Hong Kong Twos

The snows in Geoje cleared as quickly as they appeared and all is well.

Now I am sitting at a terrace-edge table in Red Bar Soho, Hong Kong listening to the early evening bustle outside and trying to type a few notes before the laptop’s battery runs out.  Not long after I sat down, tables were cleared, floors were mopped and now St. George’s Cross flags are being pinned up: it’s Hong Kong Rugby Sevens next weekend and I believe the English team will be here for a meet and greet later tonight.  Heathen that I am, I’m just here for the free WiFi.

Why Hong Kong?  Why Not?  Leyla and I want to see as much as we can of this part of the world while we are based in Korea and Hong Kong seemed like a good choice of venue for celebrating a wedding anniversary so here we are; and what a great trip it has been.

This is a very aromatic place.  Things did not get off to the best start when we landed late on Friday night: the tunnel from the aircraft to the terminal had that rather off, damp smell that I can only guess came from a damp carpet in a humid atmosphere.  Stepping onto the city streets after half an hour on the Airport Express was the start of a far better olfactory expedition.  Initially, it seemed like the whole city smelled like a London Chinese take-away but after a few minutes of walking, the varieties of different cooking became apparent and it has got better and better with further acquaintance.

There is plenty for the eyes as well.  As per countless postcards, we have taken a ferry to Kowloon and looked back towards the Hong Kong skyline after dark to enjoy the “Symphony of Light” show: a mildly under-whelming spectacle that seeks to embellish the imposing built environment every evening at eight o’clock.  Better to walk around the city with eyes alert to the contrasts between the neck-cricking blatancy of the soaring skyscrapers and the myriad colours and details of life that thrives between them at street level.

The battery waits for no man.  More will follow.

Time to get skates on…(?)

Our passports with renewed visas were returned just in the nick of time as we had to fly thirty-six hours later.  Curiously, the people at the immigration office decided that our marriage certificate was acceptable without the aid of a piece of paper from the British embassy.  Naturally their change of heart coincided with the embassy completing their part of the business so I was unable to cancel the production of that particular, somewhat expensive memento.

Meanwhile, this year’s weird weather continues.  In addition to reported blizzards in the Mediterranean, our little island off the south of Korea was heavily snowed on last night and this morning.  In a place which seldom sees a single flake of snow even in the deepest depths of winter, this has come as quite a surprise.

The roads and the drivers were completely unprepared and I am told that routes over the hills have been blocked by stuck cars.  Only one of our bus drivers has managed to work today which seems to corroborate the story.  I have just had lunch in a half-empty canteen when usually it is full plus queues.

In the little (Samsung-owned) apartment block estate where we live next to the yard, a small army of people with snow shovels were out in force clearing roads and pavements as I left for the office this morning.  Something tells me the rest of the island will not receive such prompt attention though.  Fingers crossed for a thaw by morning.