October 28th 2010
Bandar Seri Begwan, Brunei
Hong Kong is a city which doesn’t seem like it should be able to exist. Maybe we are jaded in America, but we have grown used to the idea that a metropolis it will be dirty and crime infested, the kind of place Batman and his many nemeses lurk. Hong Kong is paradoxical: a huge city filled with night life and chaos and fun without the rubbish and grime.
My hotel was on a bustling neon shopping street, lined with expensive clothing stores, pharmacies and shops which seemed to indiscriminately sell a mix of candy and dried squid. I walked along this road, absorbing the energy and taking pictures of bright signs that splashed reds and purples and yellows across the streets. After some wandering I found a night market, a discombobulated mix of touristy statues, paintings and silks crammed in next to locals hunting through piles of socks and boxers.
That night I could barely sleep -- intoxicated with excitement inherent in the city and the joy of starting my adventure. So I left my hotel before 7 in the morning, startled to find the streets far more deserted than they had been at midnight. I walked through the city, suddenly turned monochrome by gray skies the same color of the concrete buildings. I sat by the river while I waited for the city to wake up, surrounded by the odd quiet of the river noise -- boats and water lapping against the pier as the street noise behind me swelled. While I was sitting an ancient Chinese man named Lee started a conversation with me, discussing everything from my future plans (he suggested I should become Commissioner of Refugees for the UN!) to American politics. Another way Hong Kong defies conventions of big cities -- the people here are genuinely friendly.
I really hope I will be able to return here while I am in Asia. Hong Kong, even with just 20 hours experience of it, has definitely marked it’s place in my list of favorite cities!
To see more photos of Hong Kong:
To see photos of New York City:
Tomorrow I will post a blog about Brunei, where I am now!