Periscope Depth

hong kong, part 1

  • Several people asked why I wanted to visit Hong Kong and I had a hard time landing on a single reason. Part of it doubtless stems from my brief obsession with HK action movies. I worked my way through Tokyo Kid’s small catalog of John Woo / Yuen Woo Ping / Tsui Hark DVDs, supplementing them with an occasional visit to Blockbuster. I stopped once I had seen all the good ones, or when I had to work on my senior thesis, whichever came first. The rest of it doubtless comes from my documented love of cities. Safe, wealthy cities that are friendly to Westerners, of course; I don’t think I’d have as much fun in Cairo or Juarez. But the density of Hong Kong appealed to me and I had to see if it lived up to the hype.
  • Got there via Cathay Pacific from LAX. My second best experience on an airplane to date (best still being business class on Airtran). International travel is an entirely different creature from domestic: airlines are competing over more lucrative customers and have to step up the amenities. Cathay Pacific supplied hearty meals, free snacks (ramen noodles, but still!) and an extensive movie library in the seatback TVs. And the seats slid out, rather than reclining, which preserved what little legroom I get in economy. I did 14 hours over the Pacific like it was nothing. My only regret is not doing the minimal research needed to learn that Cathay also flies out of JFK at a comparable price and not much longer of a flight time.
  • Sylvia and I stayed at the YMCA Salisbury, which is a YMCA in name only. The room quality is comparable to any of the middle-tier American chains: Holiday Inn, Hyatt, etc. The location is perfect: right on the water in Tsimshatsui, steps from a subway entrance, two blocks from the Star Ferry and a short walk to Nathan Rd. And you won’t find a better price short of a youth hostel. Recommended without qualification.
  • As with my prior travelogues (London, Iceland, Las Vegas), updates will be ordered by impression, not chronologically. Log in for fresh entries every day this week.

View from our hotel room at the YMCA Salisbury.

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