Hong Kong had a lot to live up to — not just 4 months’ worth of amazing places but, more daunting yet, the memories of a child. You see, I spent a week here one February when I was 10. My dad was spending 3 months working here and in February half term Mum, Mike and I joined him. Context is important here; it was a dreary English February, I hated school, didn’t like myself much (oh the joy of those pre-teen years!) and I got to spend a week in a sunny, exotic (to me — I’d never been outside Europe) city, somewhere with skyscrapers, girls in baggy jeans and doc martens and every kind of blossom and bird you might find on postcards of Asia. To my young mind, this all heightened the effect that holidays normally have on even the most level head, that nostalgia-making selective memory. I literally didn’t want to leave Hong Kong, and I carried on idolising the place for WAY longer than I should have done. Hey, I was young…
There’s a narrow difference between being in love with a person and loving them, and this week I’ve discovered that this difference applies to places, too. Apparently, it rains in Hong Kong. There is poverty here, even if it isn’t on the scale of Nepal or Cambodia, which I must have been too naive to recognise as a girl. Everyone is in a hurry and hardly anyone stops to talk and smile (which EVERYONE does in New Zealand!) But you know what? This is still a special place, like London with neon lights. McDonald’s and Subway sit alongside Korean and Japanese as well as Cantonese kitchens. There’s the guy at my local veggie restaurant who, when I refused a fork, saying I wanted to learn, demonstrated how to hold chopsticks with a smile. I had a little practice in Vietnam, but I’m clumsy and it’s hard to use chopsticks in a vaguely dignified and ladylike manner — not something I was too fussed about at 10!
Anyway, in between naps to get over jetlagg, I’ve got the rickety Edwardian tram up Victoria Peak for a walk — it was misty so, although the views weren’t terrific, it was like being in one of those old Chinese paintings!
Yesterday, the sun finally came out and I got the ferry to Cheung Chau. Behind the manic bustle of the harbour is a gorgeous beach, some nice little shops and cafés and some walks. After several wrong turns I found the path that led to the north point lookout, which was incredible, and a total change of pace from the city.
I’ll leave you with a sunsetty view of Hong Kong harbour, since this could be goodbye for this blog. I’m not actually sure about that, but I might not be able to blog from mainland China so if that is the case, thanks for reading and I’ll see you in a few weeks!! 🙂