Hong-Kong life

Whenever we go to hong kong we stay in the same hotel. A cheap old three star hotel, the kind where the door hits the bed and only one person can be standing up at one time. The first time we landed there just because it was the cheapest deal we were offered, but we soon discovered that what it lacked in, well, everything almost, was gained in a perfect location, just on temple market.

I was never a big fan of central. It is really lovely when you look at it from the harbor on the other side, but other than money, there is very little for me there. Oh, I do enjoy going there once in a while to take some of that money, but my evening in hongkong will always finish on the mainland, in Kowloon, probably with some Chinese beer and some dice. I am not a big drinker these days, but sitting in a karaoke bar in hong-kong with a beer is part of the experience, and let's face it after two of these cheesy Chinese love songs walking in the rain videos you really do need a drink.

Ok, maybe central is not that bad, and let's face it , there are some very good restaurants there, but my hong-kong is the adjacent dimension, that east west purgatory that you find on the waterline and the local neighborhoods. 

Only by walking these modern ancient roads I can find the faces of the real citizens of this westernized but oh-so-Chinese mutation, only by seeking out the bus stops and the markets can I really know who really makes Hong Kong run, who keeps the whole island afloat, and that is my pleasure when I visit there.



And once I have had enough stories in my lens for one day, I just have to turn my eyes upwards into the sky, or what should have been sky, somewhere there between the scrapings. Yes, the architecture is amazing. It is. Beautiful. Really. But for me? I don’t know, it just scares the bejesus out of me every time. I have lived in new York when I was younger. I have experienced the skyscraper jungle.

This is not my first encounter with that feeling of being engulfed with steel and glass, but in Hong Kong? I don’t know, maybe because it is so slanted and the whole island effect makes it even creepier, but I just find the whole thing disturbing.

I think you can even see that in my photos. A sense of awe, almost in the biblical sense. This man made jungle of business and commerce, a stick throw away from the waking tiger. Indeed, and interesting place.

As a vegetarian, Hong Kong is a paradise of tastes and culinary expertise, and their sense of "everything can be faked" works wonders when you order a vegetarian smoked duck breast, and there are four different kinds of tofu, creating a fake smoked duck breast up to the crispy skin. I was never a big fan of 'almost' meat, and thinks that if you feel like eating meat you should, but this kind of craftsmanship must be applauded.

We try to visit the museum of modern art whenever we are in town, and it usually has at least one interesting exhibition. A lot of the exhibitions are questioning the identity as hongkongians blab la bla which can be a bit obnoxious after years of regurgitation, but there is always some classical Chinese art exhibition to counterpart the post modernistic bull. And these exhibitions? Inspiring. Always. Could be calligraphy, could be clay work, could be costumes from the theatre. Always interesting, always captivating. Worth the visit.



And try to aim for the late afternoon hours, so the sunset will be right in front of you as you step out to the harbor. Add a little wind, and try to imagine a ship horn blowing, and you got hong kong.

Not to mention that some of my best silk ties are from there.  And a nice Chinese chess board I never use. And a lot of knick knack. Ahm. A lot of knick knack. But hey, in the end of the day that's hong kong. Noodles and knick knacks.

In every visit it is getting harder and harder to find the Hong king that is in my mind, the visual identity of the city. Globalization's ugly footprint is well noticed, and progress is progress, especially when you are a business town. I will still be looking in the back allies and the small markets for my Hong Kong. It is out there.  

It is out there.  I can smell it. That famous Chinese five spices mixture that is so familiar to the nose, steams coming out of a small street stall pot. If I close my eyes I can see the whole street. It's a good smell. A familiar smell. Comfort food is comfort food no matter what continent you are on. 



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