I take so many photos because my mind gets cluttered with trips and destinations and reading other travelers’ blogs that oftentimes I forget the majority of small details about each journey: the people I meet, the funny signs I see, the cafes and restaurants I visit, the cuisine I eat.
Hong Kong is a prime example. My friend Adventure Girl and I decided to hop over there for a very quick two days following our jaunt to Macau this time last year—we were so close, after all, that we didn’t want to be a mere 45 minutes away and see the city so many travelers before us had raved about so.
Due to a technical malfunction—these seem to happen to me more often than not—my camera went black midway through the second day with no rhyme or reason, and all my photos appeared to just vanish off the memory card. I kind of forgot about it as I was coming off nearly three weeks of back-to-back trips to Israel then Macau then Hong Kong then Sacramento for Thanksgiving then Wine Country for a story. And then sometime in the not-too-distant future, SVV used his electronic prowess to recover some—but hardly all—of the files.
I forgot about them. Until last night. Yes, it’s been a full year since I returned from Hong Kong, and I’m only just now scrolling through the batch of pictures he managed to save.
I believe this is what they call being an armchair traveler: I feel as if I’m going somewhere new, as if these experiences never happened to me but to somebody else.
I was interviewing a flight attendant for a story for Budget Travel earlier this week, and she was telling me how Hong Kong was one of her all-time favorite landings. ““I have flown into Hong Kong International Airport on several occasions and fortunately a couple of times were clear, smog-free days,” she said. “On approach, the plane feels like it’s in slow motion over the South China Sea. Looming up ahead is the high-rise jungle of Hong Kong Island. The skyscrapers are incredibly high, very close together and way too many to count. Even during the day, the colorful neon lights are on, which has an eerie effect when the city is cloaked in smog.” I arrived by ferry so I don’t know what it looks like from above, but my God, I can only imagine as it sure is stunning from the ground.
And it’s one of those places that takes on an entirely new personality at night (unlike San Francisco, which goes to bed come 8pm).
I’d never had any desire to visit Hong Kong. In fact, all of China in its vastness and crowded cities held absolutely no appeal to me. But in a place as vibrant as this, the energy is simply contagious.
I’ll go into more detail about where to go and what to do another day—and hopefully will be able to enjoy more of this enchanting city in depth at a later date, because Hong Kong, I’d sure like to get to know you a whole lot better.