Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still Humming

Despite technically being in a recession, Hong Kong seems to continue its bustling pace. Or then again maybe it's because it's Christmas.

I arrived yesterday afternoon amid the Christmas eve rush only to be caught in a traffic jam in Central.

And later at dinner time, my relatives and I had wanted to go to a Japanese restaurant at the International Finance Centre or IFC. This place that serves sushi on a rotating belt is already popular so we thought we'd get there before 6pm.

But when we arrived at 5:45pm, we got a number -- 62 -- and they were serving number 41.

So we changed gears and headed over to another part of the mall to Crystal Palace, a chain restaurant run by Maxims and luckily we only had to wait about 10 minutes.

But that place was packed and it wasn't hard to see why.

Serving northern Chinese food, like dumplings and hand-pulled noodles, the dishes were delicious and hearty.

The six of us ate 14 dishes and bowls of noodles, and almost polished off all of them.

My uncle was quite impressed. "Dessert?" he asked.

We all shook our heads.

"You wouldn't know there was an economic downturn here," he said to me. I remarked things in Beijing had already started slowing down, in the restaurants and shops.

He said things will start to look bad next year. Hong Kong slowing down was a sad thought.

As we wandered around the shops at IFC to get to the MTR station, we could see many "sale" signs everywhere, some with "50% off" or "further reductions".

Lots of people were still getting in their last-minute Christmas shopping, but retailers are probably just happy to get rid of as much merchandise as they could.

But back in our hotel, things were in a festive mood in the lobby lounge, where a live band was playing, people dressed up and wearing hats and crowns usually reserved for New Years' parties.

There were even balloons caged up on the ceiling waiting to cascade down at midnight.

It was a bit surreal celebrating the birth of Jesus with champagne.

Maybe the city is in denial about the economic downturn, or maybe it's its perennial fighting spirit that nothing will get Hong Kong down.

1 comment:

ks said...

may be hong kong is just putting a brave front prior to the real crunch. chinese love to save face. but hong kongers are very smart and adaptive. they will survive any eventualities as history has witnessed before sars, financial disasters, realestate crash etc.