the rambling properties have become too much to maintain and have been abandoned.
After our perambulation, we returned to The Sky Terrace to see if the view had cleared enough to make it worth while waiting for the night lights to come on.
It hadn’t, so I satisfied myself with some people-watching before we headed back down The Tram and walked over to The Escalators at Midlevels for drinks and dinner.
That’s the thing about Hong Kong: there is always a viable alternative.
And, good wine, good company and good food always makes a good impression!