June 1, 2012

A Chance to Travel: Hong Kong: 42 Years Later

By Judge Thomas C. Warren (Ret.)

My previous trip to Hong Kong was courtesy of the U.S. Army. I was on leave from my year-long visit to Viet Nam. I was expecting changes but certainly not to the extent that I found on this trip. This time Mary Ann was my companion, and she got to see it with fresh eyes. On this trip we were on a swing around Asia through Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Cambodia.

My previous trip to Hong Kong was courtesy of the U.S. Army. I was on leave from my year-long visit to Viet Nam. I was expecting changes but certainly not to the extent that I found on this trip. This time Mary Ann was my com- panion, and she got to see it with fresh eyes. On this trip we were on a swing around Asia through Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Cambodia.

One of my vivid memories from 1970 was landing over the water at old Kai Tek Airport, surely a miracle of pilot skill. This time we came into the gorgeous new airport south of Hong Kong and Kowloon and then experienced the very efficient high speed train into Hong Kong Cen- tral. A cab took us to our hotel in the Wan Chai district, the famous Suzie Wong neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed but there are still a lot of night clubs, entertainment, and beautiful women to be seen.


The guidebooks give you excellent advice by telling you that the very first thing you do is to buy an Octo- pus card. This is an electronic credit card that can be used nearly everywhere, but it is mostly for use on all the modes of transportation. You buy it in a denomination of a minimum of $150 Hong Kong (1 U.S. dollar = 7.77 Hong Kong dollars as of this writing), and you can add to the balance at any metro station if you start to run low. It was a great convenience as we used it on the Star Ferry, the metro, double-decker buses, historic double-decker street trams, outer island ferries, and the Victoria Peak cable tram. We zipped all over Hong Kong downtown, Kowloon mainland, a trip to Lamma Island, the backside.