Thursday, June 2, 2011
Hong Kong Harbor
In the distance stood the city of Hong Kong. As will happen in times like these my mind began to review visions of the past several hours. We had steamed into the harbor as a 747 was taking off from Hong Kong International. The runway ran horizontal to the right of the city proper along a mountain range. As the huge jet lifted off, she banked, showing us her silver back, powering toward the open sea. Skyscrapers of white concrete, glass and mirror stood sentinel over a bustling metropolis of grays and greens in this hazy world of foreign aromas. There was an ever-present odor of fish and something akin to mold. Flashing neon contrasted sharply with the dank surroundings. The mountainside behind the skyscrapers seemed to be plastered with thousands of unpainted wooden hovels barely clinging to a tenuous purchase on the rocky outcroppings.
In the harbor, Chinese junks with sails that appeared to be made of bamboo and wood, plied the tossing waters; bobbing rubber ducks in an excited child’s bathtub. Huge ocean liners lay like beautiful arrogant women seemingly untouched in their hugeness by the tossing seas. Barges lumbered their way heavy-laden with barely a wake at their flat bow. Small ferries made you think of water trollies on a network of unseen rails, just beneath the surface, as they motored back and forth from ship to shore. As we had slowly cruised our way into the harbor, rickety vessels of all description and size, spilling over with wares and people of myriad costume, had drawn precariously alongside. A cacophony of shouting had ensued, “Hey Joe … you want good time?” “Watches for sale! Jewelry!” “You need a ride? You see ME at the dock. I show you veddy good time.”