23 Aug Intern in Hong Kong | City of Contrasts
This thought came across our minds in the morning when we went to explore some ancient temples and ancestral halls in the New Territories. Quite far away from the noisy and crowded city center we realized that this was one of the most silent places we’ve been to so far. While the areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Mong Kok are full of skyscrapers reflecting each other in their glass facades, these temples and halls were hidden among short and barely standing in place houses.
Contrasts continued being evident when we returned to the city to have lunch and we saw the luxurious cars parked next to small and crowded restaurants with no menus in English. During the week we see well-dressed people rushing to their offices passing by old ladies buying some dry sea food from the stores along the street where our hotel is.
When travelling on the double-decker trams (my favorite means of transportation by the way 🙂 ) one can see something very interesting: the side streets along the main road seem to have a life of their own. An expensive brand store is on the main street but right at the corner, once the tram moves a bit down the street, you see the narrow space between the modern skyscrapers entirely occupied by crowded markets for clothes, bags and shoes.
At night we were passing by Bank of China’s impressive tower and the massive building of the Government offices in Hong Kong and after a few minutes we were walking in Hong Kong park where the plants, sounds from the animals and birds and the immense humidity gave us the feeling of being in the jungle while the skyscrapers were still visible and glowing above the trees.
Even the weather here can be extremely hot and unbearably humid, pleasantly windy and heaving rainy all in the time frame of one day – now isn’t that a contrasting character? Paul, one of the interns in our Absolute Internship group, when looking up at the sky covered by fast moving clouds described it as “typical sky of Hong Kong – fast and crowded”. A few minutes later, however, the wind had blown all the clouds away and we could see a few stars and the mountains behind the bridge connecting Honk Kong and one of the nearby islands.
This is how I see this city: it has a bit of all the extremes. Places can be tiny or huge, public transportation can be crowded and alleys in parks can be deserted, people can be rushing or enjoying their time, restaurants can be luxurious or with no table cloths…
Hong Kong is crowded but it still has little hidden oases where one can calmly reflect on the busy day spent at work or exploring the city. It is packed with people living a vibrant life, yet you can slow down for a walk along the empty and quiet coastline. Hong Kong is full of surprises and even if you plan – you might very well end up doing something completely different, yet fascinating. And if you ask me, that’s the beauty of it!