Dec 28 2012 | 2 Comments
DAY ONE HONG KONG
I have a long history with this city. I came here for the first time in the late 70’s. I fell instantly in love with its vitality, otherness and in some odd way I understood it.
I then returned two years later to live here for several months – an orthodox choice to say the least. What was a twenty year old girl doing living alone in Hong Kong ? I had no job, no family here to connect me to, all I had was this strange not quite love affair with a very handsome man who happened to live in Singapore. I wanted to remove the not quite from the situation. Moving to Hong Kong when you want to have a relationship with someone who lives in Singapore is like moving to Tacoma when you are in love with someone who lives in Tampa. But I figured if I was in the same hemisphere I might be able to get my way.
Of course it didn’t work. But, I did spend six weeks living in Hong Kong and having for the most part a pretty terrific time.
Glenn keeps asking me how I spent my days.
I made friends, as a new ex-pat is immediately welcome, especially young single ones. For the one and only time in my life I can actually say I worked as a model. Indeed, a far-fetched notion, I had none of the model requirements. But here, in the late seventies,. I was Caucasian and blonde, the extra fifteen pounds did not seem to matter, the first two being the only necessities.
So, I would spend days going on go-sees and sometimes getting booked for jobs that ran as ads in magazines.
I also took Chinese cooking classes a few days a week.
I wandered the city. I read a lot. I hung out at the Foreign Correspondent’s club, full of some of the greatest characters you could find. And then one day I realized Mr. Singapore would not appear. My future would be not be found in this city. And I had mastered the fine art of preparing Peking Duck, so I went home.
Over the next several decades I did return for few days at a time usually on my way to India or Thailand. The last was in1997.
I have always told Glenn it is one of the main cities I wanted him to see. Well, I have said that about a lot of cities, but this is one of the main ones.
I also wanted to share it with the kids.
While it is not the Hong Kong I once knew, it has changed more than most any city I know. It remains vibrant, perhaps more so, though it has lost most of the old world charm that used to be nestled between the modernity. It’s now giant buildings every where, parts of the city that were tiny enclaves are immense. The outskirts are packed with high rises, very little of what I physically knew remains. But the vigor and vitality are still here in full-swing.
Yesterday I had a great time discovering the new Hong Kong and trying to find parts of the old to share with my family.