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Long route home Our trip all the way home, trying to catch no planes and stay on the ground like civilised people. It's taking us via India all the way to Europe from Japan, the furthest of the Far East...

Bonkers in Honkers

HONG KONG | Sunday, 30 May 2010 | Views [451]

Buildings tower over us.  People throng the myriad malls.  Signs of carniverous consumption everywhere.  Sheer lust for life invigorating everything.  An obsession with cleanliness. Lots of neon.  No space.  Tempting to think we're back in Tokyo, but no.  This is Hong Kong, the emblem of Old Empire and soon to be a symbol of New China.  What a city!  We stayed at the (in)famous Chungking Mansions, in our heads a Kar-Wai dream but in reality a Londonesque indoor market topped with dozens of tiny guesthouses.  Our room was so cozy there was only 30cm between the bed and the wall.  Still, downstairs provided us with laundry and cheaper-than-chips dosas, naans and so forth.

Sallying out in Hong Kong provoked a riddle - what to see?  With no real standout sights save the skyline, we tottered to the museum of local history to attempt to ground ourselves.  It was undeniably brilliant but unfeasibly bloated, so we skipped a fair bit.  We took in the street of stars from HK cinema (bored until the 80's for the most part), photoed the Lee statue and gazed awestruck at the skyline.  We hiked to the top of the hill and took the funicular down, against all good advice.  Why?  Because the park looked lovely.  While HK was always in our heads as a built up city in the mould of Tokyo or New York, it is in fact some two thirds forested.  There is a great deal of open space and nature is not an adjunct but a defining feature of this place.  Hiking trails abound as do watersports, even a few beaches.  But Hong Kong is a place for being not for doing, necessarily.

We were good at being.  We were at a dumpling house where we ate for $8 despite their michelin star.  We spent more when we were at the Charlie Brown cafe.  We were best when we were with friends and listened to tales of HK life and FILTH from Chris and Viv and also from Suzanne.  HK seems to have a good expat scene with rent being the key issue, as in London.  HK seem to lack for nothing, though Chris bemoaned the lack of genuine culture.  It's clear that one can live well in Honkers and of course the expat scene is well-established but like China, the mixing between cultures seems complicated.  It's strange also to see a city in which the rich live in a whole different area, literally up on the hill lording it over everyone else.  We shopped as well, and Oli finally found  pair of white trousers to save some wear on the monkey purple ones...


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