Hong Kong: Jungle City

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I work to live, or rather more accurately, to travel. Whenever time and money allows, I'm eager to set off on a new adventure, to discover a new-to-me city, country or in this most recent case, continent.

I also love the planning (I do Project Management, after all). The weeks and months leading up to a trip, pouring over travel books (yes, I am a travel book nerd!), making reservations and endless lists of the things I want to see and do bring me great joy. I can enjoy the planning phase almost as much as the actual trip. While travel books can describe great sights, restaurants and activities (and thus build up immense excitement!), I find one thing never truly comes across in a book - the essence of a city.

I love big cities.  Needless to say, I was thrilled at the idea of visiting Hong Kong. It would be my first time visiting Asia. I've been to Paris, London, New York - I love them all. I love the hustle and bustle of big cities, which I find most mesmerizing in a crowded subway/tube/metro station. I find myself entranced by the constant mass of moving humans, fascinated that so many people have so many different places to be, all at the same time. I thought Hong Kong would be a similar big city experience to add to the list, but it surprised me. I found it to be a captivating blend of contradictions - old and new, eastern and western, big and small, a city, and a jungle.

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The view from the top of the city and you can see how the endless skyscrapers (and they really do scrape the sky in HK, many you can't see the top of through clouds!) feel like they are growing right out of the lush landscape. When I was planning this trip, I often used google maps to look at how far different sights and restaurants were from our hotel. Staying in the central neighbourhood, aptly named Central, meant nothing was more than a fifteen or so minute walk, but google maps had given me no sense of the verticality of the city. Walking around, it seemed as though buildings we squished in between tropical trees, or rather, after so much development, that trees found a way to come back between buildings.

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The city has so much elevation throughout, that they have the world's longest system of outdoor escalators (travel book nerd fact). End to end, you can easily spend twenty minutes riding these, which we of course did!

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Working in renovation and construction, I was constantly amazed at the scaffolding around buildings - it is bamboo! Traveling is a wonderful way to remind oneself of the many different solutions there can be to the same problem.

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When descriptions from your travel book come to life while you are experiencing a new place for yourself,  when you find gems in a city that don't exist in any book, when you begin to understand the essence of city and realize you can't wait to come to back to get to know it better; these are all feelings that keep me inspired and motivated after returning from a trip. Motivated to get back to work, and work hard.  All so that I can get back to traveling.

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Ps. We also went to Hong Kong Disneyland, and it was amazing!

- emma