Weekend in Hongkong has been hectic. Feels like am gonna need a vacation to get over this trip. So much of walking ..maybe 10 or 12 kms a day, that’s what the fitness app on my phone showed. But I can’t slow down either, wanna see everything I can before the expiry of this vacation. Legs are hurting so bad and all I want to do is to find a place to sit and maybe close my eyes for 10 minutes. Are there no park benches in this great city ? It’s sunday, and sidewalks are full of women, lounging on flattened cardboard boxes, painting toe nails, playing cards and chatting. Is there some sort of audition/dance competition happening ? Being a solo woman traveller was so tempted to join the gang.The atmosphere is filled with laughter, singing, dancing, potluck sort of thing.
Taking the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour is a delight and safe on pocket – you could cross from Hong Kong to Kowloon by boat/ferry for just $2.50 to 3.40 HKD (One of the cheapest compared to any part of the world) and take in the absolute best view of the skyline. The charming Star Ferry boats have been faithfully carrying passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back since 1888 and you feel quite proud being a part of the history.
World’s biggest light and sound show ” Symphony of lights” starts every night at 8.00 pm and lasts for about 15 mts. I was advised to stay on the TST waterfront after the ferry ride for this amazing show with beautifully composed music and it was worth every bit.
Upon my return plan is to drop into IFC mall, right across the Star Ferry Terminal, the Apple store looks inviting and there is Victoria’s Secret right next.More than window shopping I was hoping to find a place to rest my legs. But alas none. What kinda mall is this. There is Coach and OMEGA but no place to sit, Come’on my legs are hurting like hell and I can’t walk anymore. Oh here comes Nine West – “ON SALE” …God, you heard my prayers. Not that I plan to add any more shoes to my Imelda Marcos collection that too after the trip to Ladies Market but not harm trying out. Anyway half an hour of couchsurfing, and feeling relaxed. Are there any more pairs on display at 50% off ? “Enough” screams my sane mind. Move on.
As we walk down, still amazed at the sight of so many pretty, well-dressed women gathered around the mall. Is this a “Flash Mob” ? Did they arrive in some cruise or ship ? Hundreds of them. No, I didn’t see them yesterday or the day before during my short stint in Hongkong. The other days, these public spaces are not so crowded like this.
Apparently, there are an estimated 200,000 female domestic workers from other countries living in Hong Kong. Most of them are employed as maids for the city’s wealthy families.
These domestic maids/helps are expected to work day and night, six days a week in a live- in-facility, but government regulations dictate they must be given twelve hours of free time on Sundays. That means they can step out of the house, some are not allowed to stay in the house as owners look for some privacy and insist that maids go out. Therefore they spend the day outside – in every weather and season.Since these women cannot afford to go to movies or eat in restaurants on their day off, they gather in Hong Kong’s train stations and parks or outside public buildings and make their own picnic.They are literally impossible to avoid (hundreds of thousands of them are on their day off).Most maids from Philippines are relatively young when they come to Hong Kong. Many of them have husband and children back home. And this is life for them in Hongkong.
Unbelievable right ! The plight of women remains the same ..where ever you go..
Image Courtesy :SCMP
Check out my guide Hongkong Skyline for the detailed itinerary for a short trip.