I have an old friend, Rosann Santoro, who has lived in Hong Kong for decades and it's been that long since I've seen her. As Korea is so close, I decided to visit for the weekend -- how cool is that? Looking at what's going on in my hotel, I was reminded that one thing people come to Hong Kong for is shopping. They come back from their forays with shopping bags from all sorts of luxury stores. And I'm told that there are underground stores that sell the fake versions of everything and even the fakes of the fakes. Mind-boggling.
As I don't shop enough to know what's what, I have stayed strictly on the sidelines: looking for small presents, a camera case and a fountain pen. Now, I don't need a fountain pen -- it's just that a stationery store had a great display of pens and the announcement that it was their annual sale -- and this was interesting because a fountain pen represents a lifestyle of ease and pleasure, which dances in my head when I see one. I do have a very pleasurable lifestyle, but not so much ease, and rarely use the fountain pens I have -- you see my problem.
Hong Kong is a "love at first sight" kind of place if you like crowded cities, which I do. It throngs with people, the buildings are jammed together, the majestic, historic banyan trees shelter the nearby avenue -- it's quite spectacular. And I haven't even really seen the harbor yet, except from the air.
In the meantime, Rosann has been taking me to dinner at the Kowloon Cricket Club, a sea of green fields that completes the urbanity. The club is and has always been multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, so you can get food from around the world. I've been focused on the Cantonese dishes, the like of which I've never tasted before. I say to myself, "Oh this is what they mean by the difference between Chinese fast food in my neighborhood and the real thing!"
Today it is raining, so we may go to the nearby museum of the history of the city -- always a top choice for me! And then we'll chat about our families, our lives since we last met, and the curious state of the world and how we might help.