Every time I return to Hong Kong (It’s funny how this turn of phrase from Cantonese has become my default way of speaking about visiting Hong Kong), I’m extremely busy. This most recent trip exemplified the insanity. The efficiency of the city somehow leaks into my planning process, and I squeeze every last minute so that I can meet and do as much as possible within each day.
For the first time in many years I was in Hong Kong with both my younger brother and my mother, which complicated matters further as we had even more people to meet and schedules to juggle. Over the course of four and a half days, we had only one meal unspoken for. Upon arriving from 23 hours of traveling on Saturday, for instance, we went immediately to a dinner with my mother’s high school friend and family.
I woke early every morning to do classwork, exercise, and communicate with the various people we would be meeting from my end – Uncle 6 and family, Uncle 8 and family, Big Uncle and family, Ka Yuen, Andrea, MJ, Lunzi, Suzanne, and Naiho. Brent and Mom lazed around in bed to my annoyance and I started each day quite irritated due to not eating for three hours in the morning. My mother’s traveling style and my own clashed considerably. The way we conceptualize time, prioritize who to meet, and plan (or don’t) for food could not be more opposing.
Still, we were able to efficiently complete everything we set out to do. I obtained medicine for my suddenly infected tooth. We met up with everyone as planned. Ate everything except 盛記麵家. Visited Grandfather’s bus-stop of a grave and convent/now halfway-house of a mansion. Mom bought the book she wanted from Eslite. I bought my first mirrorless camera (half a kilogram all told!) and sent back my heavy two kilogram 5D with mom – this is the first photo I took with it:
It’s been the tool that’s enabled me to post images and videos, and will be indispensable all summer.
I was able to draw quick sketches on the subway, continuing my current focus on improving my skill at drawing figures and faces.
When we left, Brent summed up our time well, saying we’d seen so many different worlds in our short time. The working class replete with lavish banquets with our family. The blissfully unaware upper class with my mother’s high school friends. The academic world with her college friends. The art world with Ka Yuen as we visited the JCCA. The expat world with MJ at the popup Burmese restaurant (sadly mediocre) Pansodan. Or by district, as we stayed in expensive, touristy 尖沙嘴, ate in working class 深水埗, shopped in frenetic 旺角, visited the popular date location 大觀, witnessed struggling artists in 石硤尾, enjoyed the quieter suburbs of 馬鞍山, the remnants of mom’s old rural neighborhood in 沙田, and the expat infested environs around 西營盤. A thoroughly exhausting trip.