Hong Kong


Like a living, breathing "Blade Runner".

Flew upstairs on Cathay Pacific. All day in the light. They have you pull down the shades to simulate nighttime, so you think you’ve gained a day, but it’s all a scam. Freaked me out at first, we weren’t flying over any water. When snow started appearing, I thought the pilot was on drugs. But, turns out, because of the curvature of the Earth, to fly to Hong Kong you go north, over Lake Tahoe, over Bend, Oregon on to Vancouver and just south of Alaska. Eventually you hit the International Date Line and fly south towards Japan. After just about grazing Siberia.

The humidity hits you as soon as you get off the plane. The limos are all brand new Mercedes-Benzes. Shit, I didn’t see one car fewer than five years old on the half hour drive from the airport to here. Just about all of them were brand new. We keep on hearing how America is the greatest country in the world, but could that just be because nobody has ever been anywhere?

The towers are positively jaw-dropping. Just outside the airport there were dozens of them, twinkling in the moist air. We drove over the world’s longest suspension bridge and on one side was Kowloon, the other Hong Kong. The rain was pouring down as if Harrison Ford had jetted back to 1982 and was scavenging for sushi. And when we hit the big island, it was like being in a living pinball machine. Like going to New York City for the first time, but experiencing a hipper, newer, bigger version.

The skyscrapers were festooned with world-dominating brands, shipped out of the world’s second largest port, only behind Singapore. Fluorescent lights were blinking, I felt like I was five, amazed that someplace so exotic could even exist.

The signs are all in English. Our driver was fluent, he learned from watching American TV. And now we’re ensconced on the 26th floor of the Hyatt, with the vast bay at our feet.

I feel both strange and curiously alive. Fourteen hours in a jet plane and it’s like I’m in a completely different universe. And so often when you travel, your destination has a certain hostility, a certain discomfort, you feel off-kilter, you feel you need to be on guard. Whereas Hong Kong seems inviting, I’ve got the desire to eat it all up. It’s like a giant Blu-Ray version of the world, crystal clear and twinkling in the mist. It’s like a cleaned up version of GTA IV, and I can’t wait to get out my controller and play the game.

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