Touché, Hong Kong. An auspicious start to an inauspicious journey - 12-hour time change, 90F heat ("real feel" 106F) with intense humidity sporadic thunderstorms and scattered existential crises. Today, rough food poisoning from bad dim sum...don't eat the noodle wrapped beef-substance...shoulda known better, shoulda known better...
It is odd to come so far and have so little change. English is essentially the first language and both city centers on either side of the harbor are a jumble of covered-walkway connected, air-conditioned shopping malls hawking gaudy wares. Decadent high rises juxtaposed against a decaying sprawl of residential towers a stones throw off the beaten path. It is overwhelming and we haven't scratched the surface and I don't think we could even if we wanted to stay long enough to try.
My friend, MH, who has been living in Chengdu for the past two years (we fly out to meet him there on Sunday) says, among other things, "Hong Kong is fucking awesome (...) Go to Chung King mansions on Nathan Rd for dope Indian food and an object lesson in globalization." So it is (in its way) and so we did and the baingan bhartha was indeed dope and the lessons have been nothing if not object.
We visited a "quaint fishing village" on the south end of Hong Kong Island named for a Brit of rather high esteem to find a freshly-minted shopping mall and I started to say he must be rolling over in his grave but quickly realized he'd probably have wanted it this way.
We took a tram to "THE PEAK," which boasts insane views of the city, a few extravagant hilltop estates and a nice walking trail and, upon exiting the trolley, found another shopping mall.
I puked into the toilet this afternoon and when I got in real close, through eyes both bleary and bloodshot, I could just barely make out a man with a shovel breaking ground on a new, bigger and better, gilded and spotless, a dozen food courts and enough linen to reroute a river - truly the shopping mall to end all shopping malls - and to think, it all started with some soy sauce, spicy mustard, rice-noodle and an amalgam of beef-parts that all the king's horses and all the king's men, even with a thousand years and the blessings of their gods, could not have reconstituted into a cow. Some things are permanent and others just last a long time.
CB, my lovely companion, has just asked for some salt (she's eating bread and cucumber in bed, recovering from the dim sum) and I will bring her the pepper too because my mother taught me to always keep them together and it's the little things, goddamnit.