Dear Hong Kong,
Pardon me for being so forward but I have to say it: I think I love you.
Yes, our affair was brief, just 2.5 days but oh what glorious days. The sun shone, the skies were, if not perfectly clear, clearer than in Chengdu. Instead of paint fumes and pollution I simply smelled the ocean and the scent of delicious fried doughnuts wafting on the wind.
The public transportation in every form-train, bus, double-decker tram, taxi, subway, boat, and of course the hundreds of outdoor escalators was glorious. Riding in the upper level of those trams with my hair blowing in the wind made me as giddy as a 3 month old puppy on her first car ride in the spring time. I could hardly keep from clapping and bouncing up and down in my seat.
Lang Kwai Feng? I love you. I love that I saw the words “organic” and “free range” and “burger” and “Lebanese food” as often as I saw “noodles” and “dumplings.” I love that “meat” is not just another word for “pork” in Hong Kong the way it is in Chengdu. I loved the smells.
Ohhhh the food smells. So many different ones: bakery, noodles, soup, dumplings, dim sum. Turning onto each new street felt like opening up a new drawer in a spice chest every time.
I loved that I saw people wearing everything and anything, gay couples holding hands, punky teenagers, yuppie pregnant 30-somethings. Distinguished looking old British men. I love that the whole “Time Out Hong Kong” issue was about sex and censorship and all sorts of juicy things that could never be published on the Mainland.
I loved the bustle, the energy, the rush of the late-night crowd and the early morning commuters. The density, the thrill of that many people and that much excitement.
I loved the little school children in those adorably tailored British uniforms instead of the baggy track suits kids wear here on the Mainland.
I loved the grocery store where I found everything I could ever want and more. And it was all cheaper than in Chengdu. How? Why? And why did the Mainland airport security people take my deliciously inexpensive honey away from me??
I love that I ate Western food and it tasted GOOD good, not just Chengdu good.
I loved that I heard at least 5 languages rather than only 1 or 2. I love the lyrical quality of Cantonese, the gentle sing-song of the sounds, so musical after the stacatto and spitting of Sichuanese.
Oh and on spitting. I loved that no one in Hong Kong hawks and spits on the ground indoors, maybe not even outdoors! I loved that awful poor quality cigarettes are NOT the security blanket of choice for every man and boy in Hong Kong the way they are in Chengdu.
I loved the trees and the beaches, the breezes and the hilltops. I loved the amazing flower markets and the gloriously shady sidewalks and staircases up and down the hillsides.
In short, Hong Kong, I love you. I miss you. I want you back. Preferably sometime in late December. Preferably for a full 3 year tour if we can swing it someday. I never thought I’d say this, but you might be even more irresistible than New York City. It’s true. I may have just found me the most perfect city in the whole wide world.
Yours in dim sum and sunshine and double-decker trams forever,