My basic thoughts on Hong Kong and Macau…

Last night we departed the Island of Macau – which is just a short ferry ride from the mainland of Hong Kong.
Having just spent 7 days in the massively overpopulated city of Hong Kong, followed by a further 2 days on the slightly lesser so, but still crowded island of Macau.. I won’t pretend like I’m going to miss either place all too much.
And this isn’t to say that both destinations have been complete and utter failures for me.. they did have some good bits.. But largely.. Hong Kong in particular… Was simply not my cup of tea.

How do I describe…. my feelings of Hong Kong… in a way which is honest… but also.. in a way that won’t cause the Chinese government to target me with military action…
I think I’ll just take the risk!

Hong Kong. Was dirty – It was so dirty.. that if a strong wind blew.. you could feel the dirt from the street being picked up and whipped against your legs.. It was so dirty.. that sometimes when walking down the street a fat drop of water might fall on you.. and it wouldn’t be rain.. it would just be.. something…and all you’d be able to do.. is look up… at the over-stuffed apartments that tower above your head at every turn and wonder… whether you just got spat on, whether a sweaty air conditioning unit just dripped on you, whether some one is ringing out and hanging up their wet laundry up their somewhere… or whether.. something else has just splattered onto your cheek… It was so dirty that people will just spit on the pavement when they get the urge.. because, hey! Why the bloody hell not?!.
It was so dirty… that the flowers in the planter boxes on the sides of the street had to be made of plastic to survive…
And I guess this excess of dirt and the general filthiness of the city… is a direct result of the fact that it’s overcrowded with people; People who are both thoughtless toward the environment.. and also, pushy and blind towards one another..

Additionally…The area we were staying in was full of Indians trying to hawk off fake Gucci and Prada handbags and Rolex watches.. which was just generally annoying and inconvenient when ever we were trying to walk down the street…
And eating out in the city, despite a significant lack of atmosphere, lack of quality and lack of any where to sit.. was pretty pricey.. (Which was particularly frustrating from a hospitality service persons point of view.. because I expect to get good food AND good service in an environment which has been thoughtfully designed if I’m paying any kind of decent price. Restaurants are not just any hole that someone slaps a grill into and puts an open sign on! There’s more to it than that. And people who pay for food at such scummy kinds of places.. deserve the food poisoning that they will eventually get.)..
Also, in general…. there was not a lot to actually do in Hong Kong…
AND the weather was both hot AND wet.. an unfortunate combination…

But what really got me… What it feels is being desperately forgotten in this city of millions.. is the standard of living…
Of all the things that I disliked about this city… seeing the thousands of tiny apartment windows (representing thousands of tiny apartments) all stacked atop one another and dumped in ugly piles (called apartment buildings), which very nearly leaned against one another such was the closeness of their proximity.. with their chipping paint, sweating air conditioning units, and rusting balconies.. that was what killed me the most.
..They were everywhere.. And everything about them just seemed so depressing.

And of course there is the chance, that this city, and it’s crammed apartments are like many others – and are full of business men and woman too occupied with the “daily grind” to even care where or what they are living in….
But I just don’t buy that with Hong Kong.
And I definitely don’t buy it with the building we were staying in, because I didn’t see a single man in a suit enter the place for the whole 10 days we stayed there..
But regardless! Regardless of “social class”… I find it hard to believe that anyone can be really happy living in a windowless concrete box 7 days a week…

And then of course Hong Kong goes one step further… and it places that tower of prison cells right next to a shiny, clean windowed, brightly coloured jewelers, a bank or a designer fashion store.. right next to a massively proportioned, corporate something…
And all of the cities prisoners then have a neighbor whose front door they will never be welcomed through (and the security guards who mark every entrance are evidence of this).

… No where else in the world have I seen the line of difference which divides those who are struggling to meet their daily needs, and those who are profiting wrecklessly from capitalist corporate structure quite so clearly defined.

But at the same time.. I do have to concede a positive point… I guess that all this crowded living does also mean that people, of all positions, do have to in some way, accept the existence of one another at some point during a standard day.. perhaps?
Because the bankers in their perfectly tailored suits and the marketers in their newly purchased heals have to at least push around the forgotten elderly, step over the hungry and begging and dodge that falling drop of ambiguous solution like every one else in the crowd.
And even then!… Maybe an individual will only be subconsciously aware of the potential existence of other life out side of their own… But at least this crowded city forces a start.. And I guess I have to appreciate it for that.

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