I hope this email finds you all safe and well. I’m in Hong Kong, in the strangest Internet cafe I think I’ll
ever experience!! For some reason, people come in here to play interactive video games, most of which
are dealing with warfare – so I’m sitting here writing to you all while I listen to what sounds like a war
zone all around me….Guns, tanks, missiles, screaming – It is most bizarre and hard to concentrate.
Well, we made it hear with quite an adventure – and yet ANOTHER typhoon!! – this one complete with
thunder, lightning, howling wind, crashing waves, and torrential rain. I was out on deck this morning at
5.30am watching us trying to battle our way into Hong Kong Harbor, fighting to stand upright, and watching the ocean light up every few seconds in a burst of lightning. It was an incredible sight – I can tell you. At this point, I’m so used to the movement of the boat, it feels weird to stand on land!
Luckily the weather cleared a little before our arrival – enough for me to take in the unbelievably
awesome skyline of Hong Kong. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life – Skyscrapers looking like
they’ve been built on top of other skyscrapers, buildings as far as the eye can see, all amassed and
compacted together in front of green peaks shrouded in mist and cloud.. Amazing. The weather is so humid it is like walking through a permanent shower – your clothes are always wet….
I’ve just returned from my city orientation which covered the historic and modern sections of the city.
I met a lot of English businessmen, whom I tried to stop and chat to – Most excused themselves as “too
busy” to talk to me, others looking at me like “you are a stranger, so why are you talking to me?” I’m
sorry to all of you who are still in the UK, but it gave me a bad feeling about people ‘back home’.
I was told that there are over 200 000 brits still working in Hong Kong, but that a vast majority left
and went back to the UK after the handover to China in 1997. Still, most people speak English here.
Walking around Hong Kong – I think I just gazed upward with an open jaw for most of the trip – the enormity of the structures are just boggling. The highlights for me were the colonial tea drinking museum, the St. Johns cathedral which the Japanese occupied in the 1930’s and transformed into a dance hall, and the antique markets where you could still buy opium snuff boxes and miniature portraits of the late General Mao.
We also took a Sampan ride through the harbor and got to see some of the Hong Kong ‘boat people” who live their entire lives on the water. That was almost in poor taste – I felt like some American who had come to gawk at the less fortunate… I didn’t take pictures of that.
Tonight, I intend to take a cable car up to Victoria Island for dinner, and take in the electric
views of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. I’m leaving at 6.30am tomorrow for Beijing for 3 nights. I can’t
wait to visit the Great wall and the forbidden city… I will write again at the end of that trip..
By the way, there has been a change to our itinerary, but for security reasons, we are not ‘supposed’ to
tell our friends and family yet. Suffice to say that we are not going through the Suez canal, but will be
taking a southerly route around Africa. I’ll let you know the exact details when I get word..
Please let me know how you are all doing – I will do my best to reply to you on an individual basis as time
Love to you all.