We recently moved to a spanking new apartment in a very futuristic looking area of Hong Kong called Tung Chung, right next to Hong Kong International Airport.
Because all the buildings are very new (practically the whole town is new), they are extremely tall.
We are on the 51st floor, and that isn’t even the highest. Some friends of ours who live close by in another block are on the 58th floor. When you take the elevator your ears pop. But, at least those elevators are fast. Got to be when you’ve got thousands of people on dozens of floors, I suppose.
The strange thing (or perhaps not strange at all in Chinese culture) is that the elevator does not include any floors that end with the number ‘4’. Which mean it jumps 13-15, then 23-25, then 33-35, and so forth. I guess it is okay to start the floor number with four, meaning there are of course floors 41-49, but there is no floor 44. That’s because the number ‘4’ also is pronounced the same as the word for ‘death’. This design must be good feng shui or something.
Anyway usually the view from the 51st floor is fantastic, with clear horizons, a sight of the Tsing Ma bridge which connects Lantau with Kowloon, and lovely mountains in the distance.
Unfortunately, on days of bad pollution, which we have been having a lot of these days, absolutely everything disappears into a grey cloud of smog and other nasty things I’d rather not be breathing.
That is probably the saddest part of life in Hong Kong — days when the air is just terrible. If it wasn’t so bad, I’m sure a lot of expats who come here to work would stay longer, because when the air is clear, it is truly a beautiful place.
Nonetheless, there are a lot of benefits to living in Tung Chung. Because you are further away from the city the rent is much cheaper while apartments are much bigger. In fact our place is monstrous by Hong Kong standards, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Throw in a sea view from every room and you can see why more and more people choose to live ‘all the way’ out here.
I’ve always liked living on Lantau island. I like having mountains in my backyard and the ocean in my front yard. I like being close to all the tiny nearby islands and hopping on a shitty little ferry to pop around the bay to go for seafood. And most of all, I like leaving the madness of downtown behind, and going home into the ‘countryside’.
Anyways, I’m very glad to be in the new place, even if my ears do pop as the elevator goes up!