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If you’re going to move on China, you need to come in from the east. They don’t have much of a Navy and so picking a little port like Guangzhou (pop 5 million) and sending in all your heavy warships is the the way to go. You can stage from Hong Kong. The Hoklos, Hakkas, and the Boat people are all pretty friendly and happy to do business with you. Afterall, they aren’t really Chinese so they don’t really care about what you’re up to. And if you run into any problems during your pursuit, you can come back to Hong Kong and repair and refit and rest.

That’s what the Brits did. After The Chinese government kicked England out of Guangzhou in the last 1800s because they were selling way too much opium to the Chinese, the Brits launched an invasion on an ill-suited to fight China and quickly took down the big cities on the coast and threatened Beijing before the Chinese govt got spooked and signed a “treaty” granting the Brits a ton of silver money and, long story short, a 99 year lease to Hong Kong.

Man, those Brits have been everywhere getting drunk and taking over land and I’m afraid to say that 110 years later, they are still all over the place and still causing havoc. After the Brits passed HK back to China, they still hold a sliver of central HK hostage. Soho (such a creative name!) surrounds the 800m long escalators (longest in the world) that take you from Hong Kong station to the Mid-levels apartment complexes and in this space, you’d be surprised to see that many Asians. It’s like another little London (and can we all agree that the last thing this world needs is another London?) where they can sit around, drink wine, eat pizza and generally forget they are in Asia.

Oh England, how you try to gentrify…

But HK is so much more than this area and hopefully some of the tourists that we saw from those escalators do make it out of that purgatory and into the real HK. Hopefully, they can make a break from the Guinness for long enough to take in a breakfast of tuna bun and egg sandwich with milk tea at a local HK diner. Hopefully, they will make it to someplace like the causeway market where the chickens are slaughtered to order (don’t you want to make sure they are still in good health?) and the frogs are hoping around in buckets waiting to be “selected”.

Hopefully, they’ll make it to the Dim Sum where yes, bones are spit onto tables, but the bamboo steamers are filled with food they’ve never tried before, the locals help you to understand the proper tea pouring technique and everyone sits at communal table with a big grin.

HK is China for Beginners. China 101. The Idiot’s Guide to China. China for Dum…well you get the idea, and we were glad to start our China journey here. I have to say that I didn’t plan to think much of HK but after having visted, I have gone to believe that if I had to choose a city other than Seattle to live for a few years, my first choice would be HK. You get access to most of the great Chinese cultural aspects along with a friendly people who generally speak English and will help you to understand the customs and traditions and protocol if you don’t know it…all with a laugh and a smile.

Oh and Kelly likes it because it is cheap 🙂


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