With some time to finally spare and some university friends in town, I have an excuse to force myself out of the house and go on another adventure.
To be honest, I’m quite fearful of having to bring my friends around town, because there is nothing to do in this city (or so it seems). If you’re not into food or nightlife, and you’ve already seen one or two temples and markets, you’re basically done after The Peak and Victoria Harbour. Some of my coworkers have been to North America and Europe for vacationing, and they say that these Western places are ‘boring’. There aren’t enough convenient stores around, or karaoke places, or bars, or whatever it is. Nothing is within walking distance, and the city shuts down too early. But in my opinion, none of these places matter if you have nobody to share it with. I would not go to a restaurant or sing karaoke alone. Besides, it’s not like we don’t have these kinds of things at all; you just need to know where to look. So in the end, it’s just a choice of culture and lifestyle, and I prefer the one with less people and crowds.
Anyway, I asked my friend what he wants to see, and he doesn’t know. I asked if he wants to eat, and he gives me a mediocre “sure”. Hong Kong can be an interesting city – as can any city! – but not because of certain ‘things’ it possesses. If you really want to know Hong Kong, you have to wander and absorb it for yourself to understand how this city works… but he wants me to bring him around. I’m okay with that, but in the end, you’re really just ‘seeing’ things rather than ‘understanding’. Since you just want to ‘see’ things, I’ll take you to a place with things that you can’t see in Canada: Cheung Chau.
My previous and only visit to Cheung Chau was over two years ago. Since I’m writing about this place once again, I dug up my old post to revisit some memories. Immediately, I see some differences in the point of view of a 22-year-old me and a 24-year-old me. I can’t really say it’s ‘growth’… it’s really just a change in perspective. Both times, I went on a Saturday; a day where I did not have to worry about work even the next day. Both times, I had nice weather and it was a generally enjoyable day. But this time, I couldn’t give myself the same carefree, happy-go-lucky attitude I usually carry around. I hope it is because this time, I had the added stress of having to lead instead of being led… and not because of age and the worries that come with age. I had to constantly think about whether my guests were content and interested, and where to go next if we were done here early. I couldn’t stay too long in one area in case they got bored. I couldn’t do what I usually do best: wander aimlessly.
Cheung Chau is not too different from how I remember it. The island is still super busy on Saturdays, from local tourists that go on a mini food adventure there. The things that were well-known (like their jumbo fish balls) are still well-known. The fishing boats surrounding the island are still there, which gives me a nice real-life backdrop to complement the story of old Hong Kong – the Hong Kong that still had fishing as its one and only industry.
One new place that I did notice, however, is this private shed with a fence that became a wall for ‘locks of love’. Right across the street from this fence is a DIY store that sells locks, plates, and other things that you can buy to decorate, and then hang on the shed.
As I walked past this store, I couldn’t help but think about how this must be such a profitable business, especially since the shed looked like an old, worn-down privately owned area that would otherwise be just a useless piece of land. All it takes is a creative mind, and using the borrowed fame of other similar places around the world, you have yourself a business.
We didn’t go on a hike this time, so our adventure on this island was over in less than 3 hours. But since I was sick (and still am – I’ve been sick for almost a month now!), that was okay with me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t mind seeing more things I’ve never seen before.
Since it’s November, we are officially allowed to talk about Christmas, right? Hopefully I’ll get myself out hunting for Christmas yet again, and I’ll be around a bit more to record it in the books.