Thursday, October 16, 2008
fables in hong kong
After an arduous but surprisingly tolerable fourteen hour flight, we arrived -- for the very first time -- on the continent of Asia. We wobbled wearily toward our hotel, in Mirador Mansions, which were anything but the luxurious image that comes with the name. It is basically a series of buildings housing stores, exchange shops, tailors, apartments and guest houses. After a bombardment of neon lights and a maze of indians hawking "sunglasseshandbagswatchestailoredsuits," we made it into our fortress of solitude, complete with hot water, free wireless internet, powerful air conditioning and a flat screen tv now showing a David Attenborough nature documentary. ahhhhh.
Our first nights were mostly sleepless, our bodies in a funk from the insane opposite-side-of-the-world-timechange, so our first couple of days we spent marching like zombies through the streets of Kowloon and Hong Kong. We saw two movies (Body of Lies and Vicky Christina Barcelona), applied for our China visas, went to two museums, an English bookstore, and took the longest (1/2 mile) escalator in the world.
The fourth day, however, after having adjusted our eating and sleeping, we journeyed into Kowloon's fabled markets. After popping off a quick and insanely cheap metro ride, we found the flower market. Teeming with flowers named and nameless (to me), we were overcome by the sheer sweetness of it all. Every perfect package of luscious buds was wrapped up in crisp and soft and pale paper, waiting to be delivered to blushing babes and gracious mothers. Then the bird garden -- a series of men fawning over their exotic bird-friends that I am not entirely sure they actually wanted to sell, for fear of parting with their best mates. It is rumored that the men hand feed each of their creatures crickets with chopsticks -- spoiled! but also worthy of the attention, these birds overwhelmed with their colors, shape, size and sometimes uncanny ability to talk back. After that, fish. Assuredly illegally garnered, there were tanks and tanks of water plants and anemones and coral and so many types of goldfish you didn't know existed, some of them so strangely resembling anime creatures that you would think they were designed by nintendo. oh, asia. Repititions of things, especially aesthetically pleasing things, has an uncanny way of making you feel overwhelmed but curious. Like a child running through a flock of grounded birds, you want to keep it all, to discover it, to feel it, to touch it. Oh! So many flowers and they smell so sweet and oh so bright and fresh and oh they can all be mine! and birdies! and fishies! I want to see them all close up, to hold them, to have them, forever. Come to asia, you'll know what I mean.