Hong Kong - Day 3
Our last few hours in Hong Kong were the absolute best. Last year on the World Voyage we met a wonderful couple from Canada (Leigh & Wendy) and continued corresponding once the trip was over. Actually, they disembarked in Barcelona and spent several weeks touring Europe. When we returned to the ship after our first day in Hong Kong, there was a message on our phone front the front desk. In part, the message was from Leigh & Wendy – they were in Hong Kong, & when they saw our post on Facebook indicating our arrival, they walked down to the ship terminal from their nearby hotel – they were (are) actually waiting to catch another Holland America ship next Monday for a 45-day cruise. At any rate, we were able to connect and make arrangements to meet on our final day. They once again walked all the way down from their hotel to meet us outside the ship and we pulled up chairs in a coffee shop just inside the terminal. We only had 2 hours as ‘all-aboard’ was scheduled at 3:00. The time went by much too quickly as is the case when you’re with dear friends – what a marvelous couple! As our time drew to a close, we agreed to plan a trip together at some point down the road – maybe two years – we’ll see – but definitely a lasting friendship.
As I reflect on our 3 days here this year combined with our time last March, I can describe Hong Kong in a few short words. It’s bigger than life – full of history & culture – amazing skyline – excellent, very efficient subway system – congested streets – smoggy – innovative – overcrowded – and in my opinion, unsociable. Many folks would disagree with the latter, but I (we) find their demeanor as distant & hostile. Most city sidewalks are elbow-to-elbow. You often see hundreds walking straight toward you with heads mostly down, expressionless faces, and on a mission – everyone’s in a hurry to get someplace. You get bumped, pushed – they have no concept of personal space. You often feel the tips of their shoes touching your heels – very uncomfortable. Smiles are a rare commodity, and I believe the words ‘please’ & ‘thank you’ are excluded from their vocabularies. We found this to be true even in nice restaurants – the venues are beautiful and the food is good, but service is generally poor by American standards. Interesting place to visit – I wouldn’t live here, nor would I recommend an extended stay.
On to Vietnam – scheduled to arrive Friday morning.