Hong Kong and Los Angeles: Miles Apart But Near
Hong Kong and Los Angeles: Miles Apart But Near
I haven’t been to very many places in my lifetime, but there are two which I consider my home – Hong Kong and Los Angeles - Hong Kong and Los Angeles: Miles Apart But Near introduction. Hong Kong is where my family, relatives and old friends are and it is where I grew up. Los Angeles is where I am now, and although I started without knowing anyone, it is where I’ve made so many friends who have made my life richer and where I have learned so much about living independently and about trusting my own self. Both places seem to be miles and worlds apart, and although each one has its own distinct feature and its own distinct beauty, there are more similarities between them that one cannot see at first glance.
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Hong Kong is a bustling and dynamic modern city, located in the orient – Asia. It is described by many people as “compact” because one is never too far from shopping centers and major tourist sights. Hong Kong also boasts of having a good transportation system, which is why visitors can easily reach other areas no matter where they are. Specifically, public transportation via ferry, bus, or train is efficient, inexpensive and user-friendly. What is great is that this transportation system covers extension areas of Hong Kong.
With regard to safety, Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world – very low crime rate – for both men and women, even at night, and people here can walk alone with confidence. Police officers patrol the area frequently, but there is still the presence of small crimes, like pickpockets, especially when one goes in crowded places and farther north into Kowloon and into the New Territories.
Air pollution, however, is becoming to be a great problem in Hong Kong, now. The great industrial growth at Mainland China is pushing pollution to Hong Kong, and Shenzhen, which is just across the border, produces great amounts of air pollution floating over HK. Smog rarely clears up and the famous Hong Kong skyline is becoming to be a thing of the past. People suffering from respiratory problems are advised to avoid Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is known as a place where the east meets the west, as evident in the city’s inhabitants, the people’s customs, education, culture and economy. Even if British occupation ended in the 1990s, western culture is still embedded in people’s lives and exists harmoniously with traditional Chinese beliefs and practices. One moment a visitor would see traditional Chinese stores that sell herbal medicine and other Chinese goods, and the next moment, he may find himself inside a modern shopping center or in a movie theater featuring the latest Hollywood flick. H.K. is indeed known as a melting pot of western and eastern cultures. Morever, the place, they say, can be described as a hi-tech, upbeat, and fashion- conscious culture in a super city.
Los Angeles – the City of Angeles – is known as the second largest city in the United States. Although Central Los Angeles itself does not contain too many sights and stuff, the surrounding suburbs and cities of L.A. and Orange Counties provide plenty of things to see and do. There are so many tourist spots worth visiting, like Hollywood, Venice, and Redondo Beach, but these places are far from each other, and L.A. transit is not very convenient to many of these places. Therefore, having a car in L.A. is rather necessary, although it will make you experience the city’s primary safety concern, which is the terrible traffic jams that go on every freeway and mostly during the day. Many L.A. residents agree that the amount of traffic on the roads gives the city a bad air quality, which is evident in the smog and haze that hover above it.
When it comes to personal safety, however, L.A. is a place where one should always be on the lookout. According to Crime Rate Comparisons (http://www.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm?c1=New+York&s1=NY&c2=Los+Angeles&s2=CA), crime ratios for murder, theft, rape and assualt in L.A. are double compared to those in New York, which is more populated.
Los Angeles is known to be one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. It is home to millions of people who come from all over the world and it boasts of places like Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Little India, Koreatown, the Iranian commercial area, and East Los Angeles where most of the Latinos in L.A. live. With so many museums and theatres in Los Angeles, it is known to be the cultural hub of the world. In L.A., there is a little of everything, and it is constantly evolving and adding more and more to its cultural arena. Los Angeles is also home to the world’s major entertainment, music, theater, and leisure centers of the world.
No one will argue that Hong Kong and Los Angeles are very much different from each other, since no two places are exactly alike. A person who has stood on the grounds of both places can close his eyes and come up with a list of hundreds of differences between the two. For one, the languages that the inhabitants of both places speak are different. Hong Kong natives speak Chinese, while L.A. residents speak English and many other native languages depending on whether the resident comes from Mexico, Japan, Korea, or wherever it is in the globe. Then the size of both cities greatly differ. While Hong Kong is small and everything is accessible via public transport, L.A. is one of the largest cities of America and it’s not convenient to visit one spot to another by merely using its public transportation system. In addition, Hong Kong is considered relatively safe, while L.A. has a very high crime rate.
However, while the list of differing things between the two goes on and on, and while we can enumerate them without so much as batting an eyelash, we need to be more keen and more observant to take note of their similar generalities. For one who has lived in both places and has held them special in his heart, looking for similar characteristics comes easy. The language barrier seems wide, but then you realize it really is not. While H.K. natives speak Chinese, English has become widely spoken, too, and L.A. residents, no matter where they come from, consider English as their main tongue. The physical size of both places may greatly differ, but they are alike in the fact that they both have a relatively large population. Many people come to L.A. because of its diversity and openness to cultures, and many people like being in Hong Kong, too, because it is culturaly rich and adaptive. And while the safety conditions of both places are so different, nothing changes the fact that these two places are greatly visited by tourists, and many people from all over the world visit them to see what they have to offer.
Moreover, both Hong Kong and L.A. are busy urban centers. They both have fast-growing and fast-paced economies that support their inhabitants’ high standard of living. Tall buildings and skyscrapers abound in these places, and more are still rising. At one side of either city is an evidence of preserved cultural heritage, and on another is an evidence of modernity – thus possessing a good mixture of the old and the new. Both are products of rich cultural assimilation, and are therefore ideal homes for people with different ethnicities. Both, too, are suffering what is perhaps the main product of modern and technological growth – air pollution.
Indeed, Hong Kong and Los Angeles possess similarities in its general characteristics, despite being miles and oceans apart, and despite its countless different and contradicting aspects.