This is the first year in many that I haven’t traveled to Hong Kong. After moving back to the US in 1998 (not my choice), I spent 14 years away, always wondering if I would ever come back. Money and time were always tight, plus I was a single mother for six years during that time.
Yet when I started to visit in 2012, it suddenly became a lot easier to return year after year. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I always think of Hong Kong around Christmastime. Here are some of my old photos from the 1990s as well as some from 2018 when I was last in town around the holidays.
dave yates says
lovely sights and thoughts but it makes me feel too sad now!!
Joe Warren says
Susan, you are very sweet and thank you so much for a quick and meaningful reply!
How old are your children? I am very sure your children loved their Hong Kong visit!!
My wife and I loved watching Jon’s and Catherine’s facial expressions and reactions to so many wonderful sights and doings on our Hong Kong visits; especially when they were between six and fifteen years old. They’ll hold those memories for many years to come, I’m sure.
Yes, my beloved Lee Gardens is now a doggone shopping plaza. I loved that hotel, and during much of the 1980s I became friends with a couple of the assistant managers and other staff. I visited Hong Kong so often back then that I even kept a bank account at the HK&SB next door.
I resent the CHICOM government so much for what they have done and are doing to Hong Kong now. It seems, from a pure economic standpoint, China stood to gain huge income from Hong Kong as long as they just left it alone. But instead the political doctrine gets in the way, and like everything everywhere else, too much politics will destroy all the good things.
Anyway, you know all this and I’m just boring you.
As an aside, I suppose you are somewhat of a fan of Ireland as well. I am Irish/German/American Indian. I’ve never visited either Ireland or Germany, but hopefully soon my wife and I will visit those two countries once this moronic Covid mess undoes itself. As a matter of fact, I sent the book you referenced to my daughter.
Catherine attended a great university here in Texas, studied International Business and French (try not to laugh too much 🙂 ) and lived in northern Italy for a year during her I.B. studies. While there she traveled all over the UK and Europe, and she became a great fan of Ireland as well. I think she’ll enjoy the book. (With two undergrad degrees, she is a Supply Corps officer (currently a lieutenant commander) in the U.S. Navy and very upset she won’t be able to travel to Hong Kong in the foreseeable future.)
Ok… I’ve written an entire short story here, and I am sorry. Have yourself a fantastic year!!!!
Susan Blumberg-Kason says
Thanks for your reply! My younger kids are 11 and 13 and my oldest is 22, so they were all at a great age to see HK back in 2018. Just rising the trams, Star Ferry, double decker buses, MTR, and Peak tram was excitement enough.
Wow, congratulations to Catherine! I hope she can get to HK one of these years. I hope that for all of us. It’s hard to know what will happen after COVID. No one really thought 2019 and 2020 would be the way they were. I think we were all expecting that in 1997 and when it didn’t happen, well, it just seemed so unlikely. Time will tell.
I’ve never been to Ireland but would love to go when it’s safe to travel again. I miss that the most these past 10 months and counting.
Joe Warren says
Hello Susan. Your post about Hong Kong during Christmastime caught my eye. I was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, and I joined the U.S. Navy seven months after I graduated (at 17 years old) from high school. My first Hong Kong visit was while I was still only 18 years old. And through the years, from 1976 to 2018, I’ve managed to visit Hong Kong nearly 30 times. Half of those visits were on my own and with my wife and two children. All of us quickly grew to love Hong Kong.
During “the old days” I/we always stayed at the Lee Gardens Hotel (Causeway), but we always spent a lot of time across the bay in Kowloon. Once Lee Gardens closed, we switched to the Excelsior. And during the summer 2018 visit, we stayed in the Langham Hotel. But I still love and miss the old Lee Gardens Hotel.
I’ve been lucky to visit Hong Kong several times during the Christmas holidays. Christmas ALWAYS felt very Christmas-like to me in Hong Kong (and the Philippines), more so than anywhere else in Asia. The nice cold weather, especially at night. Street vendors roasting chestnuts on open fires. The pubs serving hot mulled wine. The beautiful energy of the city, especially looking across the bay at the tall building lights at night. It began as magic for a young boy from Lubbock and it continued with that magic with each subsequent trip, again and again.
With the political clouds over Hong Kong now, I fear my 2018 trip there might be the last visit. I’ve always loved Hong Kong and I’ve always admired Hong Kong’s people. Such a tragic fate.
Susan Blumberg-Kason says
Thank you, Joe, for your great comment and memories. Wow, you really saw Hong Kong during its golden years. My last real trip to HK was also in 2018, although I spent a 19 hour layover there in 2019. I also wonder about the future. I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think the space where the Lee Gardens Hotel used to stand is now a shopping center. I think I went to a Chiu Chow restaurant there in 2016.
The Excelsior was closed down either last year or the year before to be developed into office space. It was a great loss for Hong Kong. The Langham is really nice. On my trips to HK since leaving in 1998, I’ve liked to stay at different hotels each time.
Yes, you really captured the energy during Christmas in Hong Kong. I completely agree and have spent Christmas in Japan and Singapore, too, but nothing compared to Hong Kong. The chestnuts and roasted corn were my favorite street foods. It’s so great you could bring your family there so many times. When I went in 2018, it was the first time my kids were there. I’m glad they got to see it then. Sigh.