Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goodbye Hong Kong 

I came here just over a week ago. The strangeness of the place overwhelmed me, the tall buildings amazed me, the ever present air conditioning and jetlag conspired to keep me awake and I just wanted to get on the next plane going home. I felt like a fish out of water and I was desperate for a swim.

But then, an odd thing happened and I can't pinpoint when it was. I started to get my bearings, to know the streets around the hotel. I found a street containing nothing but hairdressers and pet shops (selling puppies and kittens!). I found a road called Man Fuk Road which appealed to my inner five-year-old's Carry On sense of humour. The cheerfulness and politeness of the people and the absolute cleanliness of the place wore me down and, as the bus drove me to the station to get the Airport Express, I realised I was sad to be leaving.

The oddest thing characterises the Hong Kong people to me now. They have this odd habit of when you are giving them something of taking it carefully from you with both hands like it's the most precious thing in the world. It could be a chocolate bar in a shop or a tip for carrying your bag to your hotel room or a USB memory device but whatever it is, it is accepted with this cherished two-handed receipt and it is utterly charming.

The food, as well, is lovely. The Chinese, or at least the ones in HK, do eat a lot of very odd things that we wouldn't look at twice in the UK but the stuff I recognised was delicious. I even enjoyed the prawns, something I avoid at home. In the words of Victoria Wood: "Never eat prawns; they tread water round sewage outlets with their mouths open."

The Chinese food we get in the UK isn't a patch on anything I've eaten here.

OK, I probably wouldn't like to live here. I'm finding it hot now and it's only February. Apparently in the summer, it gets a lot hotter and a lot more humid, something I really don't enjoy. Most importantly, I would miss everyone back home, David especially. I have missed him greatly ever since I left.

I wouldn't be averse to another trip here, however. It feels like a good place to be. And I really would like to buy some cheap fitted shirts next time.


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