Overtech takes on Hong Kong

The adventure of Overtech in Hong Kong!

Friday, May 05, 2006

We have arrived

So we arrived in HK last week, and for two little backwater hicks like us, it was an amazing cultural shock.

For those of you unfamiliar with Johannesburg, South Africa, it is a city but only in the loosest sense: The urban core is rotten and completely degraded, while the "real city" is comprised of low level office blocks and suburbs that surround it for kilometer after kilometer.

Hong Kong - obviously - is completely different. And while we did our research before coming here, you can never prepare yourself for entirely. The first thing that shocked me was the ease with which everything worked. By the time we had walked off the plane and into the airport proper, our luggage was already on the luggage belt. We whizzed through customs and right in the station was the airport express pointed directly at the island. A somewhat melancholic voice announced in English and Chinese that the train would leave the airport every 12 minutes - I laughed at that, the thought of Chinese official dismayed that they could not make it faster banging round my mind. I sure a quick tour of the rail facilities in South Africa would have them either laughing out loud or scared witless. My money is on scared!

Also, amazingly the smells of Hong Kong also caught us by surprise. A friend once told us of a travel story they read titles "Hong Pong", and it was certainly brought to mind. But to be fair the city does not stink, it just happens to be very pungent. This is not the smell of Maputo in Mozambique, where the heaped garbage piles complete with the open sewerage for most dominant stink. Hong Kong is a million road side food stalls cooking foreign food, a million cars and a million air conditioners, and fighting for space at the same time. Granted this was in Wan Chai, and not the poshed up neighbourhoods of Central, or Causeway Bay (we haven't been to the Mid Levels or the Peak yet).

Another thing that amazed me was the lack of birds. Its not that there are no birds, but the din of the city drowns them out, and in the concrete jungle there is little place for them (the city is filled with parks, but all of them are made up of concrete slabs or paving, even the soccer fields). That, and the government "discourages" fraternisation with the avian species because the threat of bird flu (as the picture demonstrates).

Well that's it for now. Remember: Keep 'em Peeled!


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