Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hong Kong Diary Day 20 Citygate Outlets Mall and Victoria Peak

Hello Thursday! We continue with our China posts today. There has been a week of quiet on my blog, I tried to post before our camping trip last week but had trouble signing in... so without further delay, here's the last bit on Day 20 in Hong Kong. After a wonderful day in Tai O we took the bus back to Kowloon City, pictured below the roof at the bus terminal, a lot of metal and glass formed this exterior structure, a substantial shelter that would accommodate a huge crowd.As Peter and David walked to the car, I looked around and noticed some towering buildings. I had seen some tall apartments before but these were so high they did not fit in the picture.
Peter pointed out construction nearby, it was not residential but a secondary school. Apart from the yellow blocks of paint, this reminded me of the schools in Singapore, grey and monotonous, classrooms with over 40 students per class. Just like Hong Kong, bigger establishments were built to meet the needs of a larger population.
David remembered the one cool thing about Hong Kong was its architecture. If it were not for the blue accents in the corner, this building below would come across as cold and lifeless, it must be a real challenge to design something that's big and interesting.
One last shot from the terminal, a zoom down the platform, an image that portrayed modern Hong Kong, a far cry from Tai O, the little fishing village we visited earlier in the day.
Leaving the bus terminal, Peter suggested shopping at the Citygate Outlets Mall nearby. I remembered the Giordano t-shirts I purchased in 1993, most of them I still wear today even though the colors had faded. We had not bought a single clothing item in mainland China and were excited about this shopping opportunity, there were all kinds of stores representing international brands. We were instantly greeted by the glitz and glamor of shopping centers, boy were those floors ever clean and shiny, even supermarkets like this one below seemed to offer a kind of Utopian world that came with perfectly ripened fruit in impeccable packaging.
Shopping malls have come a long way in modern cities like Hong Kong, they have been designed to offer the ultimate shopping experience where consumers step in and don't ever want to leave.
Captured below, a fuzzy heart-shaped mascot said, "This way to a good mood!"Paired with the notion of keeping up with the Joneses, the acquisition of material goods beyond their buying power have caused a lot of consumers to fall deep in debt. Was it all worth it?
After only 30 minutes of shopping we were loaded with clothing items of all kinds, good for another decade or two. Until this part of our trip, we had spent only a small amount on food and souvenirs, a large part of our traveling budget was spent in Hong Kong, the cost of food and clothing is similar to Vancouver. Outside the mall the air was much fresher, we left to pick up Vonny, dinner was at a small noodle shop in Tsim Sha Tsu, Peter said we should visit Victoria Peak.
Peter left the car in the parking lot, I could not remember how much parking was but I recalled it was not cheap, neither was gas. We took the elevator to the highest level, the row of window decorations greeted us. A series of black cats and flying bats denoted a Halloween theme, Vonny said Halloween was recently celebrated in Hong Kong.
As we walked towards the viewpoint, a big screen TV showcased advertisements from karaoke to game shows, contact lens products to clothing, much like the big cities we visited in mainland China, Beijing and Shanghai, advertising was abundant in Hong Kong.
Below the view from the peak, the panorama of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong's most expensive real estate.
After a few minutes we began to notice the lights started to change on some of the buildings, creating a different outlook.
A close up of the ever changing lights, it went from red to purple...
... to blue to green.
Some of the building's roofs were illuminated.
The tall building with shimmering light on the right looks like a glittering calculator.
Our eyes wandered off to the side, some lights on the buildings were arranged in graphic forms, others outlined the structure.
We stayed a while to capture some more viewpoints from different angles, I think these were taken by David who placed the camera on one of the ledges.
Despite the mist in the air the pictures turned out very clear.
Looking at these photos today I could not help but think of how different the skyline looked during Earth Hour, go to the link here and scroll down to the second picture to see.
A last look at the buildings at night, it has been a very eventful Day 20 in our China journey, by the time we got back to the hotel it was 1 AM and we were tired. A suggestion to sleep in the next day was made, next week our China adventure continues!

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