Hong Kong Archives

December 27, 2006

United Airlines = Santa Claus

I have arrived in Hong Kong, having spent most of Christmas Day in the air and having lost most of the 26th to the International Date Line. No Boxing Day for me this year!

On the first leg of my journey--from Hartford to Chicago--I thought it would be good to come up with a ranking system for the various air segments I’ll be flying in the weeks ahead. At first I figured there should be three categories: good, mediocre, and abysmal. Then I concluded I should add another rating at the high end for those times when you a get a row to yourself or similar such good luck. Little did I expect what happened to me in O’Hare Airport: I was summoned to the desk at the gate and bumped up to Business Class for my United flight from Chicago to Tokyo! And then the same thing happened again in Narita, for the final segment to Hong Kong! I had been bumped up to First Class once before--around 1991, I believe--on a Savannah to Hartford flight after spring break with the tennis team. That was nice for a relatively short trip, but these flights became worlds better because of the upgrades. I mean, if you are going to get a free upgrade, there’s no better time than a transcontinental flight! Here are a few of the advantages: significantly more room (in the seat itself, in the space between you and your neighbor, and in front and behind the seat), a much more comfortable chair--one that reclines to an acute angle for better sleeping, far better food and service, no charge for alcoholic beverages, a choice of free newspapers, less competition for the onboard lavatories, and first exiting privileges upon arrival. I concede I did adopt a certain air about the “great unwashed masses” behind me in the plane while sitting in the lap of luxury up front. I hope I have such good luck again on this round-the-world trip.


Anyway, after clearing immigration and customs and arranging transport to my hotel in the city, it’s now early in the morning on the 27th and I am going to crash.

Hong Kong Hotel

I am staying in a great boutique hotel, the Lanson Place, in Causeway Bay. There is complimentary wireless access in all the rooms, but apparently the Internet is down--it worked last night when I arrived--due to an offshore earthquake that damaged some of the undersea cables. (I thought the Internet was designed to deal with this sort of disruption, but access is down all over Asia. Go figure.) So I’ll have to wait to post this blog entry.

Exploring Hong Kong

I spent much of the late morning and early afternoon poking around Causeway Bay, which is a vibrant neighborhood. The architectural juxtapositions in the city are stark: gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers sit next to run-down old buildings with unit air conditioners and drying laundry everywhere you look.

Public transportation is varied (subway, buses, trams, and ferries), cheap, and efficient in Hong Kong. Taxis are a reliable and cheap way to get around, too.

I met up with my advisee Greg Van in the late afternoon; he showed me the sights in the central business district, and then we headed uphill to his home for an enjoyable dinner with the extended Van family.

December 28, 2006

The Outer Islands

Much of today was spent on a boat with the Van clan, heading out of the Aberdeen harbor for an enjoyable day on the water and visits to a pair of fishing villages. Greg was playing in a golf tournament, so Geoff '10 and his mom--not to mention the aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends on board!--played host to me. The day was a great chance to see a different side of Hong Kong, one most tourists probably never see.

December 29, 2006

City Lights

I met up with Charles Depman ’06, who is spending a gap year in China and popped down to Hong Kong for the holidays; we took the Star Ferry across the harbor to Kowloon and explored the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district and enjoyed a good sushi lunch on Nathan Road. Charles and I agreed that Hong Kong feels like a cross between Shanghai and Tokyo in some ways.


After Charles connected with one of his Choate classmates, I took the tram up to the Peak to check out sunset over the city from an incredible vantage point (higher than the skyscrapers filling the skyline in the picture above). Hong Kong at night is an absolutely incredible light show and the view from the Peak is not to be missed as day turns to night.

About Hong Kong

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to As Far As You Know in the Hong Kong category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the previous category.

Jasper, Alberta is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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