Kowloon

Dispatch #0020: TRAVELER ALERT: HONG KONG STREET DEMONSTRATIONS AND SAFE AND SECURE PRIVATE TOURS, Originally Posted in July 2019; Latest Update October 11, 2019

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TRAVELER ALERT: HONG KONG STREET DEMONSTRATIONS, Updated on October 11, 2019

Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong in the current circumstances given the street protests? That is the question many potential visitors to Hong Kong are now asking.

The quick answer is yes, but closely monitor and be aware of the daily situation, exercise common sense, avoid potential hot spots and be prepared to adjust your plans on short notice. For a detailed breakdown, please read on.

BACKGROUND: Beginning in June 2019, there have been a continuous chain of street demonstrations and organized protests initially aimed at the Hong Kong government’s attempt to pass a draft extradition law which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens as well as local foreign residents and visitors to be extradited to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in instances involving certain specified crimes allegedly committed in China. The controversial law, as well as the way that it was being expedited for quick passage coupled with the negative reputation of the PRC criminal justice system initially led to two massive street marches involving millions of participants consisting of people from all walks of life, including the elderly, families together with children, students etc.

The official marches (i.e., those with permits issued by the police) have been peaceful. However, following the official marches, there has been a hardened group of radicalized protestors who have continued activities into the evening hours, targeting government offices, police stations, MTR stations and other politically symbolic targets such as the Mainland China Liaison Office and certain Mainland commercial establishments. These targets initially were primarily on Hong Kong Island, however they subsequently spread to other areas in Kowloon and the New Territories (principally nearby police stations). This has now become a regular weekend event and both sides have gradually rachetted up their tactics in terms of the use of force. Both sides have accused the other of unnecessary force. This past week began relatively quiet and it was hoped that all sides decided to dial back the use of force in confrontations. But the cycle of violent late night confrontations returned Saturday and Sunday evenings. What is clear is there can be no assurance that further disruptions will not occur in the future.

In addition, earlier in August there were demonstrations held at the airport which led to the airport being closed down for two days and a great deal of travel chaos. On one evening there occurred some violent confrontations between some of the demonstrators and the police. These events were extensively covered by the international media. The Airport Authority subsequently obtained a court injunction limiting the areas where demonstrations can be legally held at the airport and of critical importance, has restricted access to the terminals to passengers holding valid travel documents (i.e. tickets and boarding passes). The airport has been operating normally following these developments. Some of the organizers of the demonstrations at the airport have apologized for certain behaviors and the inconvenience caused. There have not been any disruptions at the airport since August.

So far, to my knowledge, there have been no demonstrations held at either of the two cruise ship terminals.

Initially, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, said the process of passing the controversial extradition bill into law was suspended indefinitely and for all practical purposes the proposed bill was "dead". The protest organizers retorted that the characterization as "dead" was not a legal term of art and demanded that the bill be officially withdrawn. In mid-September the bill was finally withdrawn. However, the protestors had already moved on to other issues. They are also demanding, inter alia, amnesty for arrested protestors, an independent judicial inquiry of the police use of force these past several months and universal suffrage.

With the complete backing of the Chinese Communist Party on the Mainland (some would say in accordance with orders), so far the Hong Kong government has stubbornly refused to concede any of these other demands. This has led to a chain of demonstrations these (primarily on weekends, but also on late weekdays) and an expanded pool of active protestors expressing frustration over a raft of festering socio-economic issues which have been largely ignored by the Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong elite establishment since the formal handover in 1997.

The Chief Executive has made promises to be more attentive to the concerns of ordinary people. However, these have been poorly received and are being characterized as hollow promises by a "lame duck" leader. Now certain elements have begun using the “independence” word which set off alarm bells in Beijing. This is not surprising since Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is was returned to the PRC in 1997, subject to the much revered “one country two systems” principle.

The bottom line is that absent a dramatic break in the current political stalemate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to formulate a scenario bringing the street demonstrations to a quick conclusion. Particularly given the intractability of the CCP controlled government on the Mainland which is lurking behind the scenes and the hardened position of the protest movement.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the vast majority of Hong Kong people are doing their best to take these events in stride and continue their lives normally as best they can. And for the most part, they are able to do so, even though the local economy has now been seriously impacted. Many neighborhoods of Hong Kong have managed to avoid interruption by protest disturbances.

It is important to note that this is not a movement targeting foreigners or tourists. No tourists have been attacked or injured to date. Visitors are not in physical danger unless they happen into the middle of a violent confrontation, which will not happen if one follows the advice provided herein.

It is also noteworthy that the US Consulate in Hong Kong has elevated its current travel advisory for Hong Kong which, as of this writing is, “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.” I defer to them completely on these matters. I know they are in constant touch with local law enforcement agencies and have their own security team assessing the situation on a daily basis. The safest level is Level 1. At Level 2, Hong Kong is now at the same level as other global cities such as London and Paris.

Hong Kong has always been re-known as an extremely safe city. Accordingly, there are no hardened criminals or gangs just waiting for opportunities to take advantage of the situation to engage in looting, muggings or other petty street crimes. Although there have been violent incidents at the protest venues, Hong Kong is nowhere near a general breakdown of civil order or some kind of terrorist campaign targeting innocent civilians. Ironically, the last time Hong Kong experienced anything near that was during the communsit/leftist riots in 1967.

I know many out there have been alarmed by the sensational scenes splashed all over the world media. I will only say that all sides involved in this turmoil have their own agenda to promote and they are all very adept at propagating or propagandizing same particularly with the the force of social media.

I do not mean to downplay the seriousness of these events and developments. As a frequent global travel I always put a premium on safety and objective advice. I assume you do too.

 Recommended reading: 9 Questions about the Hong Kong protests you were too embarrassed to ask

PRACTICAL ADVICE:

What does the above mean for you as a prospective traveler to Hong Kong?

The following is my own opinion. It is not a professional opinion given as a law enforcement or security specialist. However, among the places I have lived my life were New York City (Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan) in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Chicago in the 70s and Washington D.C. North East in the 70s). As you can imagine I have seen many interesting things on the street. I once witnessed a full out street melee between a faction of the now defunct Japanese Red Army and two truckloads of Japanese gangsters or yakuza in downtown Osaka. I have observed all kinds of police behavior including the NYPD and Chicago Police Departments. I also spent my primary career as a lawyer advising corporate types on various risks in the emerging markets in Europe and Asia.

My bottom line at this time is as follows. As long as you are aware of developments, exercise common sense, avoid whatever protest hot spots there might be on any given day and proactively prepare for contingencies even if remote, it is perfectly safe to visit Hong Kong and you will be able to enjoy your trip more or less as normal.

I have led private tours throughout the period of the protests, including a safe 8 hour city tour on China’s National Day, October 1! I actually arrived at the airport during the protest there in August and was able to exit safely without feeling threatened. This advice applies to single travelers as well as families. On any given day, you may experience inconvenience resulting from transportation detours or delays caused by a protest, but you are not going to find yourself inadvertently standing in the middle of a full out riot or some other breakdown of law and order if you follow the advice given here. Moreover, somewhat incongruously, the protests seem to have settled into a predictable time frame starting on Friday evenings and through the weekends. Even during the weekends, one can ascertain when and where trouble might occur.

Note: For those of you wondering, it is absolutely illegal to own firearms in Hong Kong.

If for some reason you wind up at or near a protest venue, just ask anyone on the street what is the best way for you to get past and everyone, including the protesters, will be happy to offer friendly directions. If there is a protest near your hotel, then plan on an early return before the evening starts. If anything happens nearby it will very likely blow over overnight so stay in for the evening.

I follow my own advice. As a photographer you can well imagine how tempting it is to put on my bike helmet and go photograph the protests. Spectacular images of intense stand offs between the police and the protestors abound. However, I have absolutely no interest in doing so. I do not want to be seen as a foreign provocateur in the news and I do not want to put myself in a potentially dangerous situation. I am paying particular attention to advisories and instructions from the police. I know I am 100% safe following this strategy. My clients appreciate it as well.

So, when you arrive in Hong Kong, just like you check the weather, ask your hotel concierge or tour guide is there any area I should avoid today? You can also check the consulate website which publishes a list of scheduled protest venues. Usually the answer is everything is fine today. But there will be some days, primarily on weekends, when the answer will be please avoid X or Y because there is a protest rally scheduled there today.

Luckily, Hong Kong is a very big city with plenty of fantastic things to do spread over great distance (Hong Kong is approximately 1,100 square kilometers and includes 262 islands). All you have to do is exercise common sense and plan accordingly. As an analogy, when Occupy Wall Street camped out in lower Manhattan six years ago, was it a good idea to go downtown at 8PM in the evening? Not!

Now I know there are travelers who will prefer to avoid any venue with even the slightest potential for trouble of some kind. I respect that and for those travelers who are avoiding some other potential hot spots like Paris, for example, I would say maybe you should take a pass here if you are concerned. There are others who may have a taste for excitement and who may want to observe the protests first hand. My recommendation would be to stick to the events that have been approved by the police and I would advise maximum caution in doing so.

I have been able to carry on my regular routine without a major hitch to date and for the most part so has everyone else living in Hong Kong. Recently, there was a major demonstration that ran through my neighborhood without incident.

I have lived the entirety of my life having avoided the experience of inhaling tear gas and I have zero intention of starting here and now!

The following are some useful general safety tips for travel to areas of civil unrest, that can be found on the World Nomads website:

How to Survive a Protest

  • Plan your day with an early start. On weekends, in particular, plan on wrapping up your day by 3PM- 4PM and thereafter playing it by ear.

  • Keep abreast of current news or contact your embassy and request regular updates if you are in a volatile area;

  • Do not wear black or white t-shirts on days when demonstrations are expected;

  • If you hear that a demonstration is taking place, avoid the area or stay in your accommodation until you are sure that it's safe to go out;

  • Before you go out, establish where the demonstration has taken place, and if possible avoid the area. Take along and consult a map so that you will know where you are at all times;

  • If you come across a demonstration, don't become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination;

  • Should you need to go to an area which experiences a lot of demonstrations, try not to go alone. Where possible take someone with you and operate as a team looking out for each other. Keep close and maintain visual contact;

  • Avoid any place where police or security force action is in progress. Under no circumstances do you want to find yourself between the police and the demonstrators!

  • Fully abide by all Police announcements and directives.

How to Survive a Protest DISTURBANCE

  • In the unlikely event you find yourself caught up in a protest or riot keep to the edge of the crowd where it is safest. Try not to be identified as one of the demonstrators by keeping well away from the leaders/agitators;

  • At the first opportunity break away and seek refuge in a nearby building, or find a suitable doorway or alley and stay there until the crowd passes;

  • When leaving the fringe of the demonstration just walk away – don't run as this will draw attention to you;

  • In the event that you are arrested by the police, do not resist. Go along peacefully and contact your embassy as well as your travel insurance provider
    to help you resolve your predicament;

  • If you are caught up in the crowd, stay clear of glass shop fronts, stay on your feet and move with the flow;

  • If you are swept along in the crush, create a space for yourself by grasping your wrists and bracing your elbows away from your sides; bend over slightly – this should allow you breathing room;

  • If pushed to the ground, try to get against a wall and roll yourself into a tight ball and cover your head with your hands until the crowd passes;

  • Remember to keep calm – the crowd should sweep past in a short space of time.

SAFE AND SECURE PRIVATE TOURS

I have not suspended tour activity and continue to offer safe and secure Hong Kong private tours as I always do. Moreover, I feel a strong personal obligation to look after the well being of my clients both on and off tour. Accordingly:

  • I am keeping all of my clients who are looking at arrival in the near future fully up to speed on all relevant developments.

  • I strongly recommend starting your day early, particularly on weekends.

  • I have further undertaken to assist by providing current information and advice on how to minimize potential interruption during their stay, in these extraordinary circumstances and to be available on call by phone and WhatsApp during the full duration of their stay.

  • I am in a position to offer advice on safe hotel venues and travel to and from Hong Kong.

  • If you have a tour scheduled on a particular day that events on the ground render inadvisable, you can rest assured that I will advise you accordingly. Furthermore, I will not charge any cancellation fees in protest related circumstances which I consider to be an absolute force majeure.

  • In the unlikely event you find yourself in an emergency situation and need my help, all you have to do is call me!

  • I will be posting regular updates to this dispatch as warranted by events and developments.

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It may not be for the jittery, but frankly, this is not altogether a bad time to visit Hong Kong because the excess crowds of Mainland day visitors and other Asia sourced tourists who have recently afflicted many mainstream tourist sights have been significantly curtailed. Moreover, all the hotels are evidently offering attractive packages (some at half price) on account of diminished booking activity.

Looking at the big picture, this is a pivotal moment in the history of this former colonial outpost which is now a leading global financial center. As you can imagine, I have spent a great deal of time studying the history and social development of China and Hong Kong. I was posted in Central Europe immediately following the demise of the Soviet Union and now I am living in Hong Kong during the period that it is being re-absorbed by the PRC. I have my own personal observations and insights on these matters which I find particularly fascinating when considered in grand historical scheme of our times. These I will be happy to share with you on tour! All of my clients can count on leaving Hong Kong with a very well informed objective understanding of what is currently happening in Hong Kong and the Greater China Region and where it may all lead.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong or Macau!

WB7

End of Dispatch

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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

 

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Streets of Hong Kong Private Tours--Dispatch #0019: CATS OF HONG KONG

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Cat in traditional Chinese Apothecary on Canton Road (2018). As of today, my favorite cat image taken during a Hong Kong Photo Tour/Lesson.

Cat in traditional Chinese Apothecary on Canton Road (2018). As of today, my favorite cat image taken during a Hong Kong Photo Tour/Lesson.

One thing you will quickly notice on my Hong Kong Photography Tours is there are plenty of cats in and around the market stalls and shops in the old Cantonese neighborhoods. These cats are well taken care of and are generally very friendly and not shy to be photographed.

In most instances, if you are unobtrusive, photographing the cat in an environmental style portrait offers an excellent opportunity to photograph the shops and their proprietors. These kinds of shops are typically family run businesses that have been around for many many years. There are also many cats running around freely in the streets. The cats are fed by the neighborhood and perform a genuine public service.

Hong Kong is a port city and there have always been rats to deal with. Hence, all the cats. There follows a gallery of some of my favorite cat images taken on the Streets of Hong Kong.

See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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Streets of Hong Kong--Dispatch #0018: Mid-Autumn Festival 2018 (Enter The Tai Hang Fire Dragon)

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Every year, starting in the late 19th century, the villagers of Tai Hang, a small village hidden behind Causeway Bay,  perform a fire dragon dance intended to deflect bad luck away. 

According to local legend, over a century ago, a few days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, a typhoon and then a plague wreaked havoc on the village. While the villagers were repairing the damage, a python entered the village and ate their livestock. According to some villagers, the python was the son of the Dragon King. A soothsayer decreed the only way to stop the chaos was to stage a fire dance for three days and nights during the upcoming mid-autumn festival.

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The villagers made a huge dragon of straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. Accompanied by drummers and erupting firecrackers, they danced for three days and three nights – and the plague disappeared.

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The village itself later became a refugee slum and then was has subsumed into modern day Hong Kong, but the tradition continues every year concurrently with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The dance is on China's third national list of intangible cultural heritage.

This year the dance will be performed on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018.

Both the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance present fantastic evening photographic opportunities as well as a genuine local cultural experience.

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There is a lantern festival held in Victoria Park around the statue of the Queen on the main sports field and the dragon dance is performed through the winding streets of Tai Hang.

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To photograph the dragon, I recommend you travel light. Do not carry a tripod and be prepared to walk/run along with the dragon to get plenty of action shots. I prefer to use a fast wide angle lense in order to capture as much of the up close action as possible. Set your ISO at a fast speed (ISO 2000+) as the streets will be dark. I will bring my Fuji 21mm for this purpose.

There will be many families walking through Victoria park carrying traditional paper lanterns. If you want to capture some dreamy bokeh filled lantern images bring a faster portrait lense. This year I will bring my Sigma 50-100 f1.8 for this purpose.

I look forward to photographing these fantastic visual events annually and am always happy to share my take on this unique Hong Kong event which is a perfect Hong Kong Night Tour opportunity.

This is a limited event held only on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018. So please plan accordingly.

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See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #0017: A TOUR THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

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What if someone offered you a tour that " will change your life?"

I know what you are thinking. That's ridiculous! What is this guy thinking? How can a tour change your life?

Well, I once accepted a tour that absolutely did change my life and I can tell you that with 100% certainty.

Now of course you are wondering what kind of a tour could that possibly be that changed this fellow's life? Did he travel to meditate in a monastery in Bhutan? Did he scale the highest peaks of the Himalayas? Did he travel the entire length of the Asian Continent by foot? Did he spend a month roughing it in the African bush? Did he ride the entire length of New York City's A train? Did he circumnavigate the globe? etc. etc.

Well it certainly was a unique tour as far as I was concerned and it did change my life. It is a tour I took roughly 3 years ago. It required a great deal of training, preparation and encouragement from my family and closest friends. At first I was also uncertain about the results that could be achieved.

My Dad spent a great deal of time helping me in my preparations. It was one of the last things he did before he passed away following a tragic accident. His knowledge and common interests were invaluable in my preparations. I also did a great deal of reading and training in the field. It was the middle of the summer so it was very hot, humid and not very comfortable. Thankfully, during the course of my life I developed many skills that helped me with this tour.  And it sure paid off in the end.

Now you will ask me to share with you the exact nature of this tour that changed my life. And if it is not already obvious, I will tell you now. It was the very first private walking tour I performed on the Streets of Hong Kong!

The day I learned that I finally had my first tour booking (following two months of waiting), one of the first people  to hear about it was my Dad. He was literally brought to tears because neither of us was 100% sure if it would ever happen. Well thanks to a referral from my good friend and fellow tour guide Jamie Lloyd it certainly did happen.

My good friend and colleague Jamie Lloyd of  J3 Tours Hong Kong

My good friend and colleague Jamie Lloyd of J3 Tours Hong Kong

A few days later my Dad had his accident on Labor Day and within the next 24  hours he was gone. I had to decide between cancelling my first tour or missing my Dad's funeral the following Monday. After thinking long and hard, consulting with my family and my friend Jamie, I decided to stay in Hong Kong and do the tour (which turned out to be a two day tour) because, I concluded, my Dad wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Dad was a globe trotter and international businessman all his life.

Dad was a globe trotter and international businessman all his life.

Well I mustered every inch of positive thinking as my Mom would say and proceeded with the tour as originally planned. My client Mary was a brave and lovely American lady had recently been  widowed and set about adventuring the globe with her camera as her primary travel partner. My kind of lady! As a matter of fairness, I met with her the day before the first tour and explained what I was doing and why. I assured her I was in a very positive frame of mind and she  was 100% supportive!

My first private tour client, Mary.

My first private tour client, Mary.

Needless to say, I put 1000% of effort into those two days and we both had a terrific time! Quietly, I thought of that tour as my simple way of honoring my Dad.

Now then, thinking back, that tour certainly did change my life! in Japan, there is an expression called "ikigai". Roughly translated, it means one's reason for getting up in the morning. Much has been written about the positive effects of ikigai. There are many who believe that finding one's ikigai is one of the secrets to living a long and healthy life. In my case that remains to be seen. But during the three years following that first tour I can tell you with 100% certainty that I now know that my ikigai is being a private tour guide. And it just keeps getting better and better!

My wife Esther says I am the luckiest man in the world, why?: "you get up in the morning to go and meet new people which you love doing, you get to share everything you have learned and show people beautiful things which you love doing, you walk around in the fresh air getting exercise all day long which you also love doing, you take lots of photographs which you really love doing, you reinvented yourself from being a lawyer and you get paid doing so to boot. Who else gets  to do all that?" Not many I am sure. And I certainly do feel like the luckiest man in the world.

And yes, that first tour certainly did change my life!

So William, is it possible that your tour will change my life you may ask.

It certainly is possible and in my own modest way I certainly hope it will.  Perhaps not dramatically, but I am sure what I have to offer all of my clients is something much more than a simple Hong Kong highlight tour and a bucket full of "hidden gems from off the beaten path." Trust me, if you want to be in this business at the level of the game I am playing in, that is simply the price of entry. If you want to even think about being a premium private tour guide you had better be able to do that blindfolded.

But, in a manner of speaking I certainly do offer hidden gems. However, the gems I offer come from off the beaten path of life. And if you take a look at the path of my life, you will surmise that there were plenty of hidden gems I discovered along the way. And I am happy to share as many of those as possible during our time together on tour.

Now, I have a confession to make. In addition to history, culture and photography, I also love to write. And as you can see from this dispatch, I have decided to indulge my right brain lobe this morning by freely doing so. So until my next dispatch, I would like to leave you with the following quote by Bruce Barton, one of the principal founders of the famous advertising agency BBDO. Think of this quote when you decide who you want to be your guide:

"Here is an important distinction that many people overlook:

"God made the world but he does not make your world.

"He provides the raw materials, and out of them every man selects what he wants and builds an individual world for himself.

"The fool looks over the wealth of material provided, and selects a few plates of ham and eggs, a few pairs of trousers, a few dollar bills and is satisfied.

"The wise man builds his world out of wonderful sunsets, and thrilling experiences, and the song of the stars, and romance and miracles.

"Nothing wonderful ever happens in the life of a fool--an electric light is simply an electric light; a telephone is only a telephone--nothing unusual at all.

"But the wise man never ceases to wonder how a tiny speck of seed, apparently dead and buried, can produce a beautiful yellow flower. He never lifts a telephone receiver or switches on an electric light without a certain feeling of awe."

---Bruce Barton, More Power to You (1917)

Don't you just love that quote? I certainly do!

To view more of my images of Hong Kong and Macau, please visit my Flickr Stream or visit me on Instagram: @williambanzai7.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong or Macau!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 

ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

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American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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