Thursday, November 17, 2011

A "glad to be here" (touch wood!) post

Victoria Harbour sunset scene

Sunset is one of those times when the
light on the water fascinates me as much
as the Hong Kong island urbanscape

In the past month or so, I've had two friends visit Hong Kong. One of them used to live and work here but shortly after getting her Hong Kong permanent residency, she was recalled to Germany by her company. The second is someone I knew from my time in the U.S.A. who was visiting Hong Kong for the first time in his life. These two individuals possess, to say the least, pretty different cultural backgrounds, interests and personalities. But both of them have made me feel -- realize? -- how very lucky I am to be living here in Asia's World City.

To be sure, I know full well after having lived here for more than four and a half years now that Hong Kong is not perfect. (Among other things, I dislike how wide the rich-poor gap in this society is and that there are too many days when the air quality is not as good as I'd like for it to be.)

At the same time though, I really also do take great delight in residing in what most definitely is one of the world's greatest cities (and for those who have not yet seen the Hong Kong episode of the greatest cities TV series hosted by Griff Rhys Jones, I'd highly recommend that they check out the sections available to be viewed starting from here) -- and a place that makes me feel so very (glad to be) alive, and often energizes as well as compels me to go out and about and make the most of my being here.

As those of you who know me well -- and/or regularly check out this blog -- know, I am liable to have this sense of being very happy to be here come over me when I'm out hiking in Hong Kong's often surprisingly beautiful countryside. And the Hong Kong film fan(atic) part of me also still often gets a thrill that comes from feeling as though I'm living as well as moving about in a giant movie set.

But it might surprise many people to find out that I actually get this "I'm glad I'm living here in Hong Kong" feeling most regularly when I'm on board the Star Ferry -- and particularly when I'm taking one home after having taken in a show or concert at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (or, less frequently, the nearby Hong Kong Space Museum whose lecture hall is the venue during such as the Hong Kong International Film Festival for film screenings).

Upon reflection though, I think it will make sense -- as I usually take the Star Ferry when I've got time to spare (since when I'm in a hurry, I'd opt instead for the faster MTR trains) and thus am at ease. Also, chances are high that the performing arts or film program I've taken in earlier that day is one that I would be satisfied by. In addition, the ferry ride itself tends to be plenty pleasant -- with refreshing breezes blowing onto the non-air-conditioned sections of the upper deck where I almost always plonk myself and views that I don't think that I ever will truly tire of drinking in (even though to affect a more blase attitude would mark one off more as a genuine Hong Konger!).

And yes, although I must have taken the Star Ferry more than a hundred times now, I still often find myself reaching for my camera when on board it and snapping a few shots of Victoria Harbour and the land and sky that make up the views that are often breathtaking in real life and not so bad when captured by the camera too (as I trust you will agree upon checking out the photos at the top of this blog entry)! ;b


A hero never dies said...


It's really refreshing to know you still feel lucky to be there, I know nowhere is perfect but HK is the best place I've ever been. I'm with you on the Star Ferry and the views from it, I don't think I would ever tire of them. Lovely post!

baroness radon said...

You're talking my language. Unfortunately the air quality is responsible for those sensational sunsets. And I NEVER tired of the Star Ferry, lower deck. I love Hawaii, but I miss HK. (No ferries here!)

YTSL said...

Hi "A hero never dies" --

Thanks for appreciating the post and taking it in the right spirit. And I'm glad to learn that you consider Hong Kong the best place you've ever been to. :)

Hi baroness radon --

Hmmm re your lower deck preference: I find the smell of ferry fuel too strong there. Also, I usually take the Tsim Sha Tsui-Wan Chai (rather than Tsim Sha Tsui-Central) ferry and the loewr decks aren't in use on it. :)

baroness radon said...

I know it's weird, but I grew up with a sailor, and I kinda like the fuel smells and being close to the water and the engines and the crew. I was disappointed when the Central ferry pier was "renovated." I miss the old one,and it's gone.

YTSL said...

Hi again baroness radon --

Good for you that the fuel smells don't make you gag but alas, that is not the case for me! And yeah, I miss the old Central ferry pier too -- though, I have to admit, its location more than the actual building itself. It was in a much more convenient location -- closer to City Hall and such then...

HKP said...

Always a tough decision, and there's the HK 50 cent fare difference to factor in as well. The lower deck gets exciting when those mooring ropes start creaking like they're about to snap. Anyhow, 2 thumbs up for your Star Ferry post.

YTSL said...

Hi HKP --

So sometimes you go to the upper deck, and other times the lower deck? In any case, thanks for your approval of this post. :)