Reflections on returning to Hong Kong

Here’s a guest post from my Dad who we met up with in Hong Kong. Over to him:

Hong Kong was the place for another reunion (we also met up in Buenos Aires in July) with Jack and Becki. They were en-route to Myanmar and I was coming from Singapore where I had been visiting friends. My next stop would be Guangzhou (Canton) and Shanghai in China for book research.

We had all been to Hong Kong before, me three times, Jack twice and Becki once. We also have a longstanding family friend who has lived here for some decades. So it is familiar territory. But here’s the thing. I find that visiting places for the first time you end up feeling, either that you’ve seen and experienced all it has to offer, ‘been there, done that’ as it were. Or, that visiting just leaves you hungry for more, a place to revisit. For me, Hong Kong is definitely (like Venice and New York) in this latter group. There is always the promise of something to rediscovr or to find afresh.

So how did Hong Kong strike me this fourth time? Above all was its busyness, its buzziness. Little wonder that, as one of the densest cities in the world, the streets between the high rises are packed with people on foot and in vehicles. And the towers soar up 30, 50, 100 storeys from tiny sites, packed closely together. Between them the paths, stairs and roads twist and turn, rise over and dive under themselves to keep things moving.

And in the buildings there is a wonderful array of food on offer, seemingly every cuisine in the world and across every price range. Becki’s favourite online food blogger guided us to many a treat – dim sum, of course, but also crispy roast goose, fresh seafood, homemade noodles (I’m trying to forget a foolish dish of congee – somewhere between porridge and wallpaper paste.)

Crazy dim sum place where you had to be aggressive and grab your food from the trolley before others did

In truth Hong Kong has few ‘sights’. Of course, there is the cable car ride up to the height of the Peak where (if it’s not foggy) you can see the city spread below. There is the old fashioned Star Ferry that takes you across the water from Hong Kong Island proper to Kowloon to its north. And there are various temples you can visit. But really it’s just a place for wandering – like New York and Venice again – and observing local life.

And that’s what we mostly did. Not only in various city neighbourhoods, but also to Lamma island. Here it is quite rural: there are no buildings above two storeys and it’s mainly countryside.

We walked from one side to the other and rewarded ourselves with a delicious fish lunch on the harbour.

I can’t wait to go back again.

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