Symphony of Lights

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, a customs agent asked my sister, “Did you do something to your face?”—a question loaded with Asian bluntness, hilarity, and validity (considering that we are, after all, in Asia). A high schooler can look significantly different from an elementary school photo, in case you wondered, Sir.

In much the same way, I questioned Hong Kong’s densely packed and oddly shaped skyscrapers. “Are you forreal?” It was almost as if I had to take in everything in small bites, dim-sum style, or take the peaktram all the way to the top of absorb it all in.

Aside from being a stock-ticking, fast-shuffling, coffee-drinking financial center, Hong Kong can also be thought of as the Paris of the Orient—a fashion-forward trendsetter and upscale hotspot, thanks to the lure of its free port (aka no import tax rule). Any business or brand I can think of has a branch or boutique in Hong Kong, and almost any Taiwanese, Chinese, or Singaporean celebrity will fly to Hong Kong just to shop “duty-free”. Even MasterCard’s billboard says, “There are some things money can’t buy, for everything fashion there’s MasterCard. SAYING IT WITH FASHION—priceless.” A little over-the-top-corny—yet so fitting.

Then of course, there’s Hong Kong cinema with icons like Bruce Lee striking his signature pose on the Avenue of Stars—the Cantonese Hollywood Walk of Fame. (I admit, I was pretty touristy to stay at a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, along the Victoria Harbour, right next to the promenade—but hey, we had an awesome view of the Hong Kong island.)

At 8 o’clock every night, there was the Symphony of Lights, a coordinated light and sound show projected from the facades and rooftops of Hong Kong’s most notable skyscrapers.

It was, if you’ll allow me to say, the greatest energy extravagance I’ve ever witnessed.

We only stayed in Hong Kong for two nights, but after two months abroad in hot-n-humid Asia, I was more than eager to go home to sunny California, where there aren’t sudden downpours of acid rain in suffocating hundred-degree weather.

Even if I did come down with a horrible flu and have fallen victim to jetlag, home-cooked food never tasted any better and machine-washed and dried laundry never felt any softer. Sadly, the travel blogging has come to a temporary end, as this post sums up the 40th stamp in my passport since 2006, the year I was labeled a truant in high school for escaping to Thailand and Taiwan for many weeks right before AP testing…and still ended up in college a few months later.

Life now resumes where I left off—fresh out of college and unemployed, in the midst of a recession, in the midst of portfolios, resumes, and bookmarked Craigslistings.