Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy
cathy_edgett

Wednesday morning in Hong Kong -

Here is news from Tuesday Hong Kong.

Hong Kong – Tuesday –

 

Steve and I rise and head downstairs for a buffet breakfast that consists of everything one could imagine of East and West.  My morning stomach sticks with West.  We take the subway to Central, and then, part.  I pass through the Landmark Hotel, with a myriad of expensive shops to St. John’s Cathedral, the second oldest building in Hong Kong.   I sit inside and enjoy the outside benches and gardens.  I am finding places that renew. Central is more conducive to green, of the money and plant kind, and, also fountains and benches.   I enjoy Hong Kong Park and then head up to take the tram to the top of Victoria Peak.  I sit on the right side as suggested for the better views and the rise is so steep that I strain to keep my neck from falling back.  We rise through green.  Again, as instructed I hop out and scurry past the array of shops to the fleet of escalators that take one even higher.  The rope to the very top has just unleashed, so I am one of the first to step out into a view that has to be one of the top, literally and figuratively, in the world.  Wow!   Wow!   Wow!  360 degrees wow.  The guidebooks say one could do this fifty times and never get tired of the view.  How true!  I could do this twice a day and never get tired of it.  Imagine all the possible shades of light.  And the sun chooses now to come out!   Quadruple Wow!  I am entranced.

 

The shops inside at The Peak are a negative, but as long as one stays outside, it is wonderful. There is a post office so one could mail letters home from the top of Hong Kong, but I forgot addresses.  I decide to walk down, rather than take the tram, and locals reach out with advice.  One older woman spends a great deal of time with me, even walking back down with me part-way to show me the various routes.  She touches me gently on the back as we part, telling me to be careful as I go down.  I am touched in more ways than one. 

 

I enjoy helping the tourists in my area, so I understand her enthusiasm and care.  I think God must take extra note of tourists as they float through a host of obstacles with their innocence, enthusiasm and guidebooks.  I know what it is to try and tuck a tourist into my local wisdom and say beware. 

 

Amazingly, many of the locals use the Peak Road as a morning constitutional and travel up and down it each day for exercise and fun.  It is a beautiful walk, a lovely jungle.  I would love to see it in the rain.  It is definitely steep, and living here is the height, literally and figuratively again, of prestige.

 

In the 19th century, you needed the governor’s permission to live on the Peak.  Chinese people were only allowed to live there in 1945.  The world has positively changed.

 

I wind my way down through massive residential buildings.  I pass through the cool shade of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.  I’ve read the animals are tightly contained, so I don’t pause to look, but I appreciate the fresh shade and benches of the place.  I now understand the value of the walkways above the street in Central.  I take advantage of some of them, as I go up and down in my journey, a balance of pause and walk.  As I travel up and down escalators and stairs, I feel like a monkey swinging through various levels of trees.   I make my way back to the bay and home, and home is now how it seems.  I buy another book along the way.  So far my Hong Kong purchases consist of two books.  None of the rest is tempting or what I need. 

 

I rest my feet and read.

 

In the book A Sense of Place, Pico Iyer is interviewed.  He calls himself “a global village on two legs.”

 

He has this to say:

 

          “What I’ve always been interested in is what’s uncharted, the inner life of globalism.  In writing The Global Soul, I was interested in how the global village was changing our dreams and our relationships and challenging our sense of self.  There’s a whole new race of people coming to birth who to me are the spiritual citizens of the twenty-first century, who don’t fit into any of the old categories, who can’t answer instantly what’s their tribe or community or enemy, who have to create those answers from scratch and whose interactions with the world are going to be utterly different.”

 

          He goes on but what really interests me in light of how I have been feeling as I recover from the airline trip are his comments on jet lag.

 

          “I have a chapter in Sun After Dark about jet lag and it’s a perfect example because it’s a state of being that no human had visited until forty years ago.  And now it’s more and more a part of many people’s lives.  Yet it’s not been documented the way drug states have been or mystical states have been.  It’s a fundamental new aspect of human life that many of us experience but few of us stop to think about.”

 

          I think it is fascinating to consider how our experience is different than ever before.  I am getting more used to what, at first, seemed overload. I’m back in touch with my own sense of space.  Oddly, this trip is bringing back my trip to Nepal, and my time in Kathmandu.  There is something about being in a place where little that is spoken is understood that provides a background melody for one’s own reflections and thought.

 

          The sun shines into the room.  It is still rather gray and there is some sunshine.  I keep expecting it to be cool outside because of the gray, but this gray means hot, and I am getting more used to the heat now and walk easily and long.  I contact my inner camel.

 

          There is an article on Robert Frost in Poetry magazine.  He wrote that a poem “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”  What is interesting in light of the reticence of many poets to promote themselves is this comment by Kay Ryan as she reviews the new book The Notebooks of Robert Frost, as edited by Robert Faggin.

 

          “But the thing is, he liked being a sharp operator – mounting letter-writing campaigns to secure the good opinion of influential critics for his early books; undermining poets, including Robinson and Sandburg, whom he saw as serious rivals; and on one unequaled occasion going so far as to “accidentally” start a little fire on stage at Bread Loaf just as Archibald MacLeish was launching into his biggest crowd pleaser.”

 

          Who would have thought?  Self-promotion has a place.

 

          It is a good day to consider self, promotion, global living and intent. 

 

 

I head out for an evening walk along the water to watch the sun set.  I see that is unusual for here.  Sometimes people need to be taught where to look.  While in the mountains of Nepal, our porters thought we were nuts in our observation of and need for a “view.”  They preferred to gamble and huddle close together, inside if possible.  One of them tried it once, stood where we stood, then, shrugged. 

 

 Steve says when he was first in Beijing, years ago, people needed to be taught to queue.  Now, people queue.  Poets taught us to enjoy the views. We have learned not to fear the heights, the abodes of the gods.  Actually, when I think of the machinery required to carry one up Victoria Peak, if one chooses not to walk, I see that our choice to co-habit with the gods is earned. 

 

I walk alone along the promenade and survey the setting red ball of the sun, trying to remember the saying on red, though it is the sun and not the sky that looms.

 

Then, in the night, I am awakened by an odd sound.  At first it sounds like bamboo chimes and then as it gets louder, it is pounding rocks.  I get out of bed trying to understand what is going on.  We are on the 21st floor and yet it is the pounding of rain.  It hammers down. 

 

Now, I am again awake.  It will be interesting to see how the rain has refreshed the day.  I am now in this time zone, though rising at 4:30 is about as late as I can “sleep in.”  

 

I will travel today with Yvonne, the wife of a friend of Steve’s, so that will be fun.  I prefer a living guide to books, and my solitary travels yesterday ensure a gregarious mood today.

 

 

 

 

 

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