Painted lanterns in a Hong Kong market.

Although we scheduled them more like punctuation marks to our other destinations, Hong Kong and Bangkok are fabulous international cities that we really enjoyed — especially Hong Kong. These were just a few of the lanterns hanging at a streetside market.

 

Downtown scene in Hong Kong.

Having been held by the British well into the 1990s, Hong Kong felt in many ways vastly different than other Chinese cities. Differences pictured here include other Westerners and street names in English.

 

Temple with incense coils.

Aspects of traditional life here seemed to clash less with the modern culture of the rest of the city. It’s difficult to tell from this angle, but many of the incense coils in this temple were several feet in diameter!

 

Two International Finance Center is almost the same height as the former World Trade Center in New York City.

 

Metal for sale in a Hong Kong market.

 

View from the Bank of China building's 43rd floor.

 

Looking down at a historic park.

Glitzy skyscrapers and colonial buildings are a reminder of China’s dilemma: Hong Kong is a “special administrative region” with greater freedom of the press (and perhaps political freedom) than any other part of the country. Of course, Tibet is also a “special administrative region,” so this is less a sign of progress than evidence that China doesn’t quite know how to handle wealthy, recently repossessed Hong Kong, which still has separate visa requirements and uses separate currency.

 

Another sign of the recent European presence.

 

Storefront sign: we buy gallstones. Filling up my slurpee in Hong Kong.

And although Hong Kong still had a profusion of signs that made us go “hmm?,” we enjoyed some much-needed western treats, like cooling off with a Grape Slurpee on a hot day.

 

Bangkok statuette.

Bangkok was another modern, up-and-coming city with an interesting history.

 

Wat Phra Kaeo and the Grand Palace.

Wat Phra Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace were two of Bangkok’s must-see sights.

 

Looking up at the temple.

 

Temple figures.

 

Wat Phra Kaeo.

 

Riverside house in Bangkok.

But during our brief stay, we enjoyed Bangkok’s river transit options, aging neighborhoods, and night markets even more than its temples.

 

Bangkok neighborhood street.

 

Lacey with Bangkok bling.

 

 

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