It is not a piece about a tale of two cities but the tale of TWIN cities, Hong Kong and Shanghai. I bet you have never found any two cities resembling each other in so many ways. Coincidence? Not really. Bloody bond? Probably!
Hong Kong and Shanghai, both located on the coastline of China, were small port cities at the very beginning, and then became metropolitan cities fused with fashion and finance. Both have tightly packed sidewalks, endless high-rises along the skyline, and indulging nightlife.
Shanghai and Hong Kong are both significant contributors to Chinese film industry; they have kinship somehow. A lot of Shanghai entertainment celebrities and professional film crew moved to Hong Kong after 1945, including Lai Man-Wai, the first Mandarin film producer as well as Sir Run Run Shaw, the founder of Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited and the tycoon of Hong Kong entertainment industry. Even today, you can here someone speaking Shanghainese in film production or shooting house in Hong Kong.
Language- Pidgin English & Hybrid Mandarin
Residents in these two cities speak Pidgin English and Hybrid Mandarin because of British colonization and semi-colonization. Many words are still being used by local residents today, such as (点心) din-sum, (饮茶) yum-cha, (布丁)pudding, or (三明治) sandwich. Nowadays, even though under completely different political control, the two cities experienced same hard times in those decades and then grew up into prosperity.
Renowned Financial Centers-Central District vs. Lu Jia Zui
I had hallucination when visiting Central District in Hong Kong; I thought I was standing in Lu Jia Zui Financial and Trade Zone back in Shanghai; soaring skyscrapers reflecting the cities’ unique glamour made by glass and steel, well-dressed and decent-looking office people with serious face walking in a rush, taxis, business SUVs and top racing cars lining orderly and moving like tortoises.
Marvelous nightlife in Club Zone-Lan Kwai Fong vs. Xin Tian Di
Walk in Lan Kwai Fong or Xin Tian Di and step into any pub or club, then you will find the same handsome bar-tenders, the same fantastic cock-tail, and the same hot live band playing fascinating classical songs. But remember, before going there, open your wardrobe to get yourself well-dressed.
Two Faces of One City-Spectacular Night View vs. Liveliest Free Market
Down to the earth, any city has two faces; one shows wealth, prosperity and glories, the other unveils chaos, poverty, and clutter.
Expose yourself in front of the Bund or stand on the top of the Peak, then you will definitely be fascinated with the night view. You will still feel like a tiny creature in front of the manmade scenery made up of thousands and millions of light balls. While, the liveliest public markets confirm rest part of the thumb-rule above.
You may figure out more than I when travelling around these two cities, and definitely, that will surprise you a lot.
(for lonely planet)