Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hong Kong City Orientation

The first day in Hong Kong, a large group of students took a tour of the city. The tour, which was partially conducted on buses, and then ended with a walking tour, lasted most of the day and included many of the most popular Hong Kong sites. The highlights of this city orientation included Cat Street, the Man Mo Temple, and Aberdeen.
Cat Street, which is also called Upper and Lower Lascar Row, used to be called Thieves' Market. The old name was used during a time when it was frequented by people selling stolen merchandise. Today, the street is lined with new buildings the market is probably the largest collection of Chinese antiques for sale anywhere outside of mainland China.
The Man Mo Temple is reputed as one of the oldest and most visited temples in Hong Kong. It is located on Hollywood Road, making it very close to the Cat Street Market. It was first built in 1848, shortly after the British took over Hong Kong. Several times since it was originally erected, it has been rebuilt.
The temple, whose name means “civil” and “military,” was dedicated to two gods, Man Cheong (the god of literature) and Kwan Yu (the god of war). When the students visited, the saw many fortune-teller booths near the temple. Instead of peering into a crystal ball, the fortune-tellers shake a bamboo tube. Inside the tube are fortune sticks that are marked with a number. The fortune is determined based on the stick that falls out first.
One of the last major stops in the orientation was the town of Aberdeen. Located on a southern tip of Hong Kong, Aberdeen is the largest satellite town in the area. With a population of roughly 60,000, the town morphed from a haven for pirates into a small fishing town. Recently, the town has become more modern, and has transformed yet again, this time into a waterfront resort frequented by people from metropolitan Hong Kong.

This is the view from Victoria's Peak (another stop on the city orientation) at night. From here, all of Hong Kong can be seen. The area is also known for it's attractions and restaurants, but it is the view that made it famous.

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