‘Where the hell are we.’
It’s become less of a question and more of a general statement that we exchange, in mutual agreement that once again we’ve ended up somewhere bizarre. 90% of the time it’s a shopping centre.
A red-lipped girl trots past, clutching her Gucci handbag, gazing longingly at the newest Chanel window display, her heels clacking loudly, golden bangles jangling. She’s not the only one. Every single mall in this city has been jam packed with the latest designer stores: Louis Vuitton, Prada, Miu Miu, Chanel, Gucci, the malls reek of obnoxious affluence.
We, in the meantime, reek of sweat. 31 degrees celsius with a charming humidity of 85% is not doing us any good. We’re sweating water faster than we can drink it. The city is doing nothing to help us. Skyscrapers taller than anything we’ve seen tower over us from every angle, squishing us in from every side, trapping the heat and the moisture. Despite Hong Kong being monumental, it still manages to make you feel strangely claustrophobic.
We find refuge halfway through the day in Hong Kong park, where an aviary, fountain and quote “artificial lake” serve to cool us down a little before and prep us for yet another dive into the chaos. I say chaos, I mean for us. Everyone else seems to know exactly what they’re doing. Octopus metro card in hand, they manoeuvre through the city with ease, dodging cars, catching Ding Ding’s, filing in neatly on escalators: everyone has a purpose and goes about their business smoothly.
Nothing makes sense to us. You can’t cross a street unless you’re on a walkway. Nobody knows where the stairs to the walkway are though. You can enter a mall and five minutes later be five floors up in someone’s garden. You can also follow signs to an art gallery and end up in a singular 4×4 meter room with a couple of calligraphy posters up. You cannot, however, pay for an underground ticket with a card or a fifty note, or a 100 note, unless you’re spending more than 36 HK dollars. You can get money out of the ATM in the fire section, but not the earth or wood section. God knows.
If you hadn’t gathered, Hong Kong is a weird city. The best part though? The fact that China and Britain seem to be in a petty battle as to which country can exert the most influence over it. You can almost hear them squabbling. Oh, you’re going to make a place called Mong Kok? How about Queensway. Oh so you want to make a Tai Chi park? How do you like a Jockey Club. Bank of China? How about HSBC.
They somehow even managed to make the trams look like London double deckers. Best part of the city by far though. These tiny little shits, otherwise known as Ding Dings, scoot around the city happily, with their little front light making them look like a smiling cyclops. But cute. Highlight of the day, by far, was riding one.
Now though, having walked a good 10k, and wasted all of our energy squeaking on the Ding Ding, it’s time for a nap.
Stay tuned for more!