Do you remember the first time you read about some far away land in your elementary school or middle school textbooks? Do you remember the sense of adventure, urgency, and desire to go there that came over you when you read about this place or had a discussion about it when you were a toddler? I remember my first encounter with Hong Kong and Macau very well.
From a young age, I have always been fascinated with maps (I won the geography bee at my junior high school in eighth and ninth grades.) and from this love came my interest in the British Empire. The first time I studied a map and saw (UK) next to this tiny city in China, my interest was sparked and my mind started to inquire and wonder what this place was, why it was in China, and if it really was a part of the United Kingdom. A few searches on the CIA World Factbook website later, I was in the midst of a conversation about Hong Kong with one of my elementary school teachers. He also mentioned a place named Macau which was similar, being Portuguese, and right across the bay from Hong Kong.
His descriptions of the importance of trade and maritime influence, the fusion of the Eastern World and the Western World, and how much British culture and the English language had helped shape and mold Hong Kong were fascinating. This discussion, coupled with more map studies made me want to go to Hong Kong and Macau. That itch has been with me ever since.
I had a course during my next-to-last semester in college about international relations and I decided to do a historical analysis of the positive impacts of British rule in Hong Kong. It aws fascinating to learn about the changes in the colony following the 1945 Japanese Occupation and how the Brathwaite and company opened up Hong Kong’s economy in the 1970s. This unique place where the Western world meets the Far East and the two blend together has to be as awesome in real life as it seems in the books and on the television, right? There is always the skyline, too.
This dream of going to Hong Kong will soon be a reality, and a friend and I will be taking full advantage of a long weekend in November to hop on a plane from Osaka to Hong Kong. We will be certain to spend a day in Macau, as well, taking in the sites from Macau Tower to the famous St. Paul’s ruins and the Portuguese architecture.
I must say that I was thrilled to have the chance to go to South Korea to met friends and take on another strange, foreign country. That being said, I am absolutely unabashedly excited to go to Hong Kong and see if the city with the high buildings, the British influence, and the amazing harbor that I saw each time I went to the China Buffet as a kid is everything I had imagined it to be.
Now is the most fun part of traveling: planning where to go, what to do, which restaurants and bars to visit, and of course, making sure our cameras are in working order. Victoria’s Peak is the first place I will go in the evening while in Hong Kong.
Have you ever been to Hong Kong or Macau? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.