Plus the scenery, way of life is brilliant!
Yes, it was a joke.
I've been to the Russian St.Pete too, only it was still Leningrad then.
It's amazing and has everything - interesting people, fascinating history, wonderful culture, a brilliant economy, plus it has the old, wonderfully smelly, rickety parts only a few streets away from the glittering sky-scrapers, which in turn are only a few streets away from the incredible temples. It has a brilliantly amusing tram service all round the city, and Hong Kong harbour is just breathtaking. Then it has the mountains (take the Peak Tram) and the beaches (take an open top bus and prepare yourself for the ride of your life!).
If you ever get the chance, GO!