About a year ago a woman contacted me via Facebook asking me how she could start a lunch club in St Ives, Cornwall (my home town). She said she’d been told I’d be a good person to ask for ideas as I was local and knew what was going on. You can imagine how puffed up I was. A ‘local’, in itself a great accolade, but a local who knows what’s going on. Anyone who knows Cornwall’s distrust of incomers will know why I was beaming from ear to ear. Mr P had to make the doorways bigger THAT day.
This morning I was chatting to a young student backpacker (I have the pick of a very large bunch, as the hostel teems with them). Lauren was tall, willowy and very smiley, on her way back to New Zealand after a month of TEFL in mainland China. Hungry and a little broke and finding the cost of being in HK a big shock after mainland China. In contrast only yesterday I was talking to a Belgium girl who is working in Korea, and had stocked up on piles of chocolate as it was so cheap. Apparently Korea protects their own limited confectionary industry by banning imports. Apologies. I digress…. So Lauren and I shared my porridge oats and ginger and honey and chatted about things she might do on a shoestring budget. I recommended the Classic Star Ferry across to Hong Kong, followed by the ferry to Lamma, gave her a map, told her which Pier to head to and recommended she make a day of it, coming back after dark to see the skyline all lit up. Gave her the timetable and wished her a happy day. Also told her about the cheap veggie eats in Chung King.
Today, more about being than doing. A lazy day amongst the locals, swimming at Kowloon Park in the downstairs training pool reserved for the elderly and infirm (if the pool is quiet others who want to avoid the huge pool upstairs are allowed in) where very elderly ladies do gentle exercise and smile and chat, and blind people swim in a lane reserved exclusively for them, all of us eventually making way for groups of learner school children around 4pm. Tired but happy I returned ‘home’ to read and write and pack up my things ready to move to Sai Kung tomorrow. I’m saving the more touristy things, and my energy, for when Martin and Lucy arrive.
And then I bumped into Lauren. She had just returned from Lamma and was bearing a take out curry from Chung King Mansion. “I had the best day” she said, handing me my map. “Your recommendations were spot on, better than asking a local”.
27 nights, and I’m better than a local. Seriously? When I still get lost if I leave Kowloon and head to Hong Kong. But I smile and take her compliment. And punch the air in triumph.
Fast paced city this. But I’m a fast learner. Hong Kong, I’m coming to get you.