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Absorbing The Mania

February 10, 2011

I am an urbanite through and through, and I actually thrive in the cliched hustle and bustle. Hailing from Mumbai, you would think that I would prefer holidaying in some remote, serene, picture-postcard-perfect location. Nah! I can’t tolerate being away from civilization from more than a couple of days, it gives me the creeps. Give me a city- and I am set.

 

I wouldn’t call myself a traveler either, as I haven’t had much of an opportunity to go around, being at the mercy of my parents decisions. But I have enjoyed a few trips in the country as well as abroad. There’s always a downside when traveling with parents. There are some million restrictions which stops you from doing things that will scandalize them (you do get my drift, don’t you). But the upside when it comes to traveling with my folks is that they are as enthusiastic as I am, to EXPLORE, DISCOVER and ABSORB.

Which are after all the reasons why I like to travel.

 

My trip to Hong Kong last year is one such example.

For me a holiday doesn’t start when I reach the destination. It starts way before that. I find setting the date, making an itinerary, booking tickets, scouting hotels, packing, and the mere anticipation as exciting as the journey itself. I was traveling with my parents (obviously) and this trip was happening after a long time. So you can imagine the excitement!

 

"Sky-scrapers"

Sky-scrapers touching the sky.

The moment we landed there, we knew this was going to be the best one so far. A ginormous airport, wide roads, sky-scrapers, endless sea-links, towering neon office blocks, rapid and automatic transport systems shooting around everywhere, state of the art shopping malls – could it get any better?

We had chosen to stay on the Kowloon region, opposite the Hong Kong Island. Kowloon is as lively, if not more, than mainland Hong Kong, with loads of stuff going on, day or night. It seemed like we were a part of a mega fair, where at every junction there was some amazing spectacle.

Opting to use public transport to get around, their metro and bus service being impeccable, was another smart decision. Public transport is always a fun way to move around a new city. You fumble into finding your own way, get the opportunity to interact with people while asking for directions, etc (who were surprisingly enthusiastic compared to the snobs we thought they would be) and understand their eclectic life-style. They also have a computerized ticket-spewing machine which we learnt to use. These small exercises made us feel less of an outsider. I remember getting lost a couple of times but that was the whole point. That is how you get to explore places which are not the ‘usual’ sight-seeing locales on the itinerary, but are as interesting.

 

Hong Kong boasts of its own Disney Land, and I have not seen my parents get any younger. I think Disney does that to people.Visiting Disney Land was like stepping into a fairytale. The colours and the music and the adventure and the performances and not-so-unreal characters and the hospitality and the infrastructure was a work of sheer genius. It surely delivered the magic it promised and sang all along.

"Fireworks At Disney"

Fireworks display at Disneyland.

There were other memorable moments; like at the Victoria Peak where on the chilly, cloud covered viewing deck we were able to capture the beauty of the city; the ride up to the peak via tram which retained its old English feel, with bright red compartments, rosewood benches, small glass windows and ornate lamps; watching the Symphony Of Lights across the coast at night; enjoying the myriad wildlife and ocean-life at Ocean World Park; riding a cable-car over the city; strolling along the Avenue Of Stars; posing with our favourite celebrities in wax at Madame Tussauds; prospecting various museums of arts and science – Hong Kong had it all.

 

"Roads"

A typical street in Hong Kong.

I dedicate part of my time to observe the locals. I’ve always found it an astonishing and entertaining activity.

One thing I discovered about the Hong Kongers, was that they are disciplinarians. Everyone has a fixed routine and they rarely get side-tracked- it’s like clock-work. And the other was their level of tolerance. In spite of being such a populous city, for the time I was there, I did not see a single scuffle or abusive behaviour or for that matter even a traffic jam – the outcome of regimented behaviour.  No wonder, they are so proud of having the lowest crime-rate in the world.

Cleanliness is another priority. It was a treat to see the streets being scrubbed clean every morning with some gigantic machines.

Yet another aspect people take very seriously is, you guessed right – fashion! There is everything from flea markets to glitzy malls selling  everything under the sun. Now I can go on and on about how absolutely, splendidly, awesome I found that to be, but I am just going to say this: if retail therapy can help get over ones woes, I managed to kick my non-existing woes to  another planet.

 

A fairly new city, with not so much of history and culture, but vastly westernized, Hong Kong still possesses a pizzazz, an allurement. We couldn’t help but absorb the mania which is a part and parcel of a cosmopolitan, the pace, the orderliness, people’s avidity towards work, and the general sense of belonging to one another and the city.

It was an unforgettable trip, and I hope I can take it again someday.

 

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I am sharing my experience as an entry for the Cleartrip “My Purpose” Contest hosted by Indiblogger. If you liked it, do give in your vote here.

If you have a memorable one too, please feel free to share!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2011 1:46 PM

    Lovely account…I am glad ur parents enjoyed Disneyland. Would love to go sometime and become a kid once more.

  2. February 12, 2011 5:52 PM

    Night life of hong kong is something that can never be missed 🙂

    • February 14, 2011 2:01 AM

      Which I did, thanks to my parents :P. Ah well some other time.

  3. February 13, 2011 11:20 AM

    I like your point of view of hollydays!

  4. Arvind Chugh permalink
    February 13, 2011 11:50 AM

    I testify for whatever is written above 🙂

    Next time when you visit HongKong again (obviously alone or with your friends) , then let me know..i will be here only and can help you to EXPLORE,DISCOVER AND ABSORB more….

    • February 14, 2011 2:02 AM

      Hahaha thanks Arvind. I will definitely keep it in mind.

  5. February 13, 2011 5:10 PM

    wow first time on ur blog and I’m speechless. Wonderful posts. Things I could not do on my WP blog I see you have done it. Gr888.

  6. February 13, 2011 5:12 PM

    How did you add Alexa to WordPress, I have tried hard to do it and it always disappoints me

    • February 19, 2011 9:49 AM

      It was pretty easy.. Register first, then your blog. It’s all there.

  7. tangyorangesour permalink
    February 14, 2011 4:12 AM

    Give me a city and I’m set..amen to that!

  8. Farila permalink
    February 15, 2011 7:27 PM

    Wonderful Post. Good luck for your contest…

  9. February 15, 2011 10:39 PM

    Hey all the best for the contest.. and lovely description of how the place is and what all u did .. nice pics too
    i too would love to go one day to hong kong have heard a lot of good things about it ..

  10. March 8, 2011 1:35 PM

    woooow est post …..keep doing cont. !

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