Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Hong Kong Story and the Museum of History

On our first day in Hong Kong (April 6), we had lagged behind our schedule. Having arrived at 3 am from Macau, we had slept through practically the whole morning. I had scheduled for us to visit 2 museums on that day but we only had time to go to 1. Naturally, we chose to go where there would be a guided tour and one which would serve our main purpose for the trip - The Hong Kong Museum of History. There were only 2 days in a week that the museum had guided tours which were on saturdays and sundays and we couldn't pass it up.

My family wasn't so excited to go at first. What would we see there? Bones and relics? These weren't the kind of things you'd like to view on a holiday right? But the museum was far from just that and so far among all of the museums I have seen, it is by far among the best ones. The exhibit area was a wide, 3-storey building. The management had taken pains to paying attention to the minutest detail. The airconditioning was perfect, the lights went on a cycle of dim to bright to dim again. This, according to our guide, is because they had wanted to recreate a whole day for the visitor. The reception area is not so impressive as it was large and dim with just a single counter where a lady receptionist was to attend to visitor questions. From there, we went down to the basement. The museum observed a one way flow of traffic such that all exhibits will lead you to the exit.

The exhibits went from the prehistoric period, to the geological compositions of HK, to the time of the british occupation up until the reunification of China. There were at least 3 movies which were all free. Our guide, Eric, told us stories at each stop we made. The exhibits were fantastic. One of my favorites is that of a remake of a chinese village where a wedding was going to take place. According to their tradition, the bride is not allowed to see her groom until after the wedding. She would have to be fully covered lest some spirits play tricks on her and cause her to get ill, crazy or even die. Neither is she allowed to touch the ground before they are wed. Instead, she has to be carried on the matchmaker's back the whole time. Tough job huh? The matchmaker plays a vital role in every girl's wedding just like in Mulan. The matchmaker's job starts when she chooses among the girls who is worthy of being a bride. Then, she looks for a suitable husband for her. After that, she has to be in the wedding, attend to the bride until after they are wed. They didn't hear how much events planners are paid these days. hehehe

The museum had 3 floors and each floor had several themes. I had only alloted 4 hours for that visit. It turned out that it was so beautiful that the 4 hours was not enough. 6 hours wasn't either but we had to cut short the trip because they had to close the museum already.

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