The fireworks were a wonderful cultural experience and a true communist odyssey. The fireworks are shot from barges on the harbour, located infront of the Intercontinental Hotel. Remembering that HK is very high rise, we were surprised to see they were going off quite low. And being one of the highest density cities, the high rise buildings go right up to the water.
I suddenly decided I didn’t like the proposed plans for developing Riverside Drive – it would conmpletely ruin viewing the fireworks. Perth is so wonderfully open. There’s very few places with an unobstructed view. It’s the first place I would suggest actually paying for a room or restaurant with a view of the fireworks. Otherwise, you’d need to get there many hours beforehand. Infact the majority of people on the Kowloon side could not see most of the fireworks. But here’s some cultural differences between say Australia day fireworks in Perth and new year fireworks in HK. The HK fireworks are not set to music – I never realised how important that was until there was no music. Between not being able to see most of the display behind the high rise and there being no music, it didn’t seem choreographed.
Our hotel is about 50 m from the place which was perfect for photography. But police had cordoned off the area (the roads were all closed to traffic) so that we had to walk half a km away from the display to get closer to the water. Infact by 1 hour before the start, there was no way to get close enough to the water to have an unobstructed view. Police were absolutely everywhere and simply moving people away. And PAs were playing a very stern “move on and be patient” message during the entire display, over and over again. I found that very communist! Chris said it was like being told you would enjoy the fireworks loudly, repeatedly and in a terribly serious voice!!
So we couldn’t see most of the fireworks and were being bombarded with 1984 type messages. Part way through we thought we’d head back to the hotel. But once the fireworks started, the police had created Titanic type compartments by cordoning off small areas and not letting anyone move at all. The sections were only like a quarter full so I couldn’t quite see the logic. But having said that, it was so much more pleasant being in the big crowds in HK than Perth. No-one was drinking, no-one was drunk, no-one was pushing or trampling. Just very polite.
Although it sounds like a bit of a negative experience, we really enjoyed realising our cultural norms and differences. And none of it stressed me – I found the whole thing quite funny. There was simply no way I could have got a photo of the fireworks so I just sat back and enjoyed what little I could see. The latest shape for fireworks seems to be a figure 8.