Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hong Kong - However You Like It!

So Des knows, it's just one of those places.  You hear so much about it.  It still has the whiff of the exotic...Is it better or worse since the Brits have left and the Chinese Chinese have taken over?  How is it changed, how is it different?

I couldn't tell you about before.  And me, I barely scratched the surface.  But ask me, would I go back??  In a heartbeat!  And back and back?????  Oh I truly do think so.  A friend who's gone there for business lately said he could move there.  His wife with her brand-new baby and her silky blonde hair sort of rolls her eyes.  How could he be serious?! How would she fit in?????   But has she been?  What do you know, unless you go?

My mother was so excited about me going there.  About me setting my feet down alongside those of "my people".  It was nice.  So very nice in "that" way.  And I think I felt very much at home.  But it wasn't so much all the aunties and uncles and cousins that I thought I recognized - none of whom recognized me........

I didn't even try my baby-Cantonese.  I've already learned from working with Hong-Kong-ese in Chinese restaurants that my dialect might as well be French to them or else I'm "just making it up" - like that woman in Seinfeld  - PRETENDING to be Chinese!

But yet, I don't actually wrinkle my nose up at the smells, or the sights, or the prospects of imagining an ocean bereft of certain fish, or a fishy hell where all the sharks are swimming around naked of certain ordinarily prominent fins.  (Though I do truly think it's tragic, the sharks, the tigers, the rhinos....don't get me started actually!)

I don't eek or draw back or cry out in disgust.  I know what voracious consumers Chinese people are of all that crawls, or lopes, or floats......or flies.....they will find a way to do something with it.  For better or worse for them or for the unfortunate creatures that happen to cross their paths.

Yes.  Those are lizards.  And starfish on the upper left.  And I have NO idea what they will be used for!

But here is what made me especially happy about Hong Kong - the cheerful, clashing, exuberant, clamoring colors!!!!! How could I not love a race of people who absolutely think it's appropriate to paint their heavy machinery the color of BARNEY?

And who live and die by every possible combination and variation on pink and green without reservation or compunction.

I love their love of the glarey.

Of visual clutter.  That ages so gracefully.  How the signage so harmonizes with their architecture.

How they don't find it ridiculous to dress their dead deer up like this?!  Chinese can be so cheerfully callous about humiliation since they are so exquisitely tuned to it in their culture.  It is a powerful social tool.  And it is almost a deliciously happy release for them to bear witness to another helpless being's humiliation.  (Dressing a poor deer up in pink smock and lavender tiara while you so cavalierly sell the dried up body parts of it's whole unhappy extended clan alongside!  Heartless, Heartless!  Oh o.k. it's not just the Chinese who enjoy a laugh at someone's/being's unfortunate expense!  I wasn't born yesterday!)

I've seen racks of garments go by on the streets of NY, but never a whole orange tree!  Must be somebody's lucky day!

And everywhere food.  If not for you to take home in happy plastic carrier bags.....

then for you to sit around a big round table and shovel down with your colleagues, your family, your chums.  To gossip, to scold.  To laugh at someone's misfortune.  (But not so much your own.  Kinda bad luck.)

I like the cozy little naked places.  Basic, simple, but it is legend in Chinese culture that the holes-in-the-wall are the places where you find the best food.  Because it's ALL ABOUT THE FOOOOOD!

Meanwhile, the hairdressers' can be pretty psychedelic.

Housekeeping can be delightfully polychromatic.

Fast food no nonsense.  If it's gotta be fast, it better be orderly.

Did I mention those lovely melon colors?  (Kinda - pink and green?)  Can I mention them again?  Why shouldn't high rise towers be colored like that of melons, and squashes and corals, and petals and the pyjamas of young girls?  They go so good with the blue of the sky.  The soft yellow of the sun, filtered through the pearly haze of spring.

And why not the colors of oranges and lemons?  And chestnuts and blood pudding.....and roast pork? (Thinking of food AGAIN!)

Or the colors of deep green cabbage leaves and tiny hot peppers?

Life should be gay where it can.  Because isn't there enough sorrow and hard work in it?

And doesn't it make you feel so much better to be surrounded by color?  Doesn't it just pick you up and lighten your step?

Well me.  I think life should be a party.  And Hong Kong is a party.  I have at least two more Hong Kong posts to come.  If you've been, come back and tell me what you know about it!  Cause I will return!


  1. I enjoyed every single photo! Thank you!

  2. What incredible pictures! Looks like an amazing place to be.

  3. Food, food, and more food. I just remember constantly eating good food there. And Hong Kong is so alive. It is a city that never sleeps, and there is always something to do there.

  4. The color and vibrancy of these shots are just fabulous, Paradis! Love it! :-)

  5. Such great pics. When I think of Hong Kong I usually think of all the skyscrapers. It is really fascinating to see life at ground level.

  6. Kenza, Lisa, Krista and Thomas - glad you liked! It was hard not to make interesting pictures. I'm always in love with places that give you many levels of views to work with. In some ways they look like pictures of any Chinatown you might find anywhere and then you look up, and those amazing colorful buildings are there and so tall and thin. It gives you a whole different sensation. And since they are so narrow, you can still experience the spaces in between and see the mountains which are always a wonderful bonus! Anyway, thanks all again, for coming by.