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Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo…

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What I am observing today in the households of Maharashtra is an air of freedom & independence amongst the women folk. I hear songs like ‘Aaj main upar, aasma niiche’, ’yeh haseen vaadiyaan’ & sometimes even ‘Main Kashmir ki kali’ echoing from their homes. This trend which I observed started not as a result of some women centric TV show or a singing competition but as a result of the Veena World’s Women’s Special tours. Right from the month of February this year, these tours have grown in their popularity by leaps and bounds. A tour bouquet comprising of back to back destinations like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Shimla-Manali & Kashmir set the mood for full-on fun & adventure. There’s a new song for every destination it seems! In addition to that the ‘Women’s Special’ is not just a usual tour but it is in fact a celebration of womanhood. You get a chance to be all that you can be by participating in a host of competitions while on tour-singing queen, style queen, costume queen & also the ramp walk queen! If you listen carefully at this point of time, you may come across someone humming ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo’ because we are headed to ‘Hong Kong-Macau-Shenzhen’ this April. All these places are independent but are yet considered as parts of China. So you will get a peek into the Chinese way of life, their customs & traditions along with an exposure to their path-breaking field of technology coupled with an ultra-modern lifestyle.

Hong Kong may seem like a tiny country on the global map but when we delve into its infrastructure we come across some startling revelations. These revelations comprise of the number of skyscrapers this country has, 112 to be precise. These are the buildings which have a height of more than 591 feet. Hence it can be declared that Honk Kong is ranked number 1 when it comes to the number of skyscrapers here. As of now the number of buildings with a height of 656 feet is more than 50.The International Commerce centre is a 1588 feet tall building & is currently the tallest building in Hong Kong. Apart from the number of high rises here, Hong Kong also is included in the list of nations having the highest per-capita incomes in the world. As per the global city index of 2014 Hong Kong ranks 5th in a list comprising of cities like New York, London, Tokyo & Paris. Hong Kong is one the top economic capitals of the world after New York & London. The Hong Kong we get to see today had its origins as a small coastal village where fishing was the primary source of livelihood. Then in the year 1513 a Portuguese Sailor by the name Jorge Alvares set foot here for the first time and thus began the advent of Europeans. However, Hong Kong thrived prosperously under the British Rule. Hong Kong came under the British rule in the year 1842 after the British won the ‘Opium War’ which they fought with China. Hong Kong derived it name by accident from the British. After annexing the region, the British officers asked some of the local people as to what this place was known as. The people answered with a name from the Cantonese or Hakka language which was in fact the name of a small part of the region. The English version of that name is ‘Hong Kong’. The word ‘Hong Kong’ means fragrant harbour. Hong Kong is blessed with a 733km ling coastline and most of the terrain is mountainous with steep ascents and descents. On the southern part there is the ‘Ripples Bay’. In the year 1841 this region was under the threat of pirates, however the British managed to chase them away & hence this region came to be known as the ‘Ripples Bay’. Today it is considered as one of the most upmarket & posh areas of Hong Kong.

Also known as the ‘Hollywood of the East’, Hong Kong shares a cordial relation with Bollywood since a very long time. ‘Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong’ was the first Bollywood film to be shot here. After that Bollywood film-makers became attracted towards European destinations for their film shoots but finally in the 90’s Hong Kong again featured on the wishlist of Bollywood production houses. Mahesh Bhatt’s Gumraah, Ram Gopal Varma’s Company & other films such as Lahu ke do rang, Awarapan, Dhamaal 2,etc also were filmed in Hong Kong as it offered ultra-modern cityscapes, facilities, spic and span locations & a host of other things. Hollywood has also taken fancy to Hong Kong on a large scale and the number of films churned out is staggering. The last film of Bruce Lee-Enter the Dragon, James Bond’s-The Man with the golden gun & Die another day, Van Damme’s Bloodsport, The Dark Knight, Rush Hour 2,Tomb Raider 2,Johnny English reborn etc. are a few of the popular films which showcase Hong Kong on the silver screen in their scenes.

The prime attraction in Hong Kong for tourists is the Victoria Peak which is the tallest part of the island. One can get a panoramic view of Hong Kong, the city sky scrapers as well as the ships docked in the sea from the sky terrace 428.This terrace is located on Victoria Peak as it is at height of 428 mt from the sea level. Another interesting fact is that the first Madame Tussaud’s museum was opened in Hong Kong itself. You click photos with the life like wax works of a host of celebrities, right from Shahrukh Khan to Jackie Chan and even political head honchos like Barrack Obama. Disneyland too has become the most sought after attraction in Hong Kong ever since its inception in the year 2005.

Macau was a part of China a long time ago, later it came under the European rule and finally became a part of the people’s republic of China again. Macau was under the Portuguese rule since the year 1557.In the year 1999 it became a part of China. Today Macau shines globally as a tourism hotspot because of its shimmering casinos. The name Macau is derived from the Ama temple, the local people had constructed a temple here in the year 1448 of the goddess-Matsyu of the fishermen. When the Portuguese arrived here, they ultimately ended up naming it Macau after conversing with local people. Today this part is also known as Lotus Island. The Cathedral of Saint Paul is the most potent symbol of the Portuguese rulers who had invaded & ruled it in the past. From the year 1602 to 1640, people from the Jesuit sect built a church in the commemoration of one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ and that disciple was St.Paul. Today only the gargantuan wall of this church remains & it has made it to UNESCO’s world heritage site list. Macau’s modern attraction is the 1109 ft. tall Macau tower. Inspired by the Sky Tower of New Zealand, the Macau tower is a popular tourist attraction here. The tower comprises of an observation deck as well as a sky walk so that people can walk around it.It houses a number of restaurants, theatres, shopping and even provides a breath taking view of the city. The star attraction of Macau is the Venetian Macau which has been inspired from the Venetian casino resort of Las Vegas. It is spread over a vast area of 10,50,000 sq.ft. This 39 storey resort houses 7 hotels. It is the world’s biggest casino and when it comes to numbers it boasts of more than 3400 slot machines & 800 gambling tables.

Hong Kong and Macau are not situated on the mainland of China, also for many years European Nations ruled over it. Hence this part remained considerably aloof from China’s culture and traditions. However Shenzhen comes on the mainland and in order to make optimum use of its geographical characteristics, the Chinese government brought it in the ‘SEZ’(Special Economic Zone) category. Once a small village, Shenzhen has undergone a complete makeover. It is by far the fastest developing city in the past 30 years. There is a street here by the name of Chung Ying Street, the highlighting feature of this street is that one end is in China & the other end is in Hong Kong. In the Cantonese language ‘Chung’ means China & ‘Ying’ means England. This road was a popular shopping joint earlier. The Windows of the world, Splendid China, Chinese Folk culture village, Happy Kingdom theme park, together make for the OCT (Overseas Chinese Town) in Shenzhen. The most popular amongst them is ‘Windows of the World’. In this park there are miniature replicas of 130 popular tourist attractions of the world, right from the Taj Mahal to the Pyramids of Egypt. Every night many dancers exhibit a wide variety of dance forms here.

Apart from a women’s special tour to Hong Kong-Macau-Shenzhen, there is also a family tour. Hence this summer vacation is going to be packed with fantastic tourist attractions, right from Disneyland to the Venetian. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go and have the time of our lives with Veena World by your side.

November 14, 2015


Veena Patil
Veena Patil

‘Exchange a coin and you make no difference but exchange a thought and you can change the world.’ Hi! I’m Veena Patil... Fortunate enough to have answered my calling some 40+ years ago and content enough to be in this business of delivering happiness almost all my life. Tourism indeed moulds you into a minimalist... Memories are probably our only possession. And memories are all about sharing experiences, ideas and thoughts. Life is simple, but it becomes easy when we share. Places and people are two things that interest me the most. While places have taken care of themselves, here are my articles through which I can share some interesting stories I live and love on a daily basis with all you wonderful people out there. I hope you enjoy the journey... Let’s go, celebrate life!

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