Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hong Kong Day 2

8:00 Breakfast at Pacific Coffee, a Starbucks-like chain in Hong Kong, with British colonial flavor.
9:30 Check out the Hong Kong Convention Center where the KenFair is taking place, lots of Chinese companies exhibiting their products (a drop in the bucket compared to Canton Fair).
2:30 Visit the HSBC building, designed by Norman Foster, the building is raised on pillars to allow for foot traffic to pass underneath and a glass bottom allows pedestrians to look up into the back activity above. It is admired in Hong Kong for its perfect Feng Shui.

3:00 Peak Tram up the 45-degree Victoria Peak. Amazing views of the Hong Kong syline (above). Very touristy mall at the top. The best place to have a beer is at the Lookout Point Restaurant (below) across from the new mall built on the peak. The restaurant is old-school British patio-style dining with Indian selections on the menu. Dining there feels a bit like the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

4:15 Walk down the steep peak. Very quiet and a bit treacherous.
5:30 Reach the "Mid-Levels," an escalator city whereby people commute on a mile-long escalator that runs through cafe areas, stores, and apartment buildings. In the morning the escalators only run down and in the evening, up.

We grab a happy-hour beer and watch the commuters slowly ascend to their apartments buildings perched precariously on the side of the mountain. The crowd here is very Western with lots of British finance-types and young attractive anglos who seem ambitious and hard party-ers.

7:00 IFC Mall in the building (above) designed by I.M. Pei (not so admired by the locals for its bad Feng Shui). On the roof there's a party going on at Isola, an Italian restaurant. Also on the roof is Red Bar (below) with an unexciting menu of California Fusion cuisine and cocktails, but the view across to Kowloon is spectacular. Both the decor and food and drink offerings at Red highlight the fact that at a certain point, all these nightlife "hotspots" around the world are becoming alarmingly homogeneous. Aside from the view, this bar could be in Tel Aviv, Miami or Barcelona. The same furniture, appetizers and martinis can be had in every cosmopolitan city.

9:30 Dinner at Xi Yan Sweets, the brainchild of foodie Jacky Yu. Amazing food, wonderful service, great decor, a great place to dine if you are in Hong Kong.

The fried fish in apple curry sauce (above) alone is worth a colonial conquest of the Orient. And it's so cheap! Dinner for 2 with drinks came to about $40.

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