Day II Pics – Recapping February 9, 2010.
Shouldn’t be surprised that a week after our arrival here, I’ve already fallen behind on the writing. BUT – to my credit, I have been doing splendidly at uploading (and tagging!) Facebook pics and Flickr photos.
Overall, Asian sweets are less intense with fake sugar enhancements than American, which made our first hotel’s close proximity to Likey Bakery one of the most winning locations possible. Thanks to cheap labor and the HK-USD exchange rate, food is much cheaper than in the States. I like it. We’ve been eating like royalty with Brooklyn’s family. Pretty much a banquet every night. I’m lucky enough that most of the food isn’t new to me. It’s more like every dinner is full of my favorite Chinese dishes and a lot of happy chatter.
Call me a party pooper, I don’t care, but I find little to no appeal in super cheap souvenirs. I’m not gonna buy a fake Fendi bag, I’m wary of any dinner flatware that’s sold on the street, and I don’t think the people I truly value in my life actually care for the rinky dink trinkets that go straight from the sweatshop to the flea market. I’m not against the idea that “It’s the thought that counts,” I just don’t buy things for people unless the products are leaping off the shelves screaming their names. Wouldn’t you rather receive something from me knowing I spontaneously thought of you instead of checked you off of a list of gifting obligations? That said, stuff in Hong Kong was amusing, but at time of writing I haven’t dispensed any cash for potential trash.
It seems every travel guide will tell you to visit Hong Kong’s Buddhist temples. They can be pretty fantastic sights to see, but upon hunting for and eventually finding Man Mo Temple, I got kind of depressed. The city of Hong Kong is so packed with people that buildings literally bump up against each other as they clamor for the sky. We went through what felt like a hybrid of San Francisco’s Chinatown set upon North Beach hills and basically fell upon Man Mo. The temple was tightly surrounded by buildings, pretty much stripping it of any breathing space you’d think a place of reverence might deserve. This isn’t unlike the churches I see squeezed in between suspicious-looking storefronts on San Pablo, I guess, except that I don’t walk into those Baptist strip mall churches with a huge-ass DSLR. If I weren’t agnostic, I’d be Buddhist, but even so, after the novelty of a couple of artsy-fartsy snaps of the shutter, I started feeling inappropriate.
I love city lights, and so I love Hong Kong at night. It’s a place that is absolutely packed. I think the pace is even more bustling than New York. Granted, we’re here during the Lunar New Year, but many Hong Kongers are out on holiday for that reason, too. I could never handle living in Hong Kong, but comprehending its sheer development can be pretty impressive, if not overwhelming. There’s just so much to look at.
My inner Travel Snob has absolutely surfaced here, in the ways of food, culture, and shopping. Hong Kong is replete in all three, and despite being a total and complete ABC (and butcher of whatever Mandarin I know) I feel like I’m at an interesting advantage of having somewhat of a grasp on Hong Kong culture. It’s like I’m a tourist but not. Cantonese and Mandarin have their similarities, the Bay Area and HK eateries have the same menus, and regardless of which soil I’m on, I have the same tastes in fashion – Meaning being abroad does not fully justify dropping bank on (quote) “luxury” (unqoute) items. (Though, in the most respectful dark humor I can muster, the death of one of my favorite designers does…I ended up buying an AMQ hoodie and sunglasses the day after his passing.)
One of the byproducts of being here in company with people at varying levels of Asian familiarity is that I find myself getting somewhat defensive when aspects of the HK culture are quickly dismissed. This reaction in itself is not a regular thing, however. I totally balk at bits and pieces of what I see, feel, smell on the streets, but at the same time, there are things that I don’t think should be questioned. It seems fickle, and it’s a lot more complex than what I have simply come to understand as people having different types of traveling styles. I can’t pinpoint it any further, except for the no-brainer that the backgrounds we have define the way we receive the world outside of our comfort zones…
In this episode: Likey Bakery, Wellcome, Man Mo Temple, Costa Cafe at the IFC, won ton mian, Fruitips, Lunar New Year Market (shot from the roof of Metro Park Hotel Causeway Bay), Victoria Peak (super foggy, so barely any photos)
Day II Pics – Recapping February 9, 2010.