From every angle, at any time of day, Hong Kong can blow you away. You can be crossing the street in Causeway Bay with what I think are literally thousands by your side, and the sheer chaos of it all—not to mention the highest pollution ratings in Southeast Asia—suffocates you. But it’s almost a good suffocation, because when you end up on the other side of the road you’re smitten with the intimacy. So you take a minute—and a breath—and then you say, damn, where else in the world can I do that?
Or you can be out clubbing, on a Tuesday night, the day before New Year’s eve. It means you’re dishing out the bills every other night for drinks and cabs, but it’s almost a good waste of money, because although you’re putting the hurt on your immune system you’re also making new friends, seeing old ones, and just chilling with everyone in between. On a Tuesday night. The day before New Year’s eve. Despite your empty wallet (save the cab money, of course), when all’s said and done you walk down Lan Kwai and say to yourself, damn, where else in the world can I do that?
On the way home, the cab driver asks you ever so innocently whether you’d like to take the tunnel or drive unnecessarily over the Peak. You actually choose the Peak, so that this cab ride won’t be like all the others. And damn straight it isn’t like all the others, because as you ride up and down the hills of the island you catch the stunning glimpses of a megalopolis asleep. Its lights reflect in the utter stillness of the harbor, by day a shipping industry mainstay but at night a somber, rippling mirror for the canvas on which the city’s painters have dreamt up true miracles of architecture. By the time you get home—especially if you live out on some island off of Aberdeen—the meter has hit $120. But it’s $120 well spent, because as you step out of the cab you say to yourself, damn, where else in the world can I do that?
And then you get home, write self-consciously about it all in your diary, and try to squeeze as much literary worth out of you before you call it a night. You feel like it’s all a bit much, a little over the top and far too dramatic for your subtle tastes, but you click “submit” anyway, because god knows that you’re just going to do it all over again tomorrow.
Where else in the world can I do that?