Balanced extremes

After my forecasted absence from the blogging world, I am back. Although I foresee another truancy!

We have been in Hong Kong 10 days. It seems crazy; not only have the days flown by but we have done so very little… when we think how we approach an arrival in the multitude of other places to which we’ve travelled…

We should do this. See that. Go there. Experience something or other. Etc. etc. etc.

So far in Hong Kong. Our ‘do’ has been to sleep. Our ‘see’, the back of our eyelids. Our ‘go’… to bed. And our ‘experience’… Slumber!

Obviously I jest, but so far Hong Kong has been a bit like an army brat’s break – some well needed R&R, amazing home cooked food (thanks Pauline!), a little shelf to put our meagre belongings on and no agenda… Although I’m starting to get restless.

We have of course left the confines of our quilts and dined with Joyce’s family on many occasions… Below, left-to-right: Joyce’s awesome grandma; her incredibly generous and fun, mum; Joyce; one of Joyce’s many aunts.
Eating has in fact been the other key activity of HK. After Indonesia, were we were not blown away by the cuisine, Joyce and I are a bit like ‘kids in a candy store’. Just replace candy with dim sum and a myriad of other HK delights, both sweet and savoury. Warning, I may leave this city a few pounds heavier than when I arrived!
We have of course done trivial things, but they don’t warrant wasted words or squandered seconds. Needless to say. We are enjoying our pause!

Instead, I wanted to paint a picture of this special city from a couple of things that have struck me since returning (I’ve visited a few times before… And obviously its where Joyce grew up)!

First, it is the juxtaposition of pretty much everything, everyday life, in Hong Kong that jumps out from the sidewalks.

Old, tumble down apartments slouch next to modern, swish and stylish business buildings.

Every other shop sells electronics in pristine, minimalist surrounds; next door cables, cases, gimmicks and other electronic bits and bobs spill from torn cardboard boxes.

Modern advertising screams from colourful tablet screens wherever you look; neon billboards sting your retinas if you so much as happen a wayward glance, and in places it goes even further… Gorilla marketing! Women suruptiously stick black and white photocopies up and down the railings on the road. One eye on the rails. One eye out for the police…Old Skool!

High class, air-conditioned, malls greet you from (almost) every MTR stop. Filled with the latest brands – both East and West – they vie for your attention for this minutes’ trends. All the while, tucked round the corner local markets satisfy the population’s bellies; fish guts slide from boards, vegetables tower high in abundance, frogs await their fate, trapped in chicken-wire cages; whilst chicken feet lie in rows. You can find anything… And you needn’t look far.
It is a city of extremes. And in those extremes it finds normality. A normality I appreciate more each day.

Then there is the city’s energy. Of course, every city is busy, bustling, noisy, fragrant, exciting, frantic, vibrant and many more adjectives than I care to list. But there is something different about the energy in Hong Kong. A energy fuelled by its small size, its big population and its connectivity.

No where, no one, is far from one place, or another person. It is so built up you can look out your window and through the windows of more than a thousand other people… if you had peeping-Tom tendencies (no one here obviously, but you could!).
The MTR (underground) network is HK’s arteries. Little green buses (that wait outside every underground stop) and its Trams (on the Island) are its capillaries. Each packed with people rushing, or just sauntering, to their next stop, to see the next thing… There is always something going on in HK… Usually too many things.

It is this hotchpotch of modern and traditional transport that fuels and disperses the energy in HK, as people move from one of the city’s beating hearts to the next…

Maybe Hong Kong is a model village. A perfect example of yin and yang. Everything in opposites. Working. Pulling. Pushing. Creating energy. An energy in balance. A city full of light, even in darkness.

2 responses to “Balanced extremes

  1. I think you captured everything that I found so infectious about Hong Kong last year! Aw man I can’t wait to return…

    Glad you guys are enjoying it and getting to have an extended stay there.

    • Great, glad you think so. Infectious is a brilliant, simple description as well… Lets see if we are able to leave in September! 🙂

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