Saturday, June 16, 2007

On Being Chinesey

I know this will sound ridiculous, but sometimes I'm amazed at how "Chinese-y" this city is. Of course it's in China, hence the Chinesey-ness, but when you're in the midst of this city and it's full of people bustling about, taxis swerving in and out of traffic, and really, REALLY tall buildings all about, it's easy to forget that this mecca of international finance and world commerce happens to be located in China. But then I wander past a corner snack stand selling fried octopus legs and stinky tofu and it all comes flooding back to me. I live in China. Period. And it's very, very Chinesy here.

It's completely normal to pass a parked truck full of squids--live ones, at that--and to see the frazzled delivery guy snatch an escaping one up off the dirty street by it's tentacles and plunk it right back into the crates, dashing all it's hopes of ever seeing the ocean again. There's no doubt the local restaurants serve fresh seafood.

A fisherman selling his catches of the day.
Take a close look at what's lying next to his feet.

A local seafood joint specializing in this long, eel-like
ocean creature. I have no idea what it is.
Matt calls it a Luck Dragon.
(The heads are always missing.)

Our particular neighborhood has quite a "local" vibe to it and the Chinesey-ness is hard to miss. It's when I'm (window) shopping in the more upscale parts of town or running errands out and about that I momentarily forget where I am. But then, bam!, I almost get run over by a shirtless man on a bike full of dead chickens, and it all comes rushing back to me. I live in China. It's a strange experience every time it happens.

Hong Kong is both a fishing village and an emerging financial powerhouse. It
is a city of such phenomenal contrast. And to see those forces collide everyday makes me believe there's no other city like it in the whole world. It's really incredible. And, yes, it's very, very Chinese-y.

1 comment:

LauraLunch said...

That's what's so totally awesome about HK. You get the best of both worlds..the glamour and the dead chickens. PS: I think that octopus is about to execute his revenge on the fisherman. If only you would have stayed a few minutes longer to see him grab the foot with two arms, throw the man over board with four others, pick his nose with one and give a thumbs up to his buddies with the other.