So my mother is finally coming all the way from Trinidad to Hong Kong to visit The Child — and yes, that is with a capital T and a capital C. It is a long, long trip that takes over a day each way, and causes terrible jet lag. I’m hoping she will enjoy the amazing city that Hong Kong is, shop til she drops, and eat a lot of delicious food.
But what she may not know or fully understand is that I’ve just done the equivalent of moving from Woodbrook to Cariapichaima (and if you don’t know where Cariapachaima is, well, then I’ve made my point) and have taken up residence in de bush.
One week ago these city slickers packed up our home on Queen’s Road West and moved to a sleepy village on another island where bicycles and cows rule the road. Gone is the city view of millions of highrises, concrete, and roof top laundry. Gone are the plethora of 7-11s and ATMs and supermarkets on every corner, the city conveniences now replaced with small wet markets and local stores. I’ve traded the street car for a shiny new bicycle with a basket. We walk 15 minutes to the grocery store. We dodge cow poop on the path. We swat mosquitoes. We have become… village people.
Living in the village is a special way of life in Hong Kong. It’s not convenient or easy, but what you get in return is a bigger apartment, a quiet environment, and a lovely view of nature. What I like a lot is the greenery. I almost feel like I’m back in Trinidad, where I grew up in a valley, surrounded by high mountains and lush forests everywhere you look. There are banana and pawpaw trees everywhere, butterflies and birds fly by, and in the evenings you hear the ‘bao, bao, bao‘ chorus of frogs. And yes, there are even cows — the feral cattle of Lantau!
I admit, this city-loving girl does in a way miss the buzz and ease of life downtown. For example, the other day it was pissing with rain and we had to wait a good 30 minutes or more before it let up in order to be able to walk home. And, it’s quite a pain in the arms to carry big bags of groceries home, though it is good exercise and I have no doubt I’ll lose some chub living in the village. So, you gotta take the good with the not-quite-so-good, I suppose. Because living downtown, though convenient, meant listening to the endless pounding of endless construction, the roar of buses, people ramming into you on the sidewalk, and a whole lot of crowding.
But hey, having a kid certainly changes your priorities a bit, and for now I’m just happy to have some space to push a stroller (impossible to do when living downtown; too many people on the goddam sidewalk), and also for the little one to have some space indoors to crawl around (again, impossible when you live in a 400 square foot apartment in the city).
This was the view from my living room, before and after. What do you think? Which would you prefer?