We had another great year spending it in nine different countries with many more to come so we couldn’t have really asked for any better! After bringing in 2017 watching the fireworks at Macquarie’s Point overlooking the Sydney Harbour, we brought in 2018 in Hong Kong amongst thousands of people watching a firework display over the river.
We started our New Years plans by catching the ferry over the river to Kowloon. The midnight firework display would be happening from the water and on Hong Kong Island so being on the riverfront in Kowloon would give us the best view point of them and the Hong Kong skyline.
Seeing as we had the whole of the riverfront to choose from and a lot time to wait until midnight we went to get some food. We decided to have our last meal of 2017 be pizza as we hadn’t had a pizza in a couple of months. We ended up going to Pizza Hut which seems to be a lot more high end than back home and bought garlic bread and a pizza each. This was probably the most full either of us had been in a very long time and it was almost an issue as we had to spend the next few hours standing up amongst a large crowd of people when we were so full lying down would have been a better idea! I guess though it’s good to bring in the New Year on a full stomach with the hope that it will stay that way for the rest of the year!
We headed down to the river which ended up being harder than we anticipated due to the chaotic policing of the crowds. Roads were closed to try and funnel everyone (which seemed like most of Hong Kong) to go one route to the riverfront. That would have been fine but at random intervals a policeman would decide that the route was too busy and so close it. He would then redirect everyone who would just get stopped again at another point along the way. You could get near to the front of the queue to just be stopped and see people at the back sent through a different way and get into where we wanted to go. Even the policemen didn’t seem to know what their colleagues were doing which became apparent after we were stopped for what felt like the tenth time and told the policeman we couldn’t go the way he was directing us as it was closed. He then made some calls on his phone which we assume was to other policemen in the area before casually walking away from the barrier, obviously to let us sneak through.
For a couple of hours we were jostled and squashed but very gradually moved closer to the riverside. At one point a girl was hysterically crying and trying to move forward through the crowd with her group of friends so they could get to the front. Another group of girls who spoke very good English and had been taking to us and explaining what people said when pushing or shouting told her to calm down and and stop crying. She instructed her to go out the back way and if she was in so much distress to call the police. It was such a stern telling off that the girl stopped crying and they stopped trying to push to the front. She then shouted back through the crowd to stop the pushing as someone far back was pushing everyone forward when there was nowhere to go! This girl provided us with a lot of entertainment and after a couple of hours we had somehow managed to get ourselves a place very near the front of the river ready for the fireworks that would happen in a few hours time.
The policing of the event had made things more dangerous than it needed to be and we saw a lot of people pushing to get back out of the crowds because it was getting so bad. Some people had come with their families to get a space for the fireworks and they were often the ones leaving, not that I blame them as I would not have felt comfortable having small children in that crowd. The three hour wait was tough as it was quite warm amongst thousands of people and everyone had to stay on their feet. Amongst that time me and Niall took turns kneeling down so that we could have a break and we saw a number of people having to get carried out and calling for first aid because others had fainted!
There was a few shows on before midnight such as some dancers and talks by official looking people that was filmed and put on TV. There were also fireworks going off every 15 minutes from 11pm to look like shooting stars. It was a relief once the countdown began and we were looking forward to the fireworks. When it struck midnight the fireworks began and carried on for 10 minutes! They were very impressive and at some point lit up the entire night sky. We were in awe and the people of Hong Kong were very emotive with lots of oohs and aahs to add to the gravitas of it all.
The fireworks really were exceptional and a great way to start off our new year with a bang. After standing up for so long we needed a drink and so our first drink of 2018 was a milkshake for Niall and Fanta for me from McDonalds. It allowed for the crowds to die down ever so slightly for us getting the subway back to our Air b’n’b.
We were leaving Hong Kong the next morning and were really glad we had spent our Christmas and New Year there. 2018 promised to be a great Year for us as we continued to travel around Asia. Having spent the whole of 2017 abroad, we were slowly, in a very haphazard route, making our way back home! It was going to be fun!
Happy New Year!
Sending love and good fortune for 2018 x