I’ve been back for just about two weeks now and the trip is finally settling in my memory. I’ve compiled my slideshow. I’ve seen almost all of my friends now, and given them the “How was it?” brief, but informative, answer. And yesterday, I went to Chinatown with Kat and thoroughly enjoyed a Shanghai feast while showing off my new and improved chopstick skills. I can really say now that I’m home – my jet lag is no longer an issue, and I look back on my time in Hong Kong with real awe and a feeling of “wtf?”.
They often use the term culture shock to describe the feeling of stepping off the airplane into a foreign place. Hong Kong didn’t shock me as much as it overwhelmed me like a double decker bus speeding to a stop right at your feet (think: the knight bus). Hong Kong sleeps – but when it wakes up it takes a healthy dose of amphetamines and a strong cup of tea. The constant flow of the city and the feeling your always being pushed somewhere is often disorienting (and this is coming from a New Yorker). At the same time the flow seems perfectly and organically organized, like a flock of migrating birds – everyone knows the turns, no one bumps into each other. My New York “Rules of Walking” didn’t apply. You must stop at a don’t walk sign (even if there are no cars). You cant cross in the middle of a block (on main streets they have fences to stop you). This might have been what threw me off the most. I always felt like I was not following an unwritten set of pedestrian laws.
My family got to see just about every thing we needed to see (or at least Fodor’s told us to see). I love sight-seeing, but I love sight-_eating_ more. Luckily, we did that, too. Of the culinary highlights, my favorite was probably Whole Fried Grouper [Fish] in Sweet and Sour sauce at the Red Pepper, a Szechwan place in Causeway Bay. Also, eating Dim Sum in a restaurant that was analogous to a New York Diner, with lots of mirrors and awesome Barbecue Pork buns.
Its probably going to be a while until I go back to the Far East. Next time – I’m flying first class.