I’ve taken on the challenge of an A-Z during April – one post each day on a chosen theme. My theme? Books and writing, of course…
H is for Hong Kong
I first went to Hong Kong accidentally.
I was approached by my boss late on a Friday afternoon and asked if I could fly out there on Monday to help out with something.
Could I what?
That week I had a deadline due for a Wellbeing Astrology article, I had essays due for the FAA Astrology Interpretation exam I was sitting, and our kitchen was getting ripped out that week so needed to be emptied out over the weekend. How hard could it be?
I recall mailing my article copy and pulling out a suitcase to pack just as my boss called to let me know he was leaving his house to pick me up – he lived just 20 minutes away.
That night we arrived late, caught the airport train into the city, and then wandered the streets close to midnight. I was entranced.
Over the next couple of years, I project managed a few office relocations over there, so travelled over some more – sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a week, once for two weeks over the Easter break.
I didn’t waste a minute- exploring the city in my morning walks before work, and late at night after the day was done. Where possible, I added a day on here and there, and did some exploring – walking the city, cruising around on the double-decker trams, salivating over the window displays in shops where I’d not only never be able to afford the contents, but would never fit into the clothes, or have anywhere to wear the shoes.
I caught a bus down to Stanley, a ferry to Macau, and the tram up to Victoria Peak.
I watched the nightly laser show both from my harbour-view hotel room and from the star ferry. I followed the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world in the city and hired a bumboat in Aberdeen.
I visited temples, made wishes, shook fortune sticks, and had my future told by a wizened old man outside the Jade market in Kowloon. Apparently, I’ll be rich and famous with my pen (still waiting) and cry over a man. No kidding?
I explored the Ladies Market, the goldfish market,
the flower market, the bird market, the jade market, the antiques market along Hollywood, fresh food markets, and a fish market at Tai O where people still live in stilted houses.
I checked out a bridge (with incredible statistics that I’ve since forgotten), visited the world’s tallest seated bronze Buddha, rode the spectacular Ngong Ping 360 cable car, and watched the waves on the white sands of Cheung Sha beach.
I was there in a category 8 typhoon, in stinking hot summer weather when you feel the air and the pollution stick to every pore of your body, and also on clear, cold December days when it feels as though you can see forever.
I ate dumplings…everywhere…some amazing Cantonese food, claypot and hainanese chicken in street markets, vegetarian food at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, and Portuguese tarts and jerky in Macau, and watched a master carve an entire BBQ pig into a feast for a hungry office party in what seemed like a few short minutes.
I was lucky enough to get in under the surface of this fabulous city. Now all of that will be the setting for the book I’m currently writing – See You Again. It’s a story that I first thought of on a tour bus back in December 2008 – so it’s possibly fitting that I’ll be looking to release this story ten years later in December 2018.