I sit here at a public computer, I think I would go insane without the encouragements my parents and teachers gave me
when I was a child. I
hear the more recent voice of a friend in Shenzhen who said to me rather ruefully, Shenzhen is a man's town.
To escape an X-rating, we'll skip over why
Shenzhen is a man's town.
so I eagerly seek out Hong Kong only to hear two pudgy balck-suited businessmen discussing a sixteen year old girl with a
smug, proprietorial tone as they exit from the Marco Polo Hotel, myself trailing a little too closely behind them.
are Hong Kong men, suave, modest in outward appearance, lacking South Asia swagger, and yet repellent to me with their assumption
that any one is for hire, any women can be bought and sold like a package of sirlion from the local supermarket.
I taking a risk now for speaking out my own true thoughts? A small mad rambling voice can be left alone in
Internet time and space to cry out This is wrong, That is right.
night again, another man wore up all the people at the hotel by singing in the middle of the night, a crude song with the
word F-----g all over the lyrics, there was no joy in his music, only hatred of women.
voice woke us all first, and I thought as I lay frightened in my bed, that it was a Chinese Canadian or Chinese American,
because the voice had no accent.
began getting up, walking the corridors of the Mirador Mansions, and discovered a soggy middleaged white man with a
hook nose, not smelling of alcohol at all, staring in a hazy crazy way at females. My first thought was some type
of pharmaceuticals, some type of crazy drug.
my mother used to say in praise of Chinese, They keep their problems to themselves. She clearly thought this was a valuable
Kong goes own promoting herself as the most beautiful tourist site for thousands of miles around, and I fall into her deceptions
and dreams. The thousands of tourists who find her too crowded, too expensive, are not given much voice, and with such
overcrowding there may be no more room for fresh voices anyway.
I arrived here on
It was easy crossing at the border,
due to the new border speed-ups, though the hour of bus travel, the forty-five minutes of walking over the border, the KCR
and then the subway, this never takes less than a few hours.
I went straight to do computer work,
always neglecting Hong Kong friends, both new and old, because of the enormous catch-up time.
I suffered slow downloading in Hong
Kong too, though had a big thrill when my travel photos uploaded into Webshots.
I was impressed by the quality of air
in Hong Kong, and wrote what I love about it:
gasoline on the water
dried fish dried fish and more dried
I went to Delifrance for dinner and
avoided buying clothes in Wan Chai, which took effort. At the hotel I met a Czech artist, extraordinarily talented,
and with a fascinating job; he restores antique art especially wall paintings in churches and the homes of the wealthy.
He had been visiting his Czech girlfriend,
studying Mandarin in Taiwan. He praised the friendliness of the Chinese, though noted It is not individualistic.
He showed me his amazing portfolio including
his perfectly rendered paintings, which would have looked like photographs except for the surfaces which seemed to have passed
through either a flood or a fire, full of technical competence and some mystery.
I told him how I had hung 300 paper
doll dresses on dozens of Montreal clothes lines. The Montreal Laundry Lines Installation, also done a few years ago
in Hong Kong. He was suitably
impressed, and apologized unexpectedly for not being contemporary enough.
I told him I did paintings on canvas
as well, with oils and acrylics.
He seemed to be shocked as I was on
my first visit by the lack of ancient architecture in Hong Kong, since it does tout itself as one of the greatest World Cities
to have ever come down the turnpike.
My first trip here I wandered all over Western looking
for ancient Chinese houses, like I viewed in story books as a child. I thought if I walked far and wide enough my path
would cross with something more picturesque. Nothing happened.
In China, I said, some of the cities
now don't even have buildings fifty or a hundred years old.
The prices too, he now turned
to the complaint of many travellers.
The city that this artist comes from
is Prague, a famous city for art, antiquity and architecture. He showed me a gallery invitation for Old Bailey street for Thursday night, and we decided to go to
meet the Chinese artist, whose painting of a mansion lawn with Chinese and white high society evoked a colonial past.
I wonder what they are paying him, I
said, and we discussed the economics of the art world, and then he left to walk around, and I went to sleep.
The next day it was more of the same,
computers and Delifrance, and then back to the hotel, where I met a business woman from South Africa.
Depressed, she said of the
Hong Kong Chinese. the Chinese where I live are very lively, always animated and gesticulating and chattering, so I
was surprised by her novel perception.
Celebrities arriving here and staying in 5 star
hotels, feted by their hosts, flatter the city by calling it lively, vibrant, electric. If I took taxis everywhere,
I'd find more strength; just walking on the streets when you bump into others constantly is tiring.
My first perceptions of the Hong Kong
Chinese were not flattering as I saw them as pushy and money-minded. I then came to like them a great deal, with their
urbanity and worn sophistication.
Depressed? They are self-enclosed and
accepting, holding local secrets tightly to their chests, as every now then I will snap awake here, reading in the newspapers
that Hong Kong men routinely kill themselves when they fail at business, or hearing a reported from a Hong Kong feminist centre
that errant husbands wishing to take second wives may ask the first wife to spare herself of the shame of divorce by killing
Yes, no wonder the Chinese laugh at
It is the stupidity of lingering White
Racism, so insulated that it takes no umbrage at being called a White Devil or Foreign Demon, the gallant magnamosity of the
White British who came here to make pots of money and take a China Doll on the side.
A bright middle-aged French man was
captivated by the feisty black businesswoman and her off-the-wall insights, she wore brillaint red which contrasted wonderfully
with her halo of black ringlets, and a sarong skirt with a red daisy pattern that I complimented her on.
We discussed Emotions and the various
races. The Chinese favour control, I said, and I think it is bad form to show emotions such as sorrow, anger, and fear.
Emotions? Without emotions
we would be just like the animals, she said.
I laughed, Maybe the Chinese think The
Whites and The Blacks are closer to Animals, because we show too many emotions on the surface!
The black woman complained too about
Hong Kong prices.
Thursday I was tiring of endless website
cleansing and editing.
After breakfast at Delifrance, I walked
up Nathan Road to The Jade Market, stopping to peruse the computer books at a large bookstore across from Kowloon Park.
I hit paydirt as a clothes shopper when
I found a street stall outside of The Jade Market selling exquisite designer linen and silk garments, hundreds of pieces jammed
I bought a seafoam green cotton sweater
and strech blue denim shorts 2 clothes for 15 HK, or 10HK per item. I then passed these to the owners while I burrowed
through the carts. I got a blue cotton sweater I am wearing now; a style I love.
It looks as the cotton threads
have been hand-knitted together, a raw, bulky, comfortable look, and unlike wool sweaters these tops never pile.
Next I bought black heavy silk shapeless
slacks with a half elastic waistband, these are good travel pants, though possibly a little too shapeless. I bought
a dark blue silk T-shirt, also a dull sheenless silk.
I bought a watermelon linen coat-jacket;
this jacket had raglan sleeves, was very loose, and came to just above the knees, not exactly a coat nor a jacket either which
is why I think of it as a coat-jacket.
Then I forced myself to bypass a long
hooded black knit sweater-coat as it was too bulky to pack and carry, and went into The Jade Market.
Since my white crystal beads had been
lost or stolen, lost possibly as they may have fallen off and down the side of a bunk bed where I was staying at a trusted
friend's home, I needed new Spiritual Protection Beads.
I knew I really needed rose quartz,
though I wanted the dark red carnelian beads the most, so I bought the carnelian beads. I had a long talk with the stall
The owners are very helpful to me and
I recommend this stall, you enter The Jade Market, and turn left a stall or two at the first main avenue. The
merchants own vast amounts of hanging semi-precious beads in all sizes.
We discussed the Amber Problem in Poland.
Were you aware there was an Amber Problem in Poland? This is why I love Hong Kong. The merchants are up on the
I sat on a little wood stool, full of
curiosity, as the owners explained to me the Polish government was closing the Amber Mines. Still, the thin strand
did not look appetizing, as I like a lot of jewels for my dollar, though the light shining through them was impressive.
I expressed interesd in the Black Tourmaline
strands to ward off demonic influences still afflicting the Spiritual Journey. He had two sizes, itsy and jumbo.
The jumbo were affordable.
I ended up leaving with my carnelian
necklace, they even put a clasp on for free. I told them as I left that Carnelian was big in Ancient Egypt, something
they did not know themselves.
I weakened as I passed the street stall
and bought a short beige linen jacket that I will wear forever, it has a Suzy Parker or Audrey Hepburn look to it, from a
Fifties Hollywood movie, when men were men, and women were women, and Hong Kong was still a cheap place to buy Asian antiques
and personal freedom.
I was so tired at the end of the day
I skipped the Art Show on Old Bailey street, much to my regret.
And then the viciously angry White Man
waking up the hotel in the middle of the night, the air around staining itself with his irrational rage.
Behind me now at the computer room
I hear an Indian businessman, saying, my main market was Japan, and he has a phone hooked up to his computer; I have never
seen this before, it is fascinating.
He is complaining about business conditions.
In 1993 - 1994, it started going down, down, down.....
Two prevailing moods overhang this week;
my reunion with my family members in British Columbia, and the impending America - Iraq tensions.
Today as I walked out of the hotel,
I passed the news stand and saw that China and Russia opposed the USA about the attack on Iraq. This situation is still
ominous, and the next month will be the real tester.
Again, I try to work with my travel