day 609 | april 20, 2012 | Hong Kong

snippets from a rainy hong kong. april was such a whirlwind that i welcomed the heavy rain with some relief. it meant i had a fairly good excuse to stay within the comfortable indoors, catching up with my work laptop, plenty of travel books, a good wifi connection, good eating places nearby, and other conveniences. 

as a solo traveler looking for inspiration, the sterile hotels didn't appeal to me -- and i'm so glad i looked for other options. the pick for this trip is a dig called 'pandora after 80s'. to be honest, it was the charming name of the hostel and the images of the chill-out lounge area that clinched it for me. getting stuck in the lounge wasn't so bad with a cozy global community vibe. it was a good space to trade stories on what brought us where we are and to exchange tips and tricks on travelling to lesser known areas. most of the people i met were there on month-long journeys around the world, and it was great to be with that kind of energy. 
once the rain died down, it was effortless to find interesting company for breakfast, get invited to an international badminton match, and grab dinner with friendly folks who were so helpful in hunting down a great value and good quality eat-all-you-can, drink-all-you-can dinner place. the waiter even let me bring back a couple of cans of beer as take-away. grin.
on my final morning, i enjoyed a hilarious breakfast watching a crew of travelers getting familiarized with dim sum; and had a great companion to go hunt down the D800 whilst i helped her get a good bargain for the camera she wanted.
 managed to try mak's yummy noodles, which were fantastic in cold rainy weather
...and walk around the ferry terminal as well as the art and cultural museums. a helpful tip is to get an octopus card. it's a prepaid value smart card that gets you quickly in and out of the MTRs and buses without needing to line up and pay every single time.
loved the colors and the vibrancy of night
along the avenue of stars, they showcased some black and white photography. the piece below by gilbert garcin spoke to me most, and he calls it 'se rendre utile' ('we must be useful).
i've forgotten how busy hong kong feels. i sometimes complain that singapore feels claustrauphobic, but hong kong is even more so. beside shining new glass-silver buildings are old buildings that are so badly aged, they look like they must have burned down sometime 10 years ago and never got repaired. the contrast is stark, and the pace is frantic. it's unforgiving to the slow and indecisive, and everyone just feels like they are rushing headlong towards something...
funny how in this age of 'instant' things, it still feels like there isn't enough time to just be. most people are running the rat race. a few, like the people i've met from this trip, are taking a break from the craziness to find meaning, or just riding one wave after another. it takes a while to figure things out, and i'm just happy i'm in a good place, on balance. it was great to have some 'quiet' time to take stock and get reflective, especially with the mad pace we keep.

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