The Far East. Far being a rather apt word as it takes so long to travel to. But that would be my only complaint of my entire Hong Kong-ese experience. A glass of wine (actually make that two) later and BA’s latest films, I found myself drifting off somewhere between Turkey and India. (The truth being I had no idea of the flight route until a recent google search.)
Yet, despite my severe ignorance, and having thought Hong Kong was actually somewhere close to Singapore for years, I happily and ‘self-high five-dly’ no longer count myself as a hodophobe. In fact I secretly congratulated myself as we bumpily landed into Hong Kong International Airport and I managed to navigate my way into the city without the use of Uber or a lift…. or a silent weep to myself. How things can change in a year.
📷 Sai Wan Beach
The city was on its 3rd typhoon warning (my father found it hilarious to crack the same joke that it was something to do with me being a drama queen). It rained for 28 hours on my arrival. We ran to Victoria Peak – I walked most of it – and complained down umpteen flights of stairs to find sustinance and rehydration in the form of Korean beer. I fell down one flight and landed on my rather unexercised glutes. Holding back the tears, I was about to profusely complain that they should really warn people that they were slippy. Until I saw the sign saying “Caution: Slippery When Wet” in front of me. Hong Kong is known for all its signs being in both Chinese and English. Much to my distain at that very moment.
📷 Typhoon Haima, October 21 2016
I was chatted up outside the restaurant by a short American guy who was being accompanied by Hong Kong’s most successful dating guru. A guy, who didn’t strike me as the female type, who had bedded over 300 women in four years. He was only 18 years old. I looked over to my boyfriend to gage his reaction. It was more of a shocked reaction rather than being impressed. I loved him a little bit more in that moment.
📷 Le Quinze Vins, 32 Gage Street, Central
According to studies, there is one restaurant or bar for every 600 people living in this city. It is approximately 1 mile wide and 10 miles long. It has the highest rent in the world. It has the cheapest taxis in the world. It has double the amount of skyscrapers than New York City. Every year an estimated 45 million visitors step foot into the city. With around 200 islands, 40% of the country consists of parks and nature reserves and less than 25% of the entire country is developed. It has the largest expatriate drug scene in the world.
📷 Sai Kung Pier
We taxi’d to Sai Wan with a man who had been a driver in the British Army. He talked for 1.5 hours and we only understood every fourth word. He had not driven as far as Sai Kung in 35 years and drove at about five kilometres an hour giving himself a tourist tour. He was just divine.
We climbed the equivalent of 72 floors to Sai Wan beach. On a somewhat sweaty arrival, we were told it was T3 (typhoon warning three) and all the boats were cancelled. So we had to hike 72 floors back again. It was hot and humid and painful and wonderful all at the same time. We taxi’d back to Mid-Levels in a car that was 20 years old and had two million kilometres on its meter. Conduit Road sounds like “Con-Dac-Doh” in Chinese – there is even an app which tells you exactly what to tell your taxi driver as none of them can read maps. Either that or they refuse to listen. They definitely don’t like tipsy Westerners at 1.30am who cannot be bothered to walk the 10 flights of stairs home.
📷 Sai Wan Beach
Never had I thought I could fall in love with a city so quickly. Its dripping lights sit like a perfect, endless mosaic of algae on every building you see. It should be the city that never sleeps, because on every corner and through every door, you are greeted with a new sense of life. The energy never stops here. It is infectious and toxic and exhaustingly addictive all at the same time. The best part about it being that I could see myself right here.
📷 Gage Street
It perfectly encompasses escape with release and company with loneliness. Beauty in the conformity. Beauty in the mundane. Oh yes, I will see you again you soon Hong Kong. Sooner than you realise.