6th Hong Kong Travel Report July 2002

Dear All

It is still very hot here in Hong Kong, although more frequent rain showers block the sun every now and then. But after the rain, one has to fight with a high humidity which makes one feel even hotter :-)

For this trip's report I chose the "Night" as a theme, because the day I was watch hunting in Mongkok, I got wet through and I did not even dare to pull my Coolpix out of my bag. But later that evening when I crossed the Hong Kong Harbour, I decided to make up for that.

I am not yet fast enough to adjust the brightness on the quite complex Coolpix menu and the ferry trip across the harbour only takes 11 minutes, so I kept shooting with the standard settings and tried to improve the pictures afterwards. I have to add, that I have only the free-ware Irfanview and Microsoft PhotoEditor at my disposition, how I miss my PhotoShop.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the ferry ride across the Hong Kong Harbour at Night:

Sitting on the right of the ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central, this picture is shot backwards direction to Tsim Sha Tui.

The rainbow on the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (British English:-)) is not an effect of post processing, but projected by huge spot lights onto the flat front of the Grand Auditorium. Behind the Cultural Centre you will find the Hotel Peninsula. You will find two interesting day shots of this building on my 5th trip's report.

Now moving the camera perpendicularly to the right, the following stunning view of the high-rises of Wanchai and Causeway Bay unfolds:

I am honest :-) This nice effect was pure coincidence, I tried the Auto Balance function of Microsoft's PhotoEditor and got this :-)

You can see, it is one day before Full Moon and the reflections on the water from the advertisings create really nice atmosphere.

Moving the camera to the right in driving direction towards Central also offers some great views:

The impressive Bank Of China building behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, right of it Mister Li Ka Shin's headquarters, the small cupola is the City Hall and right of it the HSBC headquarters, well, the Asian HQ that is

Mr. Li Ka Shin is the wealthiest and most powerful tycoon in Hong Kong. His career is steep and started in the late 70ies with the production of plastic flowers. Later he was able to buy a big stake in Whampoa (today Whampoa-Hutchinson) and since he did not make many mistakes during the real estate boom, his empire rose steadily to the top. His companies today control about 25% of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's trade! Li Ka Shin was also smart enough to call his boys back during the disastrous bidding for the German UMTS licenses. His Orange team had already secured a license for a price of several billion USD. Mr. Li was one of the first to realize that a normal phone service could never return those license costs. Just see what is right now happening in the European telecom markets. Most companies have Enron-like debts...

The ferry is about to land, another chance of a quick shot of the HSBC headquarters, my favorite building in Central. With a bit of imagination you can see those upside down cloth-hangers that gave the building the nickname

Some people sitting at the harbour promenade next to the Hong Kong Arts Centre where quite puzzled when I put the camera on the ground, with the lens swiveled high into the night sky. But just when I was walking to the bus terminal, I saw the almost Full Moon shining just over the Bank of China:

I had forgotten my USB cable for my Coolpix and felt really bad about it. So yesterday after a business meeting I spotted a camera shop with a Nikon neon advertising. They did not have that spare cable I was urgently wanting, but they had a combined Flash Card/SD RAM Card reader and the good news was, it was considerably cheaper then the Nikon cable.

And this is the reason you did not have to wait for this report until my return to Bangkok :-) I found this a worthwhile investment, because SD RAM seems to be steadily replacing Compact Flash Cards

Now following the already standardized pattern, after the non-watch pictures, the watch pictures. During this visit I spent a lot more time looking at all the variations of Double Rhomb watches available and found variations I was not aware of before. I also concentrated on those Double Rhomb NOS Export watches with Chinese markings, since that seems to be a most welcome addition to our "Latin" watch world.

First I discovered that Chinese marked watches were available with the old and new Double Rhomb logo on the case back. I had only seen old Double Rhomb logos on the watches with Chinese markings:

The old Double Rhomb logo on the case back

The new Double Rhomb logo on the case back

Then I also noticed that the watches with Chinese markings were available with two set of hands:

Straight narrow hands

Broader pointed hands

This watch also shows another variation, the inner edge of the acrylic crystal features an interesting decoration. I have not seen too many watches with this kind of "diamond cut" crystal before. Here is a close-up that might give you a better idea:

Although it looks on this picture as the cutting is on the outside, the decoration is on the inside of the crystal and gives the watch a different character when viewed from the side

I also experimented with a lot of different straps this time and found this one my favorite: a lighter brown strap with white double stitching. It matches the 70ies looks of the watch perfectly IMVHO:

This is the strap I finally chose for my Double Rhomb watch which enjoys a lot of wrist time now :-)

But also the black strap makes represents an elegant alternative for this 30 year old watch

Watch with narrow hands on black strap

And quite dark is also the economical outlook of Hong Kong. Almost everyday one can read about companies closing down, not just some small companies, but companies with several hundred employees. The unemployment rate has catapulted to a staggering 7.7% as of July 2002, something very unusual for this buzzing city. People really start to get worried about this never ending descend and business figures clearly reflect this spreading pessimism.

I still believe that a city with such a great location and such stunning views, with one of the best infrastructures - the public transportation is just fantastic - in Asia and with a proven legal system has valid survival options for the future. And the thousands of Tourists which arrive through one of the best airports in Asia or via huge cruise ships seem to support my optimistic view of Hong Kong's future.

Best regards

Reto Castellazzi, Hong Kong, 24th July 2002