• Travel

    The Moth­er­land

    2 June 2017

    While a part of me prefers the vast land­scapes, beach­es and gold­en sun­light in Aus­tralia, some­thing about Hong Kong feels like home. It’s slight­ly uncom­fort­able but it feels famil­iar.

    Metropark Hotel at 148 Tung Lo Wan Road, Cause­way Bay, Hong Kong

    Visit­ing Hong Kong has always been a strange expe­ri­ence for me. The pol­lut­ed air and hur­ried move­ment in crowd­ed streets aren’t pre­cise­ly con­ducive to any form of relax­ation, which is my main cri­te­ri­on for any vaca­tion. That being said, I’m not entire­ly repulsed by the rapid pace at which peo­ple car­ry on their dai­ly activ­i­ties (or the unbe­liev­ably quick ser­vice at restau­rants — I’ve rarely had to wait for more than 10–15 min­utes for my food to arrive). With­in the chaos is a warm famil­iar­i­ty that brings me back at ease.

    Hav­ing lived in Hong Kong for 8 years pri­or to mov­ing to Syd­ney, many of my ear­li­est child­hood mem­o­ries were based in this small, con­gest­ed con­crete jun­gle; so while a part of me prefers the vast land­scapes, beach­es and gold­en sun­light in Aus­tralia, some­thing about Hong Kong feels like home. It’s slight­ly uncom­fort­able but it feels famil­iar. Besides that, there real­ly isn’t much to do there. If you’re not shop­ping, you’re eat­ing, and if you’re not doing both of those you’re prob­a­bly being grilled by rel­a­tives you haven’t seen a while ask­ing if you have a girl­friend, what your career plans are, how much mon­ey you’ve spent whilst over­seas (to which my answer is always a polite chuck­le and zero eye con­tact), etcetera.

    Nei­ther is the scenery your inspi­ra­tional Unit­ed King­dom, Sher­lock Holmes-esque art­work with del­i­cate and pret­ty details laced on the out­side of ordi­nary shops. The build­ings are prac­ti­cal and organ­ised, but they’re not neat either. Peo­ple always seem to be rush­ing some­where, and they prob­a­bly are; but when you’re vis­it­ing as a tourist who has lived there for 8 years, but spent 13 years abroad in a place that doesn’t rush at all (bless Aus­tralia and its care­free lifestyle), it’s an entire­ly pecu­liar expe­ri­ence when you don’t have some­where to be, because you’re on hol­i­days, but you feel the need to adapt to the hur­ried mind­set every­body seems to have adopt­ed. But at the same time, does one real­ly need to adapt to the cus­toms of a place when they’ve spent most of their child­hood there? And why do I feel like such a for­eign­er every time I go back? So while it’s nice to be back every now and then, Hong Kong still remains a strange hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion for me.