Friday, July 25, 2008

The Hong Kong Sideshow

On the way to Tokyo I took a weekend stop over in Hong Kong that was all a bit of a blur…a city I loved the first time (on $15 a day, riding the 75 cents tram round and a round and staying in the rotting Chungking "Mansions")… and needed little excuse to explore further.

Straight to a Friday night bar, I knew it would be carnage from the cheeky yet "it’s all in my stride" look on Andy’s face. The sort of guy who needs a night let alone a few months to find out exactly where to find a good time and Asian cities are his forte.

From a beer over looking Hong Kong harbour and the Kowloon skyline, to tasty bites in the open street, to all you can drink reserved table at an exclusive bar (nothing like the generosity of a banker leaving town with a bumper bank balance – cool guy though)…to much silliness. Awaking high up in some random sky-scraper, pretty close to the last thing I wanted was to jump in a taxi, strafe to the other side of the island and fall into a dragon boat. Andy being the consummate host had arranged just this.

Loads of fun on short-term adrenaline, followed rapidly by turning a similar shade of green to South China Sea. A couple of hours of hard work, aversion of puking my guts out, awesome views and a crazy coach against all odds proved to be a great hangover cure. Just a pity I would not be in the boat for the real thing a couple of weeks later. Another time.

A very different night with Andy and Felix (who had politely popped down from Shanghai for a visa run) was soon upon us. More fun and games with memorable parts being numerous jelly shots, the sight of far too many drunken rugger-buggers and cavorting girl-friends and, after changing districts, the closest I come to rage… having to constrain myself from hitting half of the old men touching up young prostitutes. I would not blanket criticise prostitution in all circumstances – the world is too complex for that – but Asian sex tourists piss me off….I shall curtail the rant…

Stumbling into Andy’s apartment at a head-ache enhancing bright hour for a couple of hours kip and before I knew it I was back on a plane. Just like that.

These mini-trips have a life of their own. Unique little pockets of time on another world with rules of your own making. Simultaneously good and bad for you. I am never quite sure if they are formulative or you just find what’s already there – a bit of both no doubt. Packed full of life.

From traditional Chinese aspects unspoilt by the cultural revolution to bankers in dragon boats. A city of contrast that just seems to fit. To think I never made it over to Kowloon to indulge myself in the Hong Kong skyline – for me the most impressive man made sight in the world. Lost in the buzz… I will be back, but for the moment move on to the main event….JAPAN

(That's the cheeky look - if a bit hungover)

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