Around the World in 80 Days
Day 42: 5 November
After a quick lunch I'm onto the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. I'm surprised that the enterprising Chinese haven't slung at least one bridge across the downtown area, but heartily glad they haven't. Today the water of the unstraddled bay ripples in bright sunshine. They call this millionaire's weather, and I'm off to millionaires' territory - the Happy Valley Race Course. I reach it by tram, a well-worn vehicle of character that used to run in Glasgow in the 1940s.
Happy Valley is an extraordinary phenomenon. Billions of dollars change hands here on the two days of the week when there is racing, because it is the only legalised gambling in Hong Kong, and the people of the city love to gamble. (Living here at all is a gamble, I suppose.) The Hong Kong Jockey Club, a very exclusive and traditional band of gentlemen, have found themselves sitting on a goldmine, which they are permitted to continue sitting on if they re-distribute a certain amount of profit in good works around Hong Kong. So everyone's happy and the place is aptly named.
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- Series: Around the World in 80 Days
- Day: 42
- Date: 5 November
- Country/sea: Hong Kong
- Place: Hong Kong
- Book page no: 136
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