I just packed my bags for the sixth time this trip. I wish I could say I was getting better at it. Tomorrow I move from Quarry Bay to Sheung Wan, my last stop in Hong Kong.
Each time I move, I ask: have I made the most of being in this area? Ticked off all the activities on my list that are relevant to this location? Checked out the recommended cafes and restaurants?
I may not be getting better at packing but I’m getting better at moving around the city.
Until people learn to walk in a straight line, Hong Kong will never truly be the New York of Asia.
In Causeway Bay during rush hour it would take me double, no triple, the amount of time to walk from the MTR to my apartment. The crowds aren’t overwhelming, just slow.
I find myself drawing from track cycling training while navigating the streets. As soon as a gap appears in the human wall I squeeze through, careful not to clip anyone. If I notice a fast walker going in my direction, I’ll slip behind him and follow his footsteps.
I had to shake my head today as I passed a man with one hand holding his phone and the other on the shoulder of his young son, who was also staring at his phone.
Depending on the area, it can feel like being in a different city. A different country, even.
It’s a 10-minute walk from my place in Quarry Bay to work in North Point. I pass: butchers chopping carcasses just off the sidewalk, overflowing fruit stalls, wet markets, rows of florists just down from the funeral home, lines of locals outside char siu restaurants, holes in walls selling egg waffles, and the odd coffee shop.
Head to Central and you could be in any international city – Eastern or Western.
Fortunately, it’s easy to escape the hustle and bustle. It’s a five-minute walk from my apartment to a track up Mount Parker. Five minutes in the other direction and I’m at the water.
Forget New York, this is the Wellington of Asia.