We were walking on a busy Hong Kong street. The road was narrow. Cars were zipping past. People were jostling by, lots of them. At the crosswalk, people were waiting, restrained by the glowing red character, which, although I didn’t know the precise meaning, clearly meant, ‘don’t walk’. The light changed. GREEN. GO. The gates opened. The dam broke. The race began. People rushed across the busy street as if their lives depended on it. As if, to finish last in this race would embarrass their team, let down their nation, disappoint their parents, end their lives. Literally.
The clock was ticking. Seconds remained.
I stepped into the street. A hand seized my arm, held my shoulder.
“WAIT.” My friend, a Hong Kong native, pulled me back onto the sidewalk. “Not enough time,” he said.
We could make it, I thought.
Voooommm. A Black BMW M6 roared past, inches from where my toes had just been.
“THERE’S STILL TIME ON THE CLOCK,” I shouted, thinking that made a difference.
“In Hong Kong, the cars do not stop,” my friend said. “You must pay attention.”
We turned down a narrow side street. Cars were not allowed. People bustled, shoulder to shoulder, grocery sack to grocery sack, carving out space amidst the shops, the pungent smells, the noise. The crowd was moving, faster in the middle, slower on the sides where the shouts were loudest.
Dried fish. Wet fish. Hanging meat. Cloth. Shoes. T-shirts. DVDs. Electronics. Hand bags–with designer labels–REALLY.
My friend held my camera so I could shop. I selected a present for my wife. My friend did the negotiating–back and forth. The shopkeeper spoke in loud, harsh tones. He seemed to be angry. Then, he smiled and bowed. They exchanged money–my money–and I was given a beautiful silk scarf. I had no idea how much it cost. Walking away, I checked my currency conversion ap.
“Great deal, ” I said, stepping off the curb. “My wife will love it.”
My friend grabbed my arm and pulled me back onto the sidewalk. A car zipped past as I looked up from my iPhone.
“Here,” he said, handing me back my camera. “you should take more pictures.”
If you know where to look, you can buy just about anything. You just have to carry it home because there is not room for cars on this street.
I could understand the characters, but when the cars stopped, the crowds of people crossed the street.
I could see the construction workers, I just couldn’t tell what it was they were shoveling.
It’s not a request.
I’m just glad I didn’t have to drive through Hong Kong.
Construction is ever present on the streets of Hong Kong. I’m just not sure where they wanted us to go here.
I knew there was a thriving film industry in Hong Kong. I just didn’t know we were that close to Hollywood.
Amidst the towering skyscrapers, it’s not easy to find a place to sit.
Advertising posters cover graphite on some of the meaner Hong Kong streets.
You’d be surprised what grows on the streets of Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong they speak Cantonese. Perhaps the gang style graphite demands more mandarins.
Smoking is Asia is pervasive. In Hong Kong the have a place for the butts.
I couldn’t tell if it was a delivery or a pickup. He seemed to have a long way to go.
At any age, there are ways to make money.
Waiting for the bus is a social occasion.
Hong Kong moves 24/7. Some of the best deals are available at the night market.