hong kong — kowloon.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013
i got lost 25km into a walk along the li river last year, it was almost like i wanted to die. i went without water, 20rmb, and dressed in wool despite it being hot enough.
a distant engine, it's approaching.
i turn to see a white van driving towards me. no one else is around, if they were i would have asked for directions. my heart starts racing and i put my adventure game face on.
why is there a white van driving NOT on the road, are they:
a. here to kidnap me.
b. here to dispose a dead body.
c. here to dispose a dead body but then see me see them and subsequently have to murder me too.
the white van stops 50 metres away and a man steps out. i am standing in the open with nowhere to hide, but the man doesn't look ahead. he goes straight to the boot of the car, and takes out a shovel.
flash to my face: i am so dead.
the man is yelling for someone else to get out of the car.
flash to my face: mum, dad, sorry for not having brought you the sword of shan yu nor the crest of the emperor nor become a doctor.
the other person gets out of the car, he is a child! — carrying a huge green bucket.
flash to my face: they're here to... make giant sandcastles?
the man yells to the child, 'hurry up! we don't have much time!'
flash to my face: i am so dead.
the child runs to the river, slides the bucket in water and drags the pail back. the man brings out a bag from the boot. (the sun is blistering and he wipes his forehead: very human moment noted.) he walks and inspects an area of sand, as he is about to puncture the earth, the little boy points. i turn around to see what he is pointing to before i realise: me.
we all enter a staring contest for about five seconds before the man starts digging.
the boy walks to play by the water. i don't know what's going on. i walk over.
'are you a local?' i ask.
the man nods, 'where are you from?'
'somewhere far away,' i reply.
there's a long silence as i contemplate what would be the most appropriate thing to say, 'are you going to bury someone?'
the man laughs, 'then i'd have to kill you too.'
'not if the person died of natural causes and you are just respecting the dead,' i pretty much just threw him his lifeline.
i don't remember his response, because as he is filling up his bag with the sand beneath us i realise: oh, he is stealing sand.
i walk away without saying anything else. i follow his tire tracks on the sand, then the soil, then over some crushed branches, and within 10 minutes reach the road. i laugh at myself. why do i always think people would want to kidnap me? i'd be the worst victim to kidnap. nothing to extort, no one to comply. you might be able to sell me off as a wife but i'd probably just run away because i know i can.
wait, what was that huge bucket of water for? (this is going to be one of those things that bother me for the rest of my life...)
Sunday, May 26, 2013
me: can i please have a plastic bag?
me: *french accent* plastique?
french-speaker: oh! plastic!
me: you're so adorable!
me: *french accent* adorable?
french-kid: oh! thank you very much.
friend: hot chocolate please.
friend: hot chocolate.
friend: *japanese accent* hotto-chocoreto?
waiter-san: oh! hot chocolate!
friend: something with hazelnut.
friend: how do you say hazelnut in japanese?
me: *japanese accent* hazeru-natsu.
bartender-san: oh! hazelnut!
and remember that time the person told me there was no cheese in my hamburger and the yellow square was 'jisu'?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
i figured out the other day why i'm immediately drawn to people who speak multiple languages. their world — who they can communicate with, who they can share secrets with, who they can experience life together with — is much bigger, much grander.
imagine all the stories you can hear first hand if you spoke another language. you speak arabic? that's an extra 300 million people who can now hear you out. you speak mandarin? literally, another billion people can now understand you. (!!)
just the thought makes my heart soar.
can you please tell me what you speak?
Friday, May 17, 2013
last weekend i walked past a dude walking his tortoise in sheung wan, (not shek o, not sai kung, not life aquatic) — and it reminded me of my neighbours last year:
yeah... nothing says these will be used as ingredients for guilingao like three tortoises stacked in the corner of your neighbour's rooftop (which you accidentally entered, once, to make this, and another time, to not spill taro ice cream and honey everywhere).
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
i'm standing in the middle of central, in the pouring rain. i don't like umbrellas — i have never enjoyed carrying them, and to be honest, i (82% of the time) love the rain. there is something about hong kong though, perhaps the millions of people tightly condensed between slabs of concrete at the foot of a very polluted china — that makes the rain 18% not so loved.
this time i am drenched. my shirt is probably see through. my hair is hugging my skin like vines down my neck. i send myself into a trance as i stare past the traffic. slowly i feel the pitter-patter weight lifting off my shoulders. for the briefest moment i think: the rain has stopped.
i turn to my right. there is a gentlemen (i'm not sure if he actually is, maybe i should just call him a man). there is a man in a navy pinstripe suit. he looks kind and is trying to appear as less creepy as possible manoeuvring his umbrella over me. i say 'thank you'. then quickly smile in case my words drowned before they reached him. he looks straight ahead (that is kind of creepy). then just as the pedestrian lights turn green he tries handing me the umbrella. 'it's okay' i reply, and resume my pace.
the pitter-patter back on my shoulders, but they feel different now.