Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Eye of the Storm ...

To call the rains of this morning torrential would involve serious misrepresentation -- if I've seen the heavens open in this fashion before, it's been many years ago. The contrast between the clear midnight skies, opening an incredible view of the bay, the ferries, the lights of Hong Kong's central district and the thick blanket of gray moisture this morning was stunning. By 6:00a.m. the mourning calls of the foghorn had replaced the clanging of industrial hammers that's an inevitable daytime sound of the islands. Given the gusty wind and relative warmth of the rain, it was quite an enjoyable experience, undoubtedly enhanced by my partiality to fauna and flora in their struggle against the encroaching city :) Even the humidity -- which is truly tremendous: one isn't merely soaked externally by the rain but internally by perspiration -- isn't unpleasant (... a shocking assessment, given that I generally dislike heat but am made to lose my will to live by humidity.) One is left with the impression that the island is trying to sidle up to you, awing you with its visual beauty before drawing you into its warm, moist embrace -- without even bothering to buy you dinner, I might add! :)

This morning I'm spending in Kowloon, a part of Hong Kong that lies a short ferry ride across the bay from the central islands and is in many ways the cultural center of Hong Kong, containing the city's Museums of Art, Science, Space ... The Museum of Art is small compared to the jewels that Los Angeles offers but exquisite and thriving almost exclusively on ever-changing exhibitions: Chinese Gold and Jade, calligraphy, paintings of Hong Kong history, and, my favorite, a multimedia exhibition titled "Parallel Time." There, documentary movies made in a variety of Asian cities, each functioning by its own (as well as the Western Christian) calendar run parallel to images from the Western world in- and out-side Asia: Bangkok, New York, Kyoto, London, Instanbul, etc. The reason the images are so compelling, I think, has to do with the exhibition's sly reflection of life outside the holy halls of the museum -- Hong Kong *is* that amalgamation of West and East: It's virtually impossible to take a picture, reflect upon a place or sight or sound, without having to pay tribute to the influences of multiple cultures.

Speaking of which! Connie: You'll be delighted to hear that Starbucks has taken over Asia, second only to McDonalds, from what I've been able to tell. Not only that, the Hong Kong Starbucks franchises sell "Green Tea Frappuchinos" in addition to regular Western fare -- quite delicious, I must add (... having been sucked into a Starbucks in search of a cool place to rest of after dragging a 40lb backpack around Hong Kong's Central station.)

Enough for now, though -- I hear the Space Museum and the palacial Hong Kong parks calling me. Be well, friends :)


Post a Comment

<< Home