Perry explores Hong Kong

Dear bear friends:

We woke this morning to soft sunshine glowing through the haze of Hong Kong's harbor. From my window, I watched boats slice back and forth through the harbor passage. When will Miss Cynthia wake up? I want to explore Hong Kong!

It was a typical morning on tour. First Miss Cynthia wakes up. Her eyes are puffy behind her glasses. She stumbles around the hotel room, clattering the little coffee pot. The noise wakes Doctor Steve. He makes smacking noises, and scratches his beard. Honestly! Humans can be so exasperating! I pat my paw impatiently as my human family takes forever to rise and greet the day.

Bears are so much more efficient!

At long last, we have stumbled and clattered and scratched ourselves awake. It's time to explore Hong Kong! Today, I will be riding in a little shopping bag. Miss Cynthia explains that Hong Kong is such a busy, bustling, crowded place she doesn't want to risk losing me! She tucks me into my bright yellow bag, and we're off!

To a bear, Hong Kong is a treat for the nose. My nose quivers trying to take in all the smells! Since the city sits on the oceanside, the air is heavy and soft with moisture. There's a smell of fish, of garbage, of seawater, of rusting ships. I can smell cooking odors: ginger and onions, smoke and spices. I smell sewers, trucks, buildings, people's feet. It's heaven if you're a bear! Humans just wrinkle their noses and frown.

We walk to the ferry dock, a few blocks down the hill. Where Japan was neat and clean and tidy, Hong Kong spills over with people and their refuse. I was glad for my shopping bag as the crowds thickened around us. I saw people from what seemed like every nation in the world! Tall, short, male, female, wearing dress suits and turbans and tunics and saris and blue jeans. Everyone must come to Hong Kong! It was exciting to see so many different people, all hurrying about their business.

Doctor Steve buys our tickets for the ferry. The city of Hong Kong sits on an island just off the coast of China, so we must take a short boat ride to enter the city. In Hong Kong, money is called "Hong Kong dollars", and there are about 7-and-a-half Hong Kong dollars for each American dollar. In Hong Kong, they have cents, too, but the smallest coin I saw was a "20-cent" piece. That's about two American cents. Our ferry ride costs 2 Hong Kong dollars and 20 Hong Kong cents--or, a little more than an American quarter. What a bargain especially as bears ride for free!

We clamber up a red-painted ramp to the ferry, and step over the gangway onto the boat. Goodness! Even at the dock, the little boat rocks and swoops like a real ocean vessel. Wheeee! I like the feel of the little boat it's almost like a ride at Disneyland.

A minute later, we're on our way. Miss Cynthia and I look out the sticky windows. What a view! The tall buildings of Hong Kong grow straight and tall to the sky. It's beautiful! I wonder how so many people can live together in such a small space. Behind the clustered, reaching buildings rear tall green hills and we are going to the tallest hill of all, Victoria Peak.

All three of us are dazed when we leave the ferry. People and sounds and cars and trucks and smells fuse into a single impression: hurry! Everyone walks quickly, cars stream by impatiently, trucks roar. Everyone in Hong Kong seems to have somewhere to be, people to see, business to do. We do, too and we find the shuttle bus that will take us to the tram up the hill.

It's a double-decker shuttle bus! We climb to the open top level. What a way to see Hong Kong! As we ride, we look down on the quick river of cars and the streams of walking people. We look up to the towering buildings, glimpsing the harbor passageway in between them. I'll never forget Hong Kong!

We're here! Now it's time to take the tram up Victoria Peak. The tram is a little train car that travels up the hill on a track. Whoa! We're leaning, almost on our backs, as the train inches up the steep, steep hill. We can't see anything through the thick plants and shrubs and I'm not sure I want to see anything when I'm tipped over like that! Miss Cynthia clutches my shopping bag very, very tightly, and for once, I was glad.

No matter, the tram ride is very short. We've arrived at Victoria Peak. A large building sits at the very top of the hill, and from the top deck, we can see most of the way around the island. What a sight! Hong Kong spreads out before us. We see the harbor, with ships and boats full steam ahead in the passageway from the ocean. The city of Kowloon, across from us on the mainland, spreads away into the mist. Doctor Steve, Miss Cynthia and I look and look and look. It's beautiful, simply beautiful.

I am sorry to report, however, that Doctor Steve gets tired of looking at beautiful things much sooner than Miss Cynthia. When Doctor Steve is bored, Perry Bear had better look out--and so it was up on Victoria Peak. Miss Cynthia wants to take just the right photograph of me, so she asks Doctor Steve for help. She's busy with the camera, so she doesn't notice his mischievous look but I do!

Doctor Steve is holding me up by my back paws so Miss Cynthia can take the photos. Oh, NO! Suddenly, he pushes my fuzzy head over the railing, hanging onto me by my back paws! I'm hanging upside down! Miss Cynthia is busy with the camera. Help! Help! I don't want to fall down over Victoria Peak! "Look!" says Doctor Steve, "Perry wants to go bungee-jumping!"

Everything turns out all right in the end. Miss Cynthia rushes to save me, and scolds Doctor Steve. Good! I didn't want to fall head-first over that railing! Miss Cynthia hugs me and hugs me, and glares at Doctor Steve over my fuzzy head.

All in a day's work for Perry, the Traveling Teddy Bear!

Your bear friend,

Perry Bear Ewer

Perry's Travels: