top to bottom: Somewhere in Mongkok, Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, view from the hostel terrace, scouring for books at Kubrick, Western Market, Broadway Cinematheque, milk boxes for sale at 7-11, a random building in Yau Ma Tei, a random but interesting building facade in Yau Ma Tei
How do I even begin to describe Hong Kong.
I don't find Hong Kong to be particularly pretty. I always got the sense that I was just walking around in Binondo or Sta. Cruz, albeit cleaner. The city is cramped and it shows in the architecture. Concrete high rises with tiny windows, air conditioning units jutting out and dripping on the sidewalks below. On the street level you see high end boutiques, but look up and you'll see a less glamorous building and huge neon signs that block out the sun.
There is a particular image of Hong Kong that stuck to my mind. We were on the Airport Express en route to the city and we passed by an island. On that island stood a cluster of identical skyscrapers and judging from the laundry hanging on the windows, it was intended for housing. Those bleak gray buildings lined up in neat rows with little space between each other are what a couple thousand people call home and all I can picture was 1984-esque concrete hell.
Despite that, Hong Kong has its charms. I'm used to grime and ugly architecture--living in a ghetto in one of the world's dirtiest cities does that to you. It's the feeling of claustrophobia that I dislike. The people living in Hong Kong seem to have accepted this and there's a lot more to love about Hong Kong than dislike.
Would I visit again? Yes, because what I've seen and experienced of Hong Kong is nothing but a minuscule part of it. For me, there lies the beauty in traveling: there's always something new to discover in a place even after repeated visits--especially after repeated visits.
(To be continued)