I’ve been feeling nostalgic about Toronto ever since I drove down for ____’s wedding. The other day I stepped outside and the spring air brought me back to Camp Creative when I used to live there, between semesters in grade 5–7. At some point this year I hope to drive home again and take pictures of those old schools where I spent the days making gimp bracelets and lip-syncing as Javert in Les Miserables.
Places are only as good as the people though, and I’m sure I miss Toronto for ____ and Darren as much as those old childhood memories, when life was so simple that the fact that it was disgustingly hot never entered my mind, even though I was outside for most of the day.
Scottish faces in Scottish places. This was literally the size of half the cafe. Off-camera is Mike working his magic to convince these two baristas to let us film inside.
I miss Mike and rainy London nights too. I want to be part of a creative team again, working towards a common vision, with someone who can compliment my weaknesses with their strengths. It’s been too long since I had someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to give me honest criticism and inspire me to improve. Mike does all those things, and I’ve yet to find someone like that here in Ottawa.
Night shopping in downtown Chartres.
I miss France, and Misun and Frédéric, and how they could truly appreciate who I am. I love the culture in that country, and the fact that you can buy a fresh baguette by walking a minute from anywhere. And I’m far from being finished with Paris; there was so much I had left to explore, so many things I’d yet to do. I want to go back as the right person, not as a person trying to escape my thoughts and memories.
Gateway in Kowloon Walled City.
Hong Kong I miss most of all, and my family there. I want nothing more than to walk those streets with Uncle Joe or Uncle Eddie. Sometimes, I sit by my back door with the window open and just listen to cars passing by in the darkness, pretending it’s the din of those highways and the diesel of the trucks. Nothing ever comes close though, and it only leaves me feeling like all these places are so far away.
A few spottings of the “Tao” character while I was in Hong Kong. The word is somewhat ubiquitous, since it can mean “road”, “path”, or “way”, and so marks road signs everywhere. This is the same character that I got tattooed on my right wrist.
It’s interesting to see how different Chinese characters can look, whether they’re engraved, painted, written, or stamped.
I’ve been back from my trip to Hong Kong for a little over a month now. Here are some little differences I’ve noticed between there and here.
Space is at a premium in Hong Kong, so parking spots are tiny. Most cars have folding side-mirrors, and proximity sensors that beep faster the closer you are to something when backing up. Vans and SUVs have mirrors on the back windows that lets a driver see the back bumper through the rear-view mirror. That way, you can squeeze into a space without any guess work, although it takes about three or four turns, Austin Powers style.
Some parking lots also have these lights above the spots that let people know if a car is parked in the space — green means it’s available. That way, you can see what spots are free with a quick glance, instead of driving around and hunting.
Taking care of the elderly
In the parks, there are workout areas for the elderly. They include things like Gazelles, bench steppers, and wheels you can rotate for flexibility. This is so awesome. Canada should have something like this. My grandma used come to this park to work out before she had colon cancer.
How cool is it that the symbol they use is the silhouette of someone doing single whip. I found this symbol in many parks actually, and I think it means that it’s a public park.
There are also speakers that beep at the traffic lights to let blind people know when to cross, and subway escalators that click constantly, so they know where to get on.
Continue reading “Little Hong Kong Differences”…
I’ll miss the way you comfort me with crowds. I’ll miss the smells of your streets. I’ll miss your alleys and their stories. I’ll miss your mix of classical and contemporary. I’ll miss the diversity of your food.
You made me feel comfortable, like I belonged somewhere, and with all your rich and somewhat mysterious culture, renewed my pride in being Chinese.
It’ll be a long time before I see you again.
Goodbye, you beautiful city. I miss you already.
Upper Lascar Row, also known as Cat Street, is a narrow alleyway market that sells decorations, trinkets, and antiques. It’s not quite like other Hong Kong markets because it’s less commercialized (i.e. doesn’t sell as many touristy things), even though the most common buyers there seem to be foreign.
The name comes from a joke in Chinese: it’s said that if you have something stolen, you’re likely to find it for sale on Cat Street. Thieves are known as “rats” in Cantonese slang, and people who purchase goods from rats are called “cats”.