Sitting, watching the never-ending ship lights on the horizon. They look like Christmas lights, I think to myself. A steady breeze blows against my tent and keeps the mosquitos down — mostly. Every few minutes the lighthouse above me flashes. A few hours earlier the sun light up the sky in a brilliant display of colors. I’m alone here, savoring the peace and quiet as I watch the endless flow of container ships. They are headed to the port of Hong Kong one of the busiest harbors in the world. The nearby neighborhoods of Kowloon & Mong Kok, one of the most densely populated places on the planet, just 12 miles from where I sit. Yet here I am on an island, looking out over the South China Sea, alone.
An overcast day as the plane descends into Hong Kong. Forested islands, I expected more city.
My first trip was in May this year and lasted about two weeks. I fit in a lot of exploration around Hong Kong: Two days of canyoneering, temples, a hike to Suicide Rock towering over the city (probably the best city view I’ve seen),
a drink in Ozone, touted as the highest bar in the world and witnessed a bizarre “ladies night” at a bar/lounge where we were greeted by “See anything you like?” from a mostly naked black man with a gold snake choker as his pushed his body up to my small Asian friend Kathy. Incidentally, I was expecting a tea house.
It was definitely an interesting trip, and while I fit in a lot it wasn’t quite long enough and I missed out on the islands, setting up my tent somewhere far removed from the crowds of Kowloon.
Return to Hong Kong
So when my Visa for China needed to be renewed I decided to return to Hong Kong and stay for a week or two, that was about 5 weeks ago.
In the last 5 weeks, I’ve explored the islands and beaches, camped alone under the stars, nothing but the sounds of the waves lulling me to sleep. Countless hikes, explored more temples and learned much more about this city and its history, including the bizarrely unique dragon holes (Read more about it here)
Over the past ten days I’ve slowed down (for at least a few days at a time) and started writing about Hong Kong and now I’ve realized what a monumental task it is, but I have to start somewhere:
What I thought was just a busy city has revealed itself to me as so much more than that. On one side it’s a crowded condensed city, but if you’eve got some time and a little patience to look further you will see a unique blend of East and West. You will find unique temples, culture and some beautiful and tranquil places, so close yet so far removed from the chaos of the city. Hong Kong as I see it is a case in which the usually harsh hand of colonialism has created a sanctuary of culture and protection of the great outdoors, a place I have fallen in love with
Leaving Hong Kong I plan on returning to mainland China and then onto Vietnam where I will buy a motorcycle and ride through the country over a few months stopping at beaches, exploring caves and hopefully learning a lot about the local cultures.