To get back to what I was going to talk about — myself, hahaha! (Haha.)
First awesome adventure to gush about is this — a walk round my neighbourhood! ‘Twas a hot day. Bought a big blue brolly, headed towards the sea. Treading hot pavement, I passed by a YWCA, a pet dog corner, a rubbish disposal area (certainly smelt like one), a fishbowl gym, a dam, a sheltering row of trees — only to find all access to salty waters blocked by pesky rocks, vegetation and artificial barriers. Frustration!
But it felt good anyway, the sun, the wind, the whiff of sea air here and there (sometimes mixed with sewage), and the passing by of random strangers doing their sometimes noisy, sometimes strangely silent thang. And I did catch sight of a sea, a real sea! The kind where you can’t see land beyond — though it could have been haze, huh?
Not having my Octopus pass with me, and with the fair weather holding up, I waltzed to the next smallish town. You gain a truer sense of a place on foot than on wheels, it must be said. Bonus point — cos HK doesn’t have a centralised repository of bus services info, tramping about is a good way of finding out all the available transport options in an area. To be fair, you can probably find comprehensive info on the net, but my eyes still tend to glaze over when faced with too many Chinese characters, heheheh.
Next, a cultural excursion that brought home what I was missing by staying in all night and day on weekends. To the HK Museum of Art I went, thanks to a most generous-hearted colleague, and experienced Chinglish. Was disconcerted to realise that the Chinese text panels were way more erudite and enriching than the English ones (which were ridden with paucity of intent and not-quite-accuracy), but was quite taken with some of the ideas on display.
The emphasis on interaction between the exhibits and the visitors was charmingly engaging too. I think it was my first memorable encounter with interactive digital media. As usual, only in attempting to explain to my colleague my view on what the exhibits were about did I bother to form a view about what was going on or even consciously mash together an apprehension of meaning.
Favourite piece from the exhibition was this one called “Mantilla” by Rosanna Li Wei-han. Her exhibit was a play (in more than one sense!) on English words formed around “man” and Chinese words formed around the radical for “woman”. Somewhat obvious but highly entertaining!
There were also an ancient Chinese ceramics exhibit that reminded me of the National Palace Museum in Taipei (it’s actually the experience of crawling past miles of old ceramics that I’m recalling), a bunch of other precious-things-related exhibits I had to miss, and a collection of HK-related paintings of historical value but dubious aesthetic quality. Some people risked their lives to preserve them through WWII, though, so I don’t feel like grumbling too much about them. Let’s just say that certain works of art can never be construed as acts of mechanical reproduction!
Last but not least, an outdoor adventure that made my eyes shine with joy and gratitude — cycling somewhere in the New Territories! Butt hurt heaps the next day, but wooh, I didn’t suspect HK to hide such treasures beyond the KCR line! The pace of life in the beyond slowed to a drawl, and I felt I was on holiday in a well-developed countryside. Almost Taiwan, I thought, though I’d never been near a village there. (Memories from TV, prolly.)
The huge expanses of water, heaving-bosom mountains, wrong-way-round trishaws, hat-whisking-wind, even the crazy sunbeams , were all great, even though I was only riding up and down the length of a dam. (Apparently, a bit of that Andy Lau-Sammi Cheng movie about thieving was filmed at the long bit of Plover Cove reservoir I was cycling on — but yeah, whatever!) Only pity was the evident air pollution. No point running for the hills when the air itself can kill yer.
Signing off with a weird occurrence — at an antique shop in the area, I had a good strong dose of the same smell that my late maternal grandpa’s wooden house in Perak had. Must have been all that old wood in the shop. It’s hard to get my head round the idea that I might never get a sniff of the same again (the wooden house is no longer in use I think) — when I didn’t even know it was in my olfactory memory, that is, that it was missing in my life.