Zac and I spent the week of the Lunar New Year in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, better known simply as Hong Kong. It is separated from mainland China by the Sham Chun River, and consists of the New Territories, Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the outlying islands. After spending 6 days there, we learned that Hong Kong is separated from mainland China by far more than a river. We conducted careful research the whole week and gathered the following evidence which proves that regardless of any British handover in 1997, Hong Kong remains “of the People’s Republic of China” in name only.
In Hong Kong, there are no cars on the sidewalks and the tall buildings are all occupied. The bakeries make pastries that are not filled with sweet bean paste and the grocery stores stock western food. The society is very multicultural and there is actual freedom of speech and religion. People throw their rubbish into the trash bins and they don’t spit and vomit on the sidewalks. The restrooms come equipped with toilet paper and hand soap, plus they often have western-style toilets. Hong Kongers wait at the crosswalks and don’t walk in front of cars, causing traffic jams. They make queues and no one pushes to get on or off the busses. And best of all, nearly everyone knows a little English and isn’t afraid to use it. This was especially important for us since even the little Mandarin Chinese we knew was useless in this Cantonese-speaking region.
We arrived in this magnificent land on Friday night, after flying from Dalian to Hangzhou to Shenzhen, then taking a bus from Shenzhen (mainland China) across the border to Hong Kong. As further proof that Hong Kong is not China, Zac and I didn’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong whereas the mainland Chinese needed a visa to go there. We also had to change our Yuan into Hong Kong dollars, since they still maintain their separate currency under the policy of “one country, two systems” that will be in effect until 2047. (Please note: HK$ is Hong Kong dollars. Y is Yuan, the mainland Chinese currency. $ represents good ol’ American greenbacks. HK$ and Y are basically equal in value, and it takes about HK$8 or Y8 to equal $1).
|Hong Kong Map
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Flag