Hong Kong means business. You discover this the minute you land at the airport. The city knows how to pack itself to maximum capacity. The first thing we asked our tour guide for the day was what he considered the best season to visit Hong Kong. The guide was puzzled. And, as we found out later, rightly so. Hong Kong has a tourist inflow all through the year. There is no "right" season to visit Hong Kong. When we landed, the humidity was 95%! (The average, we are told, is 78%.)
For Indians and those from many other nationalities, there is an equivalent of a visa on arrival. The we-mean-business attitude of the city becomes amply clear when you realize how well-staffed the complete operation is. It took us less than 10 minutes to clear through immigration. The airport is very functional and food outlets extremely efficient. The lack of easily accessible paid showers at the airport is a necessity that they need to handle though. The minute they manage this, it will be perfect!
Our tour guide was an ethical freelancer working with a set of tour operators and extremely accommodating. She looked like she knew that with a family group, travel plans tend to change every hour. When we asked her whether it was just her who was extremely comfortable with our ever-changing schedule, she promptly responded with a "no." In this city, everyone is adjusting, she said. This was in total contrast to our experience in Singapore. The city was extremely inflexible when it came to modifying the whole day guide and vehicle program.
Our first halt was the Avenue of Stars. Look what we were greeted with: exactly this view! The scenery talked and talked. It had too much to convey. It was both busy and at ease at the same time. There was a coexistence of business and tourism. There was a similar coexistence of history and modernity. There was a coexistence of English and Chinese. And then there was Starbucks.
Next time someone asks me the meaning of Hong Kong, I know what I would answer: business.Published On: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013