Saturday, March 19, 2011

5 Symbols of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most known cities in the world. It has been made famous in literature and famous photographs. It is the perfect mixture of tradition and modernism in a city. You will see a temple sitting next to a sky scraper. I make this post about 5 symbols of Hong Kong. Things we see and automatically put with our city! Some of new and some are old. But overall they make up the tapestry of our city and I love them for many different reasons.

1. The Skyline
The most famous of the buildings is the Bank of China building
The skyline of Hong Kong is known to be one of the most beautiful in all the world. It has appeared in many tv shows and movies. Most recently, the skyline was a major point in "The Dark Night" where Batman jumped from the IFC building. This is also the building where the stunt man had his accident and died during the filming. Many movies choose HK for their location because we have a really beautiful skyline full of unique modern architecture that looks especially beautiful at night!

The longest running laser and light show happens at the HK harbor every night at 8pm. There are special ones on holidays and the only night it turned off is for the yearly Earth Hour. This year's Earth Hour is on March 26th. From 8-9 pm all the harbor will be shut off and many restaurants and places are doing dinners and music festivals by candlelight!

The most famous of all the buildings is the Bank of China building. The pattern on it is known as "the dragon's spine" because the buildings beams were designed to look like a the spines on the back of a water dragon. It was designed by I.M. Pei who also designed the pyramids at the Louvre. He designed the exterior and interior of the building to be perfectly in sync with feng shui principals. The outside pillars represent the bamboo stalks in which the dragon is hiding. And the interior of the building matches the exterior in structure making it very feng shui.

2.  The Qi Pao or Cheungsam
A traditional chinese dress made very popular by movies and tv shows.
Qi Pao is the formal word for a Cheungsam. A Qi Pao is a traditional chinese dress that was invented in the Canton region of China. It was first made in the Qing Dynasty. It was made popular by western culture in the 40's and 50's after WW2 when soldiers brought them home from asia and with the movie "The World according to Suzie Wong." A Cheungsam is no longer a daily dress as it was in the fifties. The only people who wear it every day now are waitresses in dim sum resteraunts, hotel receptionists at the Mandarin Oriental and some airline hostesses such as Air China and Dragon Air. They are now worn by ladies at weddings and formal events and are made out of many different fabrics!

3. The Junk Boat
There are sadly only two red sail junks left in HK
The Junk boat is definately a symbol of HK. When ever you see a postcard of Hong Kong you often see the red sail in the harbor. There are only 2 working red sails left in Hong Kong. One of them is a non profit boat only running on saturdays at 3pm. It gives a free ride around the harbor to tourists and teaches them about the boat and the history of junks in HK. 

The other one is called the "Aqua Luna" and gives rides at night time when the laser show is going on. You can have dinner and drinks on the boat and soak in the atmosphere. It is expensive though running at 220 for an adult. (Not including your cocktail). Compared to a meal in TST, where you can get dumplings for 30 HK and then sit on the shore and watch the lights. I have never ridden a red sail junk but I want to. I just need to save up the money as Saturdays at 3 are an impossible time for me to go have fun!

4. Pink Dolphins
The most endangered species in HK and one of the most beautiful!

You must go see the Pink Dolphins! They are beautiful creatures and sadly won't be around long due to the high pollution rates in HK. They are pink for two reasons, their blood vessels are large at the surface and give them a pink color and the pollution in the harbor is making it worse!
You can arrange a dolphin tour with Hong Kong Dolphin Watch which is dedicated to teaching people about the dolphins and trying to save them with the help of the WWF.
They do tours on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the morning. I will be taking my mother on a dolphin watch because I think she'd like to see them! An interesting fact that will make you think; the first born mortality rate is really high for the dolphins as they store toxins in their skin and the mother passes the toxins onto her baby through nursing. The first baby gets all the toxins from their mommy and tends to die. The 2nd and 3rd babies don't get as much as the first as they already passed them on. This fact combined with the fact their nesting ground was destroyed by the construction of the HK airport has made them one of the most endangered species in the world and HK most endangered species.

5. Tai Po Wishing Tree
The Taipo Wishing Tree is in the NT of HK. 

You make a wish by attaching the wish to an orange and throwing them over the branches.

I love this tree as many people do in Hong Kong. Unfortunately this tree no longer exists. The Tai Po wishing tree got sick and they chopped it down 3 years ago. It is now a plastic tree from what I understand that was made as a direct copy of the original one. SAD RIGHT? The tree got sick because it was one of the oldest trees in HK and because there were too many wishes on it and it causes it's branches to weaken. Several locals have started putting their new year's wishes into new trees rather than use the fake one. Go to Tai Po Market which is one of the best markets in HK and have a shop, a snack and make a wish in one of the new but smaller REAL trees. Don't be that lame tourist taking pictures of a plastic tree. Thanks!

Runners Up: The Big Buddha, The Jumbo Boat at Aberdeen and The Star Ferry.

1 comment:

  1. this is great. what about HK-style cafe and its pineapple bun too?