As a person who had never been to Hong Kong, I was filled with certain thoughts and images of the city, based on what I had heard and read. And then I visited HK for about a week.
So, what were my impressions before I went to Hong Kong?
a) HK is a concrete jungle. The most predominant images of the city were of its skyline, showing only buildings--no people.
b) Housing is limited and expensive. People are crammed into tiny spaces.
c) The city's hotels are awfully expensive. You get nothing less than US Dollars Protected content night even for a tiny room.
d) The streets are narrow and cramped, with too many people and vehicles.
e) The people are always in a hurry. They are rude. They push you to get into a lift.
f) Food is not affordable for the casual visitor.
g) Moving around alone at night is unsafe.
And what are my impressions after visiting Hong Kong?
a) The HK skyline is beautiful and a joy to behold, both from the harbour and from a tall peak.
b) Housing is indeed terribly expensive, but I did not see any slums.
c) Hotels are also expensive, if you want to stay in the likes of 'Holiday Inn.' But any number of cool, comfortable and squeaky clean rooms are available for surprisingly affordable prices.
d) The streets are wide enough for the smooth flow of traffic. The pavements are totally pedestrian-friendly.
e) Public transport--buses, trains and cabs--are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. There is practically no noise and smoke pollution.
f) In general, people are courteous, friendly and helpful. For every one person who walks away saying "I don't know," there are six others who will stop, smile and give you directions. I cannot believe that two persons gave me their cellphone numbers, and two others their business cards, in case I needed more help.
g) There is no fear of being robbed or hurt. I walked around in the middle of the night without any fear working at the back of my mind. Several shops, pubs and restaurants are open late into the night.
h) Never before have I seen so many people from different countries on a street, as in Hong Kong.