The approach into Hong Kong is as breathtaking as any I've ever experienced. You start with Foster's soaring airport design on that vast man-made island, then the highway courses along the water's edge, mountains on one side and gleaming 60-story residential buildings -- strangely built in groupings of three or four identical structures -- on the other. (These are apartments buildings the scale of which you would only see in the densest blocks of Manhattan, and yet they're geographically located in the equivalent of Queens.) Then, underneath the sharp white lines of the Tsing Ma Bridge, you get a hint of the real city approaching, as your view cranes around the natural protection of the harbor. Then, a million multicolor shipping containers in the industrial harbor, and then suddenly the skyline, pressed up improbably against the water's edge by the sharply rising land behind it.
All I could think driving in was this: if you took a space alien on that drive and then had him take the trip into Manhattan from JFK, and asked him which of the two was the economic capital of the most powerful and wealthy country on the planet, he'd say Hong Kong in a second. It wouldn't even be close.