I have been in Hong Kong a week now, and it’s been such a blur. Liska and the Hong Kong University team have been keeping us very busy. We had introductory walking tours, dinners, lunches, cocktail hours, and market trips to fill out almost every day this week.

The scale of the city is outrageously vertical — and the number of people they move throughout it is crazy. The metro is extremely efficient [trains every 1 to 3 minutes during rush hour, every 5 minutes at off-peak times]. There are barriers, arrows, lines, and helpers funneling people and keeping them moving.

There is nowhere to sit. Hong Kong is a city that keeps moving — there are no plazas where people hang out. You move and you shop. If you want to stop, you go into a store or a restaurant.IMG_1517 Hong Kong is built around a series of mountainous islands — but virtually everything that has been built in the last 60 years [which is like, everything, the oldest buildings here are from 1945, except the temples] is built on landfill out into the harbor! IMG_1636 The mid-levels escalator is the longest covered escalator system in the world. It was constructed in 1993 at a cost of $2 million US, and is one of the most important parts of Hong Kong transit!

As you can see below, up on the hill there is not a lot of room for a metro, buses, or trams on the hillside — all that came later. To get people up the hill they made this escalator system which stretches about 2,600 feet across 445 feet elevation.IMG_1540IMG_1524The escalators eventually link you to an elevated walkway system that snakes in and out of huge office buildings and shopping malls until you reach the waterfront.

There are so many destinations when you get out of the metro, that the exits are labeled. This is one example of the labeling system, but often there are plaques for each exit with up to 10 destinations marked!IMG_1617IMG_1632 Double-decker buses! IMG_1635 Mini buses! Hold onto your seat, these guys drive fast.IMG_1634Urban taxis are redIMG_1593 Older buildings in Wan ChaiIMG_1591IMG_1585 Street art in Wan ChaiIMG_1589 Hee hee IMG_1578 A privately owned park and its regulations — there are no fences on private parks, but anyone can ask you to leave at any time — public parks are usually gated and closed at night!IMG_1574 IMG_1525

Liska took us out to the Temple Street night market for family-style Chinese food and awesome shopping!IMG_1624 IMG_1621 [Paula got cut off on the right, sorry Paula!]IMG_1622 IMG_1625

More to come!!!