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
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.