C  H   I   N  A
Hong Kong--our final stop before heading home. Our
sojourn here was brief, no time for the legendary shopping
sprees one reads about; although, I understand that now one
needs to go to Southeast Asia for the type of bargains Hong
Kong symbolizes. As our goal did not include shopping but
instead was to develop a visual memory of the contrasts,
skylines, prosperity and communities of this renowned city,
we spent only two days here, doing those things tourists do.
We rode the cable car to the top of Victoria Peak, where
looking down on the towering buildings below is
awesome--visual testimony to the power and money that
resides in Hong Kong. We took a sampan ride through the
old fishing village of Aberdeen with its multitude of sampans
and other fishing boats. The wives of the fisherman run these
excursions while their men are out bringing in the day's catch.
Most of the traditional old fishing villages have been turned
into marinas, harbors and living areas and more will follow. It
may be that before long Aberdeen is the only one that is left.
We completed our brief experience in Hong Kong with a visit to the old Man Mo Taoist Temple, exploring Repulse
Bay, walking the streets and waterfront and taking the Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon, where our
hotel was located. Someday we need to return to this great city to learn more about it. Now was time to pack and
prepare for the flight home. This has been a journey to a different place and the time has come to try to absorb all
we have seen and done in this vast and unscrutable country. The images are jumbled, the memories overrun,
sorting them out will take time and reflection.
Tips and Thoughts That Might Help.
Chinese Money: In the mainland it is the RMB or Yuan. Hong Kong has its own currency. The
exchange rates are different and they can not be used interchangeably.
ATM's are all over and easy to use. We encountered no difficulty once we determined the minimum
amount for that location. It seemed to vary around the country. Use the Bank of China.
Public toilets are for the most part squat toilets; however, if one is uncomfortable with this, there is
usually a stall at the end with a western style fixture.. One gets used to the Chinese way easily
enough. Except for Tibet, we did not find them objectionable. In Tibet, we just laughed and used
them--a good exercise in breath control. It is usually wise to travel with tissue in your pocket.

Talk with people whenever the opportunity arises as most who speak English like the opportunity to
speak with a native speaker and will share many things.
Dressing in China is simple. You do not need "fancy" clothes; however, one "swing" outfit is good in
the event you want to go to a special restaurant. We did not see people wearing shorts and although
we had the convertible pants always kept the legs on. You do not need to dress up for the captain's
reception on the Yangtze Cruise.
Try to avoid the tourist route restaurants and instead go to places the Chinese go. The food will be
much better and the ambience enjoyable.
When shopping, bargain--everywhere.
Use a digital camera so that you can take lots of pictures and delete those you do not want. This is
really important in China as so many pictures will be unuseable due to pollution.
Take the motorcycle option at the end of the Li River Cruise.
If you can, go to Tibet.
Get a foot massage!
Because many have asked, I use a Sony Cybershot DSC-S75 digital camera. I love it!
Another answer to a frequently asked question: I used Geocities to create this website--my first.
E-mail me if you have any questions.
An excellent gift to bring home
are the delicately painted
Banyan Tree leaves. I Ifound an
artist painting them at the Three
Gorge Dam Museum in
Chongqing. They are lovely,
take no suitcase room and once
framed are quite elegant in
appearance. I bought
4 and wish I had several more. I
framed them in simple black
frames and put on black stnds. I
was able to give people true
Chinese gifts that would fit into
just about any house decor. The
recipients were very pleased
with them.