Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Thursday morning in Hong Kong!!

Good Morning!!

Wednesday continued –


I notice I am more discerning on what I post while I am here.  At “home,” I post whatever comes up, but here I seem to think something more is needed or involved.  Part of that is my cheapness.  I am only willing to pay for one hour of on-line time a day, so I don’t have the ease of popping on and off, but part of it may be a different way of noticing what I perceive as possibly interesting to you.  I cannot express all of this, or maybe it is that I am not clear what I am feeling, so I give you little nips.


Each moment seems so precious, and it certainly does when I am at home, but there is something about knowing I have a chance to observe a place that is far away culturally and physically that has me super-alert, and in that, less inclined to blurt.  I sit straighter too, except when I am exhausted and then, I sink slowly, slowly until I am caught by sleep. 


Right now I am awake and waiting for my meeting with Yvonne.  I continue to read A Sense of Place, Great Travel Writers Talk about Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration.  It points out to me that I do not have the intention of craft in what I communicate here.  What is my intention?  Perhaps it is to oil global understanding, to point out how friendly people are here, how enriched my day seams with care and smiles, to continue to stress the importance of peace, while knowing there are many ways to split this earthly pie.


Rick Steves write of travel as more than a shopping trip, as instead a way to not “dumb down.”  He uses his travel books to bring poetry to the American people, to enrich.  He thinks more connection is allowing each country to better proclaim their differences in a positive way.  In 2004, the Reichstag building opened in Berlin.  “It’s a new glass dome that’s open and free all the time so people can literally look over the shoulders of their legislators and know what’s on their desk and keep an eye on them.”   He speaks of the symbolism for Germany.  “It’s incredible: no more fascism, no more communism, no more division, no more war.  It’s the beginning of a new century – they’re free, hopeful, united, and looking into a great future.”


When I see the infrastructure here in Hong Kong, I compare it to the United States and continue to imagine what we might have if we were spending what we spend on war on building roads, trains, tunnels, schools, and paying teachers well, well, well.  We could example global connection by strengthening our own country first.  That seems to be what other countries are doing.  It seems like common sense.


So, it is late afternoon and I am returned from my Hong Kong shopping trip.  No English is spoken where we went today, but money is easily exchanged.  You have to pay careful attention and labels are often removed, but usually not so completely you can’t somewhat tell, and so, I found a shirt for Steve like he likes, in linen and cotton, for the equivalent of $5.00.  We saw a ski jacket in the best German brand for the equivalent of $35.00.   Of course, it was one jacket, but if you look long and carefully enough you are sure to find something just right for you. It is the search that matters as much as the find.


Lunch, which was delicious, was $5.00 for the two of us.  Of course, you bring your own Kleenex for napkin and toilet paper and, for elimination,  you squat over a hole and pull a cord, but, is any more needed than that?   I bought enough freesias at the Flower Mart to fill three vases, well, water glasses, for $1.50.  We traveled for our bargains by well-used and crowded subway to the Flower District and Ladies Market of Kowloon.  Though that area is considered more Chinese, I saw more Westerners than I have seen elsewhere, other than Victoria Peak.  There is nothing like a bargain to gather nationalities together.  Actually, we were the only westerners in the restaurant.  It was very Chinese.   


I noticed that when the sun came out so did the umbrellas.  Women shade their skin.  Yvonne told me they sell skin lightening creams here, but no bronzers and nothing to accelerate or promote a tan.  Pale skin is beautiful and valued here, so we rugged Californians probably don’t do as well in the beauty department in Hong Kong.  I had wondered at the paleness of the skin, how it was even possible, with summer just completing.  I thought that maybe it rains all the time, but instead it is that women are very careful of their skin.  Umbrellas go up and down as they travel in and out of the sun.  This is not true of western women, or of all the women, but it is definitely a noticeable accessory.  I suppose umbrellas are chosen over hats because of the heat. Either it is that, or one is always ready, prepared for sun or storm.


Yvonne, who is from Switzerland, lives on the south side of the island, in Stanley Village.  She, her husband, and young daughter, love living here, though she says her husband still gets lost and they’ve lived here three years. She says Hong Kong is too expensive for retirement, but it is a wonderful place to live if you are working, so, there it is.  She lives 30 to 45 minutes by public transportation from where I currently am and nature is abundant there.  Friday, we will visit the south side of the island, the land of outdoor cafes and beaches.  The trip on a double-decker bus over the hills and through the green is considered magnificent. 


It seems everything is here. Yvonne says they don’t feel island-bound, and it is easy to travel if you do. Last night as we were eating, I looked around.  The place was filled with Asians, and yet, nothing is really that different from home.  Perhaps what is most clear is friends and family are what matters, and pets, too.  We miss Tiger and Bella, and I hear from Wendy that they miss us too.


I love to travel and I continue to see that it is the inner journey that matters, how we meet what comes, what presents, and how we create what tests.   


Thursday awakens now.  Boats are moving.  Cars, busses, and taxis are bringing people to work.  The subways are clean and efficient, though crowded.  All seems to work in this land of Hong Kong, or am I missing something?  If so, I don’t know what it is.  Everyone I come in contact with, at every level, seems interested in communicating, even if all we are able to share is a smile.  I also appreciate the courtesy and help given here.  There is a reverence to the politeness, and I continue to feel the interest and care.


I spoke with Yvonne about Michael Moore and his movie Sicko.  She pointed out that yes, Europeans have incredible health care, but that it is sometimes more than they need and they pay an incredible percentage of their income in taxes.  It seems that we could stop being a bully around the world, and then have universal health care and no increased taxes, or perhaps increased taxes on the very wealthy.  There is no sales tax in Hong Kong and I’m not sure how the infrastructure is funded, but Yvonne is very clear that she, her husband and daughter live differently here than they could in Switzerland or France.  She does not need to work and they have full-time help. So, it is for each of us to choose.  What does each of us need now and what feeds health, body and soul.  There is something I love here and I feel how easy it would be to stay, and I miss family and friends. 



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