Subject: RE: Hong Kong and Shanghai questions (especially for Judy)
Hi Rosemary, Great to hear you are coming - would love to have a GTG.

Mmmmm....what's new? Well - from a tourist's point of view...not much really. It's still an exciting, very safe, unique mix of Chinese and western culture with the most incredible harbour and skyline in the world (IMHO)! Perhaps it's a little cleaner since SARS and most of the squatters areas (which sprung up when the population of the city literally doubled during the Cultural Revolution) are gone. The HK Tourism Board is still echewing the virtues of shopping (which really isn't any better, in variety, than most major cities - and the prices are certainly higher than other cities in Asia) and they pretty well neglect the fantastic green areas of the city (74% of the SAR is park area). Politically things are getting 'interesting' but, unless you live here, you'll never notice this.

Regardless of my frustration at the HKTB's emphasis on shopping - the markets are a great cultural experience and much fun - I can give you lots of tips for markets that are not just tourist centred. Besides the standard attractions like the Peak, various temples, etc. ...there are many places to walk which take advantage of magnificent views or the backstreets to get a feel for every day life of HKers. Some lovely islands are just a short ferry ride away to walk over the hills, around the coast, and take advantage of yummy waterfront seafood restaurants. My personal (and business) ambition is to make people aware of an area on the east coast of the New Territories that has absolutely beautiful beaches, fantastic walking areas, some of the oldest temples, and an interesting market town - Sai Kung. I'd be happy to show your group "my part of HK".

Macau has changed a huge amount since their handover - becoming the Las Vegas of Asia. And (for reasons other than the casinos) I would highly recommend one or two days there. They have a very unique mix of Chinese and Portuguese and have done at great job at maintaining their heritage (something which HK has just woken up to).

I think your group will find lots to do in six days in HK (and Macau) - and I'd be happy to help you plan it. Tell me, please, what kinds of things you are interested in, what your timing is, etc.

I've had GTGs with a few other people over the past couple of years and enjoyed it - one at least 3 times now - Dan and others, how about sharing your experiences?

Cheers! Judy in (finally clear) HK