Overnights on cruise ships are some kind of luxurious magic and so rare, they feel like a myth. I was lucky enough to have an overnight in Hong Kong the day before I disembarked, at the end of a 7 months contract.
I remember rushing out in the steaming-hot night, absolutely clueless on what to do and where to go. Together with a few colleagues, we went to Soho. I never stop at the first bar in any port, my curiosity makes me far too anxious. There, I went to the first bar. It felt so much, too much. There was an abundance of details and…. heights. The overcrowded streets were buzzing with life and light. I had to sit down and take it all in before diving in the crowd.
Once the first beer sunk in, my blood was boiling to go on a wander. Luckily, Javier and Chris, whom I just met, were in the exact same mood. We started wandering with the cameras on our shoulders, with no destination in mind, but with the same drive. I feel so lucky and grateful for that night with the boys. There was a very peaceful silence between us, spiced with a strong creative buzz. The city said enough.
Pretty overcrowded and pretty overwhelming, the city had so many details to observe, so many textures, so many inscriptions and lights. The skyscrapers were so close, it felt like a palm length distance between them. Oh, the skyscrapers… I looked up. It was the first time I felt the frustration of not seeing the sky. We kept walking uphill, in between the buildings. Everything was so tall, everything was so close, and there was such a tiny piece of free sky, it looked like a missing piece from Tetris. We took photos of each other, of the buildings, of the narrow sky, walked on the smelliest corners of the streets and somehow managed to get kicked out of them.
It was the first time I had noticed how, on the few locals present, the smile was completely absent. I didn’t pay too much attention at the time, yet it became very clear to me the next day how extremely rare is to see a glimpse of a smile from locals.
My experience in Hong Kong is as subjective as it gets. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I developed such a strong, yet superficial relationship with the city, because it reflected the beautiful mess in my mind and soul, at the time. It was a very intense 7 months contract and I felt I was leaving a big part of myself behind. The city was an overcrowded labyrinth in which I was just as lost as in my mind. I was just as overwhelmed visually as mentally. All the overwhelming memories, experiences, love and heartbreak, anger and strength, exhaustion and curiosity gathered in me, began to spill over. For the first time, I made peace with the saying I repel: “It is what it is”.
I ended the night on the crew deck, taking long exposure photos (not ideal, on a slightly rocky ship). I had to say one more goodbye, the hardest one and no intention to sleep.
Even if that night was the last of March and now it’s the beginning of November, it’s impact is as vivid as it gets.
What is your favourite thing to do in Hong Kong?
Until next time,