All seasons in Hong Kong

It’s Sunday night and I’m leaning over the kitchen sink gnawing at a 250-gram block of Mainland Tasty Cheese.

I’m leaning over the sink because the ice in the fridge melted leaving a soppy mess. Biting the block because a knife didn’t come with the apartment. Why cheese? It’s the main to an entrée of grapes. I couldn’t be bothered going out tonight.

That’s not to say I had a lazy day, I didn’t, I went hiking. Rather, tramping. Although it’s hardly tramping when the trails are paved and the stairs have handrails.

I stood on the spine of Hong Kong Island and looked at the high-rises to my left, and to my right, and finally understood why nobody I met seemed to come from the middle. Apparently, it’s a reserve. A hilly reserve.

People live in little boxes but within a short walk of the city centre there’s all this space. It’s stunning.

Last weekend we went further – to Sai Kung Town. From there we took a boat to another beach and hiked a short way to get to pools and a waterfall. If the water wasn’t so warm I could have been in New Zealand.

Rather than taking the boat again we hiked back to the township, which is known for its seafood. Large tanks out the front of restaurants serve as the menu – pick your own fish, or squid, or crab.

I struck it lucky, again, being able to tag along with locals who knew what they were doing.

dsc_0049It was the day of the typhoon when I broke my rule of never eating at the same place twice.

Typhoon Haima, named after the Chinese word for sea horse, triggered the first Number 8 storm warning in October for two decades. Great timing.

Reports suggest it may have cost the city an HK$5 billion in lost business. The way the city reacted, I’m not surprised.

I panicked when I saw the main doors to our building were closed, but at a back entrance a guard took my ID number and let me inside. A handful of colleagues had also made it to the newsroom. The surrounding offices and shops were shut.

When I realised this, my one Granny Smith apple spiked in value. Fortunately, there was plenty of coffee and – we later discovered – a vending machine which stocked M&Ms.

Causeway Bay, where I was staying, is the shopping centre of Hong Kong. The streets, usually congested at all hours, were empty.

I’m from Wellington, the windiest city on earth, and if I can remain upright on two feet, let-alone open an umbrella, I’m sorry Hong Kong, but it ain’t windy.

Feeling optimistic, I walked past closed cafes, bars, and restaurants heading for the hole-in-the-wall which had sold me char siu the day before. Bless them, their light was on.

When the market reopened to following day, I added to my survival kit, just in case: beer, grapes, cheese.

Obviously it’s depleted already, but I’ll top it up tomorrow.

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