Get it in writing

Get it in writing


I recently paid a return visit to Hong Kong, having last visited there way back in 1989. One of the things that I noticed straight away since my last visit was the degree to which English had diminished as a language that many locals had competency in. Now whether that is due to the fact that Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese ownership in 1997 after some 150 years of British rule I don’t know but it was noticeable — particularly amongst taxi drivers who, for the most part, tended to be older gentlemen. Reception staff in all of the major hotels in Hong Kong tend to be young, well educated and also reasonably fluent in English and other European languages so when you are next in Hong Kong, I would definitely recommend that you get one of those reception staff to write our your address (whether it be another hotel, a restaurant, a tourist attraction or even a nearby shopping centre) in Chinese characters on paper so that you can show it to your taxi driver when he turns up. I first noticed this when I arrived back in Hong Kong having spent a few days in Shenzhen, across the border in mainland China to Hung Hom station in Kowloon. I queued up for a taxi outside the railway station with the name of my hotel printed out in English on a voucher but six taxi drivers, one after the other, refused to take the fare as they couldn’t read the address. I had to go back into the train station and queue up at one of the ticket desks and ask one of the staff to write out my hotel address in Chinese script.

Other than that, I have to say that Hong Kong was much as I last remembered it — buzzing, bustling and slightly chaotic. The skyscape looked largely familiar even though it’s being added to all the time and indeed I got to check out what is now the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, the Sky100, so called (presumably) because it has 100 floors. Located on the Kowloon side of the bay, you get spectacular panoramic view over the city either day or night, looking back over Hong Kong Island itself although if you walk around the internal perimeter of this huge building, you are treated to revealing view3s of Hong Kong and its sprawling suburbs, never before seen prior to the building of this latest testimony to mans’ ingenuity!

Hong Kong is certainly no longer cheap like it used to be all those years ago when I last visited, nor is it the shopping mecca that it once was but this vibrant city surely has more than enough to satisfy the appetite of even the most world weary traveller.

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