Monday morning I was greeted by the view of this beauty gliding through the misty pollution on Hong Kong Harbour.
Not only did it make a nice change from the cruise ships, on closer inspection I realised the sailors were standing at attention around the deck of the ship.
Not a bad view at all!
Aircraft aside … What?! You thought I was talking about those hunky US sailors?! … This isn’t an aircraft carrier, but an amphibious assault ship. It has a deck adorned with helicopters and what look to me like Harrier jets. It is significantly smaller than a US aircraft carrier although still a hulking vessel that looks really solid. I imagine it can take quite a hammering if it ever had to.
As it rolled past I speculated about what it was doing in this part of the world, and it looks like I wasn’t far off the mark if you believe this article in the SCMP.
Hong Kong always becomes an interesting city when the sailors come to town. Shore leave fills up the bars and clubs in Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai as these sailors and soldiers get a much deserved break from the pressures of patrolling and protecting.
The bars hum with the revelling and the working girls roll in dollar signs. The sailors explore, party, drink and make the most of their time ashore. With the Hong Kong dollar tied to the US dollar I imagine Hong Kong is a great port because they know they are going to get a lot of BANG for their buck.
As a local I don’t mind it one little bit. These guys and gals deserve a break – who knows how long they’v been at sea, or how long they’ll have to stay at sea after their visit here. Anyone (from any nation) who serves in the armed forces voluntarily for their country and “world peace” deserves time out. Hong Kong is relatively safe, and areas like Lan Kwai Fong have more than enough bars to accommodate the influx of sailors and locals alike.
Have fun in Hong Kong Town guys!