Has it been more than half a year since my last post? I guess I’ve let NY life take over, and stopped reminiscing about my old life in HK…. and yet I have just returned from my THIRD trip back since I repatriated. However, this third time was actually really required for work (unlike my quasi-“work” trips, where I honestly made up excuses to go and was just merely working from HK as if I were working from anyplace, like home or a coffee shop).
This time I went for just under 2 weeks. I was cautious not to spend too much time in HK. Every day in HK meant a day outside of NY, and after my last visit, I realized I had to commit to being home if I was going to be home.
Sadly my best mate and my beloved boss would not be in HK for the bulk of my stay. I came a few days early just to spend time with my bestie, and only got to catch up with the Boss at the tail end. I actually had a legitimate work reason to come to HK – flew business and the whole shebang (though I still chose to stay in my good friend’s guest room in Sheung Wan, as I much prefer homes to hotels).
Hong Kong did its best to seduce me. Though the visit started with daily rain, those rains did its thing and cleared up the pollution and lowered the humidity, yielding incredibly blue skies – which no doubt look AMAZING with the cityscape of highrises, mountains, and sea in HK.
I got to see many friends and with a long shopping list from friends and family from home, I had too much to do to feel lonely in the big city, a terrible bad habit I frequently had while I lived in HK.
All the amazing things that are unique to HK happened while I was there this time:
- A dinner that was meant to be a one-on-one catch-up, ended up being a larger gathering among rich and wealthy, at one of HK’s premier classic Chinese restaurants, where a 1996 Dom Perignon was cracked open.
- I begrudgingly attended a birthday junk (boat party) where I only knew one person, but quickly got reacquainted with someone I had met early days years ago and met some amazing new fun friends.
- Am treated to another catch-up lunch at the city’s hottest new Chinese restaurant since my dining partner’s husband was a shareholder.
- And just before flying back to NY, am given a luxury gift so extravagant, I have no idea what to say.
Such is Hong Kong. You have amazing food, rub elbows with the rich and quasi-famous easily, and am surrounded by luxury – all the while sharing the same streets with hunched over elderly men and women, pushing carts of cardboard to recycle for a small fee, domestic workers who will never be treated anything better than third class, and loads of HK inhabitants just getting by on HK’s recently instated minimum wage of HK$30 (less than US$4).
Everywhere I went I was asked if I was coming back. I would never say never now. But no – for now, I am happy re-establishing myself in my hometown of New York, where a day without blue skies is the anomaly, and unbreathable humidity is also a rare feature. While we also have very rich and poor, NYC is still big enough such that we all can remain a bit anonymous. I don’t see Lambos and Porsches on a regular basis, and at least there are talks of raising the minimum wage to double digit dollars.