Took the Star Ferry to Kowloon. While Hong Kong island, where I am staying, is a long thin half-moon of a city stretching along the bay waterfront, Kowloon is the peninsula across the bay. There is a Cultural Center with some rather uninspired architecture at the ferry landing, but with a fantastic view of the curved Hong Kong island skyline and the mountains behind it. There is a sign “beware of the pedestrians”.
Kowloon is much friendlier than Hong Kong island – the traffic isn’t quite as murderous, the waterfront is accessible and not a tangle of freeways, they have trees and a very nice park with fragrant flower gardens, ponds with koi and turtles, a little hedge maze, flamingos, and an aviary. A great place to while away a few hours. The main shopping street is Nathan Road, lined with old trees. It has the same luxury chain stores as any other major shopping street on the planet. What the others don’t have is sleazy operators every ten meters who whisper “copy watch?” in youir ear. One was offering a “girl market”.
I tried to get food at Knutsfort terraces, a narrow street known for its restaurants, but it’s mostly Italian places that sell pizza and “braised spaghetti”. I can have that at home. I found a small Chinese restaurant not overrun with tour groups, but I am afraid I can get that better at home too… I like meat well-prepared, not by cutting an animals into ribbons and serving the shreds with skin, bone pieces, and tendons still hanging off of it.
They drive on the wrong side in all of Hong Kong. But like other places where thy drive on the left, there is no clear rule whether you walk on the left too, or on the right. I’d say 2/3 of the time they walk on the right. The up escalator or stairs marked “up” are sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right. I saw a large outdoor pool with lanes marked off with ropes, and everyone swam in nice orderly lines in each lane, like ants, to avoid colliding with oncoming traffic – and in about 2/3 of the many lanes, at random, people swam on the right… Weird.