It needs to be said- Hong Kong can be overwhelming. The giant buildings, multi-storey block of flats, the number of cars, buses, bikes, flashing signs, people rushing around, tourists. At times I felt that I was dwarfed by the enormity, the plenty, the possibilities. I would not necessarily agree with the statement that this is where the East meets the West; I claim that this is where everything meets! Some of the highlights? The Monster building, the Flower and Bird Markets and just about every single street, alley, nook and cranny!
If there is one spot you will know in Hong Kong (if you’re a keen photographer (read: Instagrammer)) it will be Monster building in Quarry Bay. It is just a short ferry rideand you step on the land where block of flats are tall, windows are countless and a neck pain is guaranteed if you keep looking up in awe! I grew up in a block of flats (4 storey so cannot even begin to compare) but living in a block of flats in Hong Kong is a completely different dimension. The buildings seem to be never ending! They sprawl like snakes, shoot for the skies like eagles! Why Monster? Because it’s enormous, because it’s ugly, because it’s scary? Five buildings connected together, but how many families and how many children, adults, dreams? Nothing ugly or scary about it. And if the sight stays with you, the sounds stay with you too.
We used to have a parrot, an African Grey, and we kept her in a cage. And many could have judged and felt sorry for her. After all, the place of a wild creature is not in a metal box. We had to give her up due to work commitments. Visiting Bird Garden made me think of all these beautiful creatures, caged, priced, sold. It was a fascinating walk, shaded by the trees and old walls but at the same time filled with sadness- I hope they are well looked after.
Just a few steps away, another eye pleasing spot! Guild free! Flower market! Absolutely gorgeous! Yes, the explosion of colours, scents, shapes! Mesmerising! Like walking into a fairy tale! Well, no dragons, castles…just maybe a prince on a white horse with a bunch of peonies?
It would be completely untrue to say that Hong Kong is all about hustle and bustle and every single square metre and every single minute is occupied and accounted for. Contrasts. We walked towards and walked in places, streets, cafes and shopping centres that were eerily empty. Untouched. Left alone. From a basketball pitch, to a gigantic shopping mall with a dozen of shoppers, to a cafe where they don’t take cards and you have to run a mile to find the nearest cash machine (but they make delicious matcha), to The Avenue of Stars where a lone tourist is setting a tripod to snap a photograph with Bruce Lee, to the alley, the oasis lined with trees where a man plays with his dog. To say that Hong Kong is a never stopping kaleidoscope would be true. To notice the pockets of calm and absolute bliss is easy. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for it. They are just there.
I know and I am fully aware that when we visited Hong Kong we were just mere observers, standing close enough to see and to taste, experience but to a certain degree. One week is not long enough to open yourself up completely and let the city hug you, push you, teach you, show you. I know I was very reserved at the very beginning, and when the beginning was about to finish it was time to pack our cases and dash to the the airport. Hopefully one day we will be back.Wait for us Hong Kong!