Earlier this month, we had the incredibly good fortune to take the trip of a lifetime to Hong Kong. My brother, sister-in-law and niece have lived there for 10 years, and we were there for a big family event. Over the next few weeks Rich and I will be posting a few blogs of our impressions of this amazing and unique place.
For our family it was a break from normality that took us out of our suburban New Jersey life and into a glittering oasis of neon, marble and glass. We flew direct from Newark. It was a15 hour flight that left on Saturday afternoon and arrived on Sunday evening. Although we’d spent less than a day in transit, because of the time difference, it felt like we’d spent an entire weekend in the air.
One of the first things I noticed on the drive into town from the airport, was a huge collection of enormous apartment blocks the scale of which I had never seen before. Hong Kong has one of the highest concentrations of people in the world, with over 18 thousand souls battling for space in every square mile. The immense edifices are home to people who used to live in boats around the various islands. They looked eery looming against the night sky.
Our hotel was smack in the middle of the Lan Kwai Fong district of Central Hong Kong, an area that hums and thrums all night long. Our home town in the U.S. shuts down for the night at around 10PM, yet the instant we arrived on buzzing Wyndham Street, we felt right at home. Hong Kong is very welcoming, and its energy is infectious!
I’ve lived in 3 countries in my life, and over the years I’ve developed the concept of “conquering” a city. To conquer a city is to learn about it, to feel at home in it, and to know where to go to get the things you need – like affordable food, laundry and a place to get your hair done. I love to wander around unfamiliar streets, getting slightly lost, and learning as I go. That night I went to bed anticipating how I would put on my GladSoles and go out and make Hong Kong mine.