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Travel
June 06, 2014

Hong Kong: The Real City

Text by Vishesh Verma. Illustration by Rahul Das

Glamour photographer Vishesh Verma pens notes on a city that he loves to revisit for it’s unique sights, food and drink

“Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s a real city – dipped in part culture, part modernity; it is hectic and yet hides islands of tranquillity. It is full of both world class conveniences and exciting challenges that entice the urban warrior in me! Following China’s economic boom, Hong Kong has become an interface between rampaging Chinese ambition and the rest of the world eager to partake.

The hotels and bars and public spaces here are growing impressively to address this need. The architecture is almost heady. The bars and restaurants cater to every taste and fancy. James Clavell wrote in his novel, Noble House set in 1963 Hong Kong: ‘What’s that smell?’ asks Linc Bartlett, an American corporate raider arriving in Hong Kong. ‘Oh, that’s the smell of money!’

I also love the fact that Hong Kong is built by the bay, much like Mumbai, and how the city lives, works and plays along the iconic waterfront. The best way to see it is across the bay from Kowloon side or from the vantage point that The Peak affords.”


Foodie feasts
My favourite food has to be that which is found in the street in the Chinese restaurants where you can’t understand a single thing on the menu! You just point to the food you want!

A shopper’s paradise
High-heeled ladies of luxury line up outside luxury fashion boutiques way after closing time vying for the latest bag and shoe. The humidity be damned, they are well-turnedout on the streets. Everybody sports the latest phones and gadgets. Brands shout out to pedestrians and drivers, from extra bright neon signs. Its sense of newfound Asian confidence and an unabashed sense of plenty mix with a deep-rooted Chinese pride and identity. This gives the city its unique style quotient.

For those who wish to splurge at leisure, head towards Central – literally the centre of Hong Kong’s business district. Apart from the financial institutions, this area boasts an impressive plethora of designer boutiques and high-end department stores. The seductive shops are located in a series of buildings including Alexandra House, Chater House, Prince’s Building and The Landmark. Here you can find widely recognised names like Prada and specialised shops like Paule Ka for high-end French fashion, Ascot Chang for hand-tailored Italian suits and Baccarat for luxurious crystal and jewellery.

Its ‘It’ quotient
What I like most about Hong Kong is the fact that it is completely unapologetic about being exactly what it is. Also, it has an adrenaline rush around every corner. It is almost as if it is relentless in its march forward. I associate the city with this impatience and energy.

Vishesh Verma sensitively frames fashion, lifestyle and Bollywood. His aesthetic eye for detail is regularly showcased in Verve.

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