Two weeks holiday and the contrast between order and disorder
I have been back from holiday for a few weeks now. For a week or two, I have felt disoriented from what I have experienced. I usually go to Hong Kong, its where I am from and its where I still have family. I go to revisit my roots and there's usually plenty to do. Due to the riots in Hong Kong, it has been a really surreal experience. Please note that major riots generally don't occur during the week day, but on weekends. It's not quite how the biased media like to portray it. There was a lot of vandalism that have happened, but work was usually under way to enable life to continue as normally as possible. What is different this year was the tone and the atmosphere.
The rioters bully and assault anybody they don't agree with. Companies that do not submit find their shops and businesses vandalised and looted. It matters not whether you're young or old, you can be a victim. The police are very stretched and the sad thing is, the rioter's cause is supported by many levels of society. Because you can't predict how things will be. You just don't feel easy. The freedom of speech we enjoyed has been stripped from us, not by the Hong Kong government, but by the rioters. You don't want to be seen taking pictures as smartphones and cameras have been snatched by rioters. This is how it is and the media won't tell you this. I am honest with comments and I'm not affiliated with any party.
I spent one week in Hong Kong and then spent another in South Korea. I have always
wanted to go to South Korea and finally I went. I actually planned this trip back in January, before the troubles in Hong Kong erupted. It was oddly fortunate that I did go to South Korea. It would be difficult to spend two weeks in Hong Kong as I previously did.
The first impression of South Korea was how hi-tech it is and everything is quite orderly. The people are usually friendly and helpful. South Korea was everything I expected. As it was my first visit, Seoul would be the first city to explore. The food was good and tourism is well managed. Seoul feels safe and it is fine to walk around the city at night. Its not like the West End (of London), where you can really doubt your safety. The Seoul most people know is the modern glitzy image from K-Pop and K-Drama. A few palaces and shopping. However, Seoul is more than that. Seoul has plenty of the old and the new. In terms of the old, there is plenty around. There are five palaces have have survived the Japanese occupation and the Korean War (though a lot was spent on repairs and reconstruction). Though a lot has changed in Seoul, most of the old city gates still stand, as do some of the old city wall. The old Seoul was much like a Chinese city and even today, what you can't see in China, you can in Korea. I think five days in not enough.
Korea is deceptive. It is small next to China and Japan. But Korea has a lot to offer still requires time to discover her gems. Seoul might seem like any Asia city, but getting about still takes time. Thankfully, the extensive metro network is both efficient and easy to use. There are a number of state funded museums and I've enjoyed all the ones I visited. Sadly, time flies when you're having fun. However, I do intend to go back. South Korea is really is Asia's best kept secret. As a holiday destination, she is often overlooked, but has much to offer. Some people still have a dated impression of South Korea as the land of cheap goods and backwardness. But It is no longer like that. South Korea is a major player in hi-tech industries and closely rivals Japan in many areas. Despite that, South Korea is not an expensive holiday destination. Yes I know the many zeros on their banknotes make it look so, but £1 is about Won 1,400. You can eat well for less than Won 10,000. Yummy street food can be had for Won1,000 to 5,000. That will easily fill you up.
I had to fly back to Hong Kong to fly back to the UK. But the contrast is pretty big. Whilst
the number of rioters have dropped, the level of violence has risen. On my last day, they planned to disrupt flights at the airport. I had to get there before all transports to the airport ceases. I ended up hanging around the airport for 8 hours. That was a surreal experience. I do hope that this ends soon and that people come to their senses. I've spoken to a fair number of people and they feel the same way. The riots have driven a wedge between family and friends, both in Hong Kong and overseas. This is why peace and dialogue is so imporetnant.
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