It’s our anniversary today. We’ve been together for 47 years but the official paperwork was done sometime later on the 30th of December of some yesteryear. So, we use that date for observation purposes.
After the knot was tied at our now-legendary masquerade wedding, we left for our ‘honeymoon’ in China with a couple of weeks in Hong Kong and stops in Japan and Hawaii. It was an adventure. A good time was had by all.
In fact, our son was conceived on that trip in January in Guangzhou, China, no less!
I’m telling you all this because it’s kinda like déjà vu all over again. We’re off today to re-visit Hong Kong. Re-re-visit actually. Then to Thailand. Maybe a stop in China. Like most travelers, we ‘booked’ some things in advance but, like most backpackers, we left some weeks for ‘winging it’. February is ‘wing-it’ month. We have no idea where or what we will be doing most of February. Our philosophy: have scooter, will travel.
This may be the last time such a cavalier attitude is expressed. I confess that the travel bug has waned for me somewhat. I still like being somewhere else (in winter) but I hate the getting there and, to be honest, I don’t like it as much as I once did. Still good. NOT great. I kinda like a bit more comfort than the hostel, ya know?
Been-there-done-that is not really the issue, however. Most places I have been before are not recognizable twenty years later anyway and so, in fact, I have NOT been there even if I had been there. Things change. Weird.
Hong Kong is one of the best examples of that. In the early 80’s Hong Kong was the proverbial ancient culture in the run-down, crowded, Chinese atmosphere of street stalls and rickety streetcars sharing tight lanes and pathways with rickshaws and bicycles. The last time we were there (ten years ago) Ferraris and Porsches had displaced the rickshaws, the floating city of Aberdeen was virtually no more and every building had multiple siblings looming three times higher. The streets were still crazy-crowded but there was no visible poverty, no beggars, no sitting-on-the-sidewalk markets. People traveled quickly and efficiently. It was clean. It was busy. Hong Kong was more ‘electric’ than New York. It was impressive.
In a scary kind of way…………..
Hong Kong was more like a hive than a city, a massive, efficient system where everyone had a place and a place to be. To ‘be’ in Hong Kong is to work. And eat. That’s it. Mostly. Of course, people are people everywhere and fun, interests and entertainment are plentiful but the ratio of work, shopping and eating is double what BC’ers is. Ten times what Sal’s and mine is. Hong Kongers don’t have much free time as a rule. They don’t have much in the way of nature, either.
My point? Things change. Hong Kong has changed. I have changed. Even Sal has changed. But, it seems to me that Sal and I have gotten slower, more in-the-present and much more nature oriented. HK’ers have gone the other way; they are busier, more urban, focused, harder working. They keep up. We are much the same, old, kinda OTG. Hong Kong is changing all the time. It is uber urban, uber modern. It is the grid exemplified. I wonder if Hong Kong is the future for mankind or will nature, space, ecology and our OTG lifestyle make a comeback…?
We live in interesting times.