Hong Kong and Lantau Island 2003

We arrived at the new airport created from landfill at the north end of Lantau Island at around 6:30 P.M. A short bus ride later, we were at our hotel, The Regal Kowloon. Altho advertised as a First Class place, it didn't match my expectations. The lobby was glitzy, but the rooms were shabby. However, it was clean, and we really didn't expect to spend a whole lot of time in our room.

The temperatures in HK in December are typically between the high 50's to the mid-60's, and dry. However, it usually is also cloudy, except for a brief period around mid-day when the sun breaks out. In the mornings, there is a mist covering most of the mountains, and smog covering most of the valleys and low lands... Makes taking photos a real challange.

We dumped our luggage (empty because we anticipated buying, buying, buying), and trotted out to get the lay of the land. I hadn't been in Hong Kong since 1988, and had only been told to expect "great changes."

There were new buildings all over! In-your-face architecture - small footpads because the land on Hong Kong Island is the most expensive in the world (ca. $5,000 HK dollars/sq.ft.). Many internationally famous architects work here, including I. M. Pei. Space is at such a premium that a family's apartment is typically 30 x 20 sq. ft!!!!

There is a firm belief (pervasive) in Feng Shui in Hong Kong. Feng Shui masters influence all of the buildings (orientation, materials, designs, etc.), the opening of new businesses. One building in particular had to be redesigned with a huge "hole" in the center to allow the dragon that lives in the mountain behind the hotel access to the ocean in order to drink. Another bank building's sharp angles were deemed "bad", so mirrors had to be set up to deflect the bad spirits. Although many "pooh-pooh" the idea of Feng Shui when speaking, it is acknowledged that the common people would not enter a building where bad spirits were harbored or that Feng Shui masters had not been actively involved in making sure it was safe and harmonious.