I have always had a fascination with Asian culture as far back as I can remember. I have always loved the movies, the art, the languages and the history. Going to Hong Kong was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I will also never forget the mass of humanity that is Hong Kong.
Like the picture to the side, there were always people, always a crowd. I have heard that New York City is the city that never sleeps, well I have seen empty streets in New York, I never saw one in Hong Kong. I am not sure I could live in a city like Hong Kong, my head would never shut down.
Subways in Hong Kong were a thing of wonder. They were mostly always full and some of the quietest places I have ever been. It seems to be the duality of the city. Full of people but quiet and reserved. From almost getting run down by a Bugatti (that would have been an expensive mistake) to taking a taxi down a crowded road there seemed to be a madness and a quite quality to the city. It did remind me a little of Bangkok but there were far more European influences to be found because of the British rule.
I was surprised at the amount of disparity in Hong Kong, although I should not have been thanks to the Vox videos I watched. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLrFyjGZ9NU
You could see the gulf between the super rich and super poor everyday. On one hand you have the financial district with a Mercedes Benz AMG GT (list price $130,000 US) and then just a little subway ride down the road you have box apartments with every window housing a family. If you watch the video above you will learn about coffin houses and just how bad the average person lives in the city. In thinking about the difference one thing I did not see was a homeless population that you see in the big cities in North America. What you did see were the OFW or overseas foreign workers on their only day off. This city is filled with such color and vibrance but there is an underlying heart which feels damaged. I am not an expert on Asian culture by any means but it felt different than all of the other cities in Asia I have been.
I was also intrigued by the religious institutions of Hong Kong. You have the Eastern and Western influences. The places of worship were varied from Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist temples to Baptist, Catholic, and other protestant influences. The range of religions was impressive. The one thing I always feel weird about though, is walking into a place of worship and gawking. If you will watch the video that follows it is of worshipers at a Buddhist temple.IMG_5373 (sorry I could not figure how to attach it correctly). How would we feel if someone came into our worship, started videoing and talking and not caring at all what was going on. It makes me feel weird to walk in the midst but it has never seemed to bother those who are worshiping.
The last and maybe best part of being in Hong Kong was being able to see all of my favorite people. Whether it was our cohort, the advisors and staff Stu, who I’ve known for almost twenty years and even the new group. I love connecting with friends. I also enjoyed meeting the people of Hong Kong. The people you come in contact with when you travel are really the best part. It is great to see new places and new cultures but it is so much more meaningful to get to know those around you. That has been my favorite aspect of the whole LGP program getting to know people you never would have come in contact with.
Looking back at the face to face time in Hong Kong, it was exhausting but in a good way. There was so much to take in, I don’t know if I will be able to really appreciate it for quite a long time. This one thing I do know, it was worth every minute spent. Oh, and by the way….chicken head!