Okay this city is completely bizarre. I actually really enjoy it, but it is entirely unlike all the other Asian cities I have visited. Seeing the densely packed buildings (Melbourne people think of the Carlton Housing Commission flats about triple the height and densely packed – about 20+ of them in a 2km clump) dotted around the Hong Kong islands, but then these huge, rocky volcanic mountains rising behind the high-rises, dwarfing them and bearing down on them all, making the true heart of Hong Kong seem remote and largely inaccessible, even to the progression of all the construction. The air is smoggy but not as bad as I had expected, the sun shining brightly through the haze.
I am staying in a place called Tsuen Wan – pronounced Shoon Warn – in the New Territories, which is populated by the Hong Kong natives and Chinese. I spent last night wandering through the markets as the only Anglo and found the experience fantastic. Even though no-one had any English, it was much more of a cultural experience as a result. Mingling with the *real peole* of Hong Kong is very different from spending your time in Kowloon city. Nevertheless I am in Kowloon today and I find the mix of east and west here somewhat mind-bending. I’m trying to work out whether it is the east trying to be western, or whether it is the west trying to be eastern that I find more disturbing. But perhaps no-one is trying – perhaps this is truly the kind of city that William Gibson describes in his novels; one that has rather evolved than imitated. I feel like I have walked on to the set of Blade Runner but instead of sky thick with rain, there is the sun shining brightly through a haze of industrial smoke.
The temperature is fabulous – 19-24 degrees – and the people are friendly. I’ve already had a group of Beijing business men offer me a proposal of marriage, so I figure this is just their way of saying hi. 🙂
My flight here was fine and my hotel is great – thank you to you all for your good wishes. I’m sorry I couldn’t post this sooner. My hotel has broadband but no public PCs so I had to wait till I found an internet cafe today in Tsim Sha Tsiu (Kowloon city, pronounced Zim Shar Shoo). And as I have to leave so early tomorrow morning on my flight to the UK, this will probably be my only post from Hong Kong, but please know I am safe and loving my cultural education in Hong Kong. The world is really an extraordinary place isn’t it?
Love to everyone. Will report again from chilly London (where it is currently NEGATIVE 2 degrees). Oh. My. God!