The tram up Victoria Peak has run for more than 100 years without incident. It has two cars connected through a system of pulleys to each other so that as one goes up, the other comes down. The pictures looking down on the financial district of Hong Kong were taken from Victoria Peak. The pool pictured below is on the 42nd floor –on top– of our hotel. The roof structure above it is open around the sides to fresh air. The lit-up buildings pictured above are on the Hong Kong side. The night pictures were shot from the Kowloon side. There’s a harbor light show every evening at 8:00. There aren’t many places to get a good camera rest so bring a tripod if you plan to take pictures of it.
A couple brief thoughts: Including Hong Kong, this is our 5th city in China. We’ve seen a wide range of living conditions and economies. Add in Taipei and Kuala Lumpur for additional perspective. While generalizations are tricky, it is clear that people on the street are pretty much the same everywhere. Governments, religions, the media, these repositories of cultural wisdom are where we found differences. On the streets people are smiling, glad to know you, helpful and courteous. Perhaps the translation barrier prevents the detail necessary for an offense to a sensibility to occur. People here seem very industrious and you don’t see any able-bodied people looking for a handout. Everyone is modifying and using the planet and its resources to the fullest extent they can. By comparison, Americans are heavier, more-doctored, more focussed on keeping the earth in some mythical pristine condition, and less self-reliant. For example, there was something in the news this Christmas about a town, was it in Connecticut (?) that was limiting lighting displays to reduce energy consumption and offset global warming. Meanwhile, in all the parts of Asia we visited, cities and buildings are lit in every conceivable manner for the sake of light art. Apparently, over here the warmer the earth gets, the better. When we do environmental things at home with the intent of having global consequences, we should keep in mind that this section of the planet will pretty much use the earth and its resources in every way it can to beautify and improve their living conditions, and they’ve got a long way to go in many areas. Perhaps the real environmental challenge has less to do with saving Preble’s mice, saving owls, and limiting natural resource extractions, and more to do with improving the standard of living in the third world.