The In-Betweeners

We’ve been here for a few days already and the cold is getting to me. Immensely! I don’t know how the local Hongkongers do it (is Hongkie a bad word to use to describe them? Someone please tell me). They are wrapped up in thick sweaters but they go about their life as if the cold was just a mere fly.
As this is my 3rd time into Hong Kong (the first time I came during summer BEFORE 1997), we’re in that in-between category – neither tourists nor working expats. We’re the sojourners and that’s a label I use because I keep thinking to myself, I really cannot live here. The cold gets to me (even at 14C and it’s March) and I layer up like kuih lapis before I dare venture outdoors.
When it’s hot, it’s hot and that’s in July or August. That’s also when the summer sale starts.
Anyway, weather aside, it’s been great just taking our time traipsing up and down Hong Kong aided by nothing but the MTR Octopus card and a HK tourist map.
I can’t help but do a comparison and contrast while sitting at the park (and despite the cramped apartment conditions here, the irony that stares you down is that the supermarkets and shopping malls in HK are large, even those located in the boondocks and their gardens and parks are just as huge).
Food-wise has been nothing short of excellent. Just like Penang, you can’t get BAD food here. It’s just not possible. But what I would give right now for a piping hot ayam varuval or mutton periatal from Little India in Penang – in this freakingly cold weather, that kind of food will just energise me right up!
Of course the roast goose, roast duck and meats and stuff do make up for this craving for spicy food. And then there’s this preoccupation with afternoon tea which starts at 2pm right up to 6pm. As I was sitting about this morning warming myself up with a mug of hot water, I speculated that the HK coffeeshops here had to include afternoon tea because without it, their coffeeshops would be empty. And like all pragmatic Chinese, why waste good rent when you can maximize it? So average coffeeshops here (“char chaan teng”) does round the clock business, starting with brekafast, lunch, tea and dinner. It’s busy all the time. Business is competitive here.
HK as a tourist (forget your 3D2N trips) and HK as a sojourner (10 slow meandering days) are as different as kopi and nai-cha.
We came here to do a few things but mostly we came here so that we can fully appreciate the lives we have in Penang.
More of my insights later…. and photos too. Right now I am using my friend’s laptop to type this while waiting for Nic to get ready so we can go for … what else?… TEA!