Hong Kong and Macao

Mid winter

I like travelling alone but if the opportunity arises I welcome any good friend coming with me. That's why I mention "we" meaning Monica and myself.

We took off at Bologna airport in February 21st and we landed at Hong Kong the next day at about noon. The flight was long and calm: 12 hrs non-stop. During the flight you can just do what the room allows you to do: films, music, meals and going up and down along the aisles.

After landing at Hong Kong airport there are customs formalities to carry out.

The Hotel where we would be staying is downtown on the Island. I felt greatly impressed when entering the room because of the wide windows from which I could see all the bay and Kowloon, the peninsula, where there are lots of shops and the Stock Exchange.

Just think that we were looking at the panorama from the 27th floor !

At night, when it got dark, the whole city became a glowing sight which let you see tiny boats up and down the bay, cars going and coming unendlessly along the main road and taxi ranking outside the Hotel entrance. That very evening we went on a cruise in the bay; the boat stopped in the old quarter of the City just next to the Harbour Channel.

The night was quiet but amusing. At about midnight we decided to reach Victoria Peak, the top of the hill overlooking Hong Kong. That was the climax of the whole day.

I must confess that I like the sight of towns by night, because I feel as if I were in front of a place quite different from the one I have been walking through by day.

On Sunday we visited the fisherman’s wharf of Aberdeen and the islet of Cheng Chao; the visit of the latter had been recommended to me by an Italian we occasionally met on the plane working in Hong Kong. Weren’t we lucky?

Aberdeen is, or better used to be, a village which is growing bigger and bigger, so that skyscrapers are growing more and more numerous. The sensation you get is that cement is eating up forests and woods and I am sorry for that. The Downtown is just opposite Aberdeen.

We happened to lunch with a fisherman on board of a Sampan, the type of motor-boat which became famous thanks to spy stories. We had local food, which we appreciated even though we had to use sticks for eating the meal.

Even though I consider myself an expert traveller sometimes I feel homesick at the moment of tasting strange food.

The Islet of Cheng Chao looks like a walking place, but don’t expect to find solitary nooks because visitors from the mainland and from Downtown are galore. Stalls are set everywhere and they are a tourist's attraction. Only bicycles are allowed there. It was a nice day, almost beyond any ordinary canon and we would have enjoyed everything much more deeply at heart but for the hot weather.

We felt ourselves pushed more and more ardently to scout the country, so that we made up our minds to go to Macao, which reminds a European of the old Portuguese colonization.

What still impresses my memory of Hong Kong is the great variety of contrasting scenes: skyscrapers flooded with businessmen - technology, the house-boat of fishermen built on their sampam - real country life and people, the thick net of streets and alleys in Macao where you could get lost if the breeze could not tell you that it blows from the sea. So you go against the breeze and you find your way out in that maze.