Nine years ago, back when I was in college and a very green traveler, I studied in Hong Kong for a semester. (Well, sometimes I'll call it SARSmester due to the outbreak of the rather malign SARS virus at the time.) In any case, it was the first time in my life that I was away from America for a significant period of time and following that, I was in Norway for a summer...and long story short, I caught the bug (travel bug, not SARS) and have been placating that peculiar itch that the travel bug gives you. So, going to Hong Kong was like going back to Ground Zero of my travel addiction; returning to the place where it all started; completing a full cirtcle; et cetera, et cetera. So, I should have some strong emotions there.
But, I didn't.
The strongest feelings that I had were of contentedness and complacency, which I'm sure are not mutually exclusive feelings. It didn't matter if I saw any of the "touristy" spots or ate the signature dish of the town. I wasn't particularly interested in popping in a museum or seeing some sort of cultural show. In fact, I didn't even look in any guide book at all, instead just using a map that we picked up at the airport.
So, what did we do for nearly a week in Hong Kong? Well, we hung out mostly. My friend, Mike, was generous enough to let us crash at his place (all 800 cubic ft of it), which we enjoyed immensely, especially the part where we could drink tap water and flush toilet paper down the toilet. Also, regular hot showers were pretty kick-ass.
We spent Christmas Eve eating fish tacos, eating cookie and ice cream, and playing "Kung Fu Panda" on the XBox Connect. (Super fun, by the way)
Bessie kicking at imaginary things
We walked around a lot with no particular direction. We did that a lot.
Who needs a map when there are signs?
We found a beach. On Christmas.
Us at "Big Wave Bay"
We had an awesome breakfast at a diner. Yes, a diner in Hong Kong. The pancakes were pretty bad-ass, though. We did have some Chinese food, although, we have no idea what it was.
Any guesses as to what we ate?
We drank some expensive beer.
Imported and worth the cost
We saw the new "Sherlock Holmes" film. Also pretty bad-ass.
We rode some bikes.
We biked to all of those places.
And, generally, we just had a fun time wherever we went, ignoring all of the things that we "should" do.
My serious face
Some might say that we lost that spark that would cause us to get up every day and explore the city to it's full potential. We were like that at one time: a non-stop whirlwind of traveling, out to see everything that there is and stopping only for sleep and another bus ride. There was a time when we would leave a place only after we felt like we had squeezed every little last drop out of it.
We're not like that anymore.
I'm sure we missed a lot of "must-see" things and if you've been to Hong Kong, you're likely to have seen more than we did. And that fact alone used to bother me a lot. But that doesn't bother me any more. I was totally content catching up with an old friend and that pretending his couch was mine. In the end, I think I finally realized that it doesn't matter if I went somewhere or not. It doesn't matter if I did something or not. It only matters how I felt at the time. And the whole time I was in Hong Kong, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so for me, that makes the whole trip worthwhile.