If I had gone to Hong Kong alone, my eight-day stay would have been very different. I would have spent most of my time at the conference, and in the evenings, stayed in my hotel room and worked.
Because Luca joined me for the entire trip, we toured Hong Kong together. We went to Victoria Harbour to see the night views and A symphony of lights (laser show), Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to see Tian Tan Buddha (we enjoyed the whole journey!), local streets, historic sites and many HUGE shopping malls (I am not into shopping, but enjoyed many different foods) and Macau. We did everything in the evenings and at the weekend.
As for the food, we didn’t miss Din Tai Fung, which has opened a couple of restaurants in London. A Chinese restaurant, Ye Shanghai in Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, was very nice. I loved the atmosphere and meals (Shanghai thick noodles in dark soy was delicious). Luca particularly loved a mango dessert shop, Hui Lau Shan. We had a dessert platter of mango.
The highlight of our stay was that for the first time in years we were able to meet up with our old friends who live in HK!
Coincidentally, we both have close long-term friends in HK. Meeting the friends on Luca’s side for the first time felt like a reunion – as if I was seeing my own long-term friends. They were so nice, very accommodating and intelligent, and I wanted to spend more time with them.
I met two old friends of mine for lunch and dinner. We knew each other in Switzerland, chatted online occasionally, and have now seen each other in HK. We don’t live in the same country, but a reunion can be materialised anywhere. This is the best part of international life.
I don’t intend to bring any issues happening in HK here, but one of the challenges for me was the density of population and especially the general busyness. Any large cities have these aspects. Tokyo does, too. I felt this vividly when I flew back to my town in the countryside in the UK, which has a slow pace of life, colder climate and plenty of natural beauty. And I realised that I am totally used to this rural life and would like to be based in the countryside… Large cities feel too fast and too busy. But I also feel HK is one of my homes because of having friends of mine and Luca’s there. I only feel grateful and it’s hard to say how very special they made my trip. We will go back to HK again because we want to see them!