A Tale of Two Cities?
by Stephen Trite
I've been living in Beijing for several months now, so I'm pretty familiar with mainland Chinese culture. I really love China - I think it's a fascinating place and one of the things that makes it so great is the amazing diversity. So this "Golden Week" I decided to check out Hong Kong, a very different city from Beijing but still quintessentially Chinese! I noticed a whole lot of differences between the "fragrant harbour" and the city I now call home:
One of the first things I noticed about "HK" is that it's by the sea! This means you can take the "Star" ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and take some great photos. Beijing doesn't have ferries.
If you use the pedestrian crossings in Hong Kong, you'll notice that the little red man and green man are slightly chubbier than they are elsewhere! My friend Andrea tells me the pedestrian crossings in Kuala Lumpur are even better, but I haven't been there. Yet!
Everyone in Hong Kong speaks English or Cantonese! I tried using putonghua, saying "ni hao" to a few shop assistants but they seemed to get annoyed. I hope "ni hao" doesn't mean something rude in Cantonese! Either way, I stopped saying it.
In Hong Kong, cars drive on the left! I thought it was only England that drove on the left, but I guess now I know that there are two places in the world who are opposite to everyone else. I guess they must just get used to it after a while.
Hong Kong Island is basically a big hill, not like flat-as-a-pancake Beijing. In one part of town, they even have an escalator for those lazy bums who can't be bothered to walk up! I think it's not so good for cycling though. Also they have no cycle lanes, so it wouldn't be as convenient and safe as in Beijing.
At the end of my trip I was sad to leave Hong Kong but then again I also really love Beijing. I'm now looking forward to my next holiday when I hope to explore even more of China and learn about this wonderful millennia-old culture!