Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 19 2010

Long time no see, Hong Kong

I wasn’t in a great mood on the way to the airport this afternoon, staring at the beginnings of the airport MRT line stretching across the hills between Taipei and Taoyuan. I wasn’t really in the mood for a vacation with other people. So far, the best vacations I’ve ever had have been when I’ve been on my own. Still, I needed a break, a change of scenery. Hong Kong is nearby and convenient enough. It’d been years since I’d seen it. Of course, Chenbl was along as well.

Customs and immigration went smoothly, however, and we had lunch at a café just down from the gate. Our meal was delayed slightly by a middle-aged Taiwanese man shouting at the servers, “I told you three times already! Do you know who I am? I could make your lives miserable!” I could almost hear them thinking he already was.

Our flight, bumped up an hour, was wonderful. Or at least my flight was. I don’t know about Chenbl, as he was sitting somewhere else, on the other side of the plane. I got the coveted exit row and was able to stretch my feet out. As soon as we cleared the clouds I could see the plane’s shadow, surrounded by a brilliant halo, flitting along underneath us on the surface of the fluffy white clouds. Lines of planes and ships could be seen from our great height, travelling who knows where. I was already regretting not buying a Canon S95 for the trip.

Eventually we descended into a murky brown sea, landing an hour and half later in Hong Kong, but our friend Sean didn’t know we were early. We waited in the airport until 6:30 or so when he showed up with this girlfriend. We got on a double-decker bus that took us straight into town to our hotel, the Guangdong, in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The moment I stepped off the bus and inhaled I exclaimed, “Ah!” It’d been years since I smelled that peculiar mix of car exhaust and hard noodles. We walked a block to our hotel to meet some more friends and put our stuff away before heading out into the neon canyons in search of dinner.

We found it in an alley near Yau Ma Tei, fried oysters and beef noodles at a place accessed via half an hour’s wait in line outside. While the other waited I wandered around the area, taking snapshots, soaking in all the neon signs hanging bright and heavy over the streets. One of the other patrons had been to Taiwan and regaled us with heavily accented tales of her travels.

We walked dinner off on the way back to TST, stopping for some extremely rich ice cream in cones from a truck off of Kowloon Park, then down to the harbor. Of course we had to see the harbor. Now THIS is Hong Kong, I thought as I walked up the promenade, gazing out at the Hong Kong-side array of buildings, some of the festooned, as they were 20 years ago when I first laid eyes on them, with Christmas decorations.

It was getting late, however, so we made our way back to the hotel and said our see you tomorrows. I’m rather looking forward to wandering some of my old stomping grounds, less so to all the inevitable wondering where all the time went.

posted by Poagao at 1:54 am  

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