One of my friends recently remarked that I seem to spend a lot of time running and arguing, so for something completely different I went for a kayak last week and I’m not going to write anything about politics today. However if you are sitting at a desk in the UK my ode to Hong Kong might be even more annoying.
The weather here has been quite stunning the last few weeks, ever since the super typhoon brushed past with barely a raindrop shed. Mid October and 27 degrees with blue skies every day seems almost wrong, but it hasn’t stopped me from working on the roof or at the garden table thus keeping my tan alive.
Last Thursday was a perfect day-in-the-life, following on many days which were also not too shabby. I woke, read my book in my student reading pit and eventually rolled out to greet the blue and green of a day warmed to just the right temperature and dry. Oooh, dilemma: to read in the garden or on the roof? The roof won by a few metres of vantage point but I discovered it really is impossible to read about China’s New Generation of Leaders with a mountain trail behind you and a beach in front. Try it.
In any event I failed and lest I be stuck on the roof all day dithering about whether to go up the hill or down to the sea, I turned to the Coin of Decision. The sea won, which is surprising since I’d have thought The Coin would know how much I hate sand but clearly it spotted a moment of opportunity.
So I packed my beach bag and headed down to the water to get grit in the pages of my book. The beach was utterly empty (as you’d expect in the middle of a working day) but for the little man hawking his kayak hours. In the interests of market research for visitors I grabbed a paddle and headed out to one of the many islands in the bay for even more peace than the beach offered. Shingle beach, blue sky, green islands, book on politics: bliss.
I managed an hour before the sand got the better of me and the (ancient) kayak chap broke my idyll with a paddle-past for a gawk at me sunning myself in my bikini. Most unusual in Hong Kong I have to say but I guess that was his aim since when I whipped on my sun dress he abruptly did a U turn. At least it galvanised me into action.
Back to shore and into town then, where I ambled through the back end of our village for a coffee. Down there the marine mechanic works up to his elbows in black engine grease next door to the Green Earth Society which sells everything from organic pet shampoo to neem bark toothpaste. It seems it is gentrifying a bit, given the interior design shops also squeezing into tiny shopfronts, but the engine man will always have work from the local fishermen, whose wares in turn hang from people’s windows and balconies to dry in the sun.
The place is Hong Kong encapsulated: rammed with tourists, flashy and dirty, luxury goods and grimy services, water and hills and lots and lots of noise and smells. Just perfect really.