Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I went to Hong Kong. And Macau, a little.

November 5th through 19th. That's why I'm making this. There will be many, many photographs I took, plus my notes and comments, mainly for my family and friends, although you don't have to go away if you're not in one of those groups. I'll be posting pretty regularly and should have everything that's at all interesting posted by the end of December January February March May whenever I get around to it.

For those of you unfamiliar with reading blogs... the newest stuff appears at the top, the oldest at the bottom (except for this post, which I'm sticking to the top so you can read it first if you want - so the newest stuff will be just below this). Click on "Older posts" at the bottom of the page to move back to earlier pages, or use the "Blog Archive" at the right side of the page to navigate to posts you want to see. Only the beginning of a post shows up on the page - click "Read more" to see the rest of it. You can click on the blog title at the top of each page to get back home to the front page.

Now click "Read more." Right there, below on the left. That's it.


A map, courtesy of Travel China Guide:

The main urban area consists of the north shore of Hong Kong Island, where the British first settled, and Kowloon across the narrow harbor to the north. The New Territories and the Outlying Islands have suburban towns, huge country parks, the occasional theme park and a dwindling number of old rural villages. The dark green at the top is the People's Republic of China proper, or "the Mainland."

My hotel was on Hong Kong Island in the Mid-Levels, the mostly residential area a little to the south of Central district, halfway up Victoria Peak, the mountain that dominates the western end of the island.

THE BASICS, FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW THEM (you're allowed to skip this part if you just wanna look at pictures)

Hong Kong is a tiny Chinese territory on the southeast coast of the country consisting of a bunch of little islands and an itty-bitty sliver of the mainland. It was a British colony starting in the mid-19th century, due to white devil-ish behavior on the part of the Brits involving large ships and cannons and a hella lotta opium. Over the past forty years or so it became a major international industrial and business center and a bustling modern city. Then it was abruptly returned to China in 1997, and it's now a "Special Administrative Region," a semi-autonomous territory that retains its own currency and more or less independent internal governance (that "more or less" contains a lot of complications and contradictions). If this all sounds strange and confusing, it is, and it makes Hong Kong a Very Interesting Place.

Of course, the most important side effect of all this interestingness is that Hong Kong for decades had one of the most amazing film industries ever, the third most prolific on the planet (after #1 India and #2 USA), churning out between 200 and 300 movies a year and producing names like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, etc. etc. The whole industry went into a seemingly irreversible decline starting in the late '90s, but for a while there... amazingness. Which is the principal reason I know anything at all about Hong Kong, and eventually decided to visit.

Here are pictures of this now-sort-of-vanished amazingness, just so you know:

Source: 10K Bullets
Source: DVD Active
Source: Cinekulte
Source: So Good Reviews

Source: Tars Tarkas


Much of the knowledge I'll be spewing comes from these books:

-City Between Worlds: My Hong Kong by Leo Ou-fan Lee

-Hong Kong: A Cultural History by Michael Ingham

-Insight City Guide: Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou

-The Rough Guide to Hong Kong and Macau (my constant, beloved and dog-eared companion through the trip)

We'll get started shortly.


  1. Hi Michael --

    "The whole industry went into a seemingly irreversible decline starting in the late '90s..."

    That may be so but remember/bear in mind, there still ARE good movies made by Hong Kong filmmakers each year -- even if admittedly not as many as two decades or more ago...

  2. Enjoyed reading your posts. Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities and I hope your write more.

  3. YT - Hi, glad you stopped by! Yes, absolutely true, but I think it's undeniable the HK industry is, creatively and commercially, a shadow of its former self - and it seems well on its way to becoming just a tributary of a pan-Chinese cinema anchored on the mainland.

    Of course, it can still pull off feats like surprise Best Actress prizes at the Venice Film Festival, as you recently reminded me.

  4. sbk - Thank you! It's nice to see people enjoying it. Hong Kong has been one of my favorite cities in theory for a long time, and now that I've finally been there, it's one of my actual favorite cities.

    Oh, there's much more to come, don't worry. I took 1,597 photos. Of course, not nearly all of them will go on my blog, but there will be no shortage.

    Your travel chronicles are pretty impressive too. Clearly I have a lot to do to catch up with you. I'd love to go to Japan, but I really want to see HK again as well.

    Please keep dropping in - conversation is always welcome.

  5. Hmmm... Michael... So... will you have all the photos you want to put on your blog up before your next visit to Hong Kong? ;b

  6. Yes! Yes, I will.

    Will be there Nov. 3-12. Hide the silverware.