Hong Kong is sensory assault. It is nearly impossible to describe it without being able to replicate the sounds, crowds, and colors.
Manic clicking resounds in the air, a broadcasted indicator that it is, at last, ok to cross the street. Heavy trucks barrel along, barely dipping under the low hanging signs and banners strung from every building. Clambering alongside them are the millions of pedestrians, busily walking anywhere from corner offices or noodle shops, eager to clock in for the day. Voices shout from within produce shops in tonal Cantonese, and you can only assume the banter is about the morning’s shipment, and he always forgets to bring the squash.
Clouds of steam plume out of every open restaurant, carrying with them smells of pork, of oil, of burned sugar. Some scents are alluring, while others nearly choke you in their absolute thickness. Perspiring butchered chickens hang lazily behind plexiglass windows and colorful menus displaying identical stock photo meals stick to every window and every door as if to say “we will make you everything, if you just please come inside.”
Strolling into a shop filled with herbal tinctures and baskets of dried fish and preserved organs bobbing around in glass jars, you simultaneously hold your breath and breathe deeply with the thrill of experiencing something so unfamiliar. Grocery stores display bloody meats and butchered fish, cut in half and thrown on ice. You may catch a glimpse of a heart still beating, desperately clamoring to survive. The city is full of activity, everyone clamoring around. You can take part in some of the many things to do in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, or you can just let yourself get lost.
Once the skies go dark, the signs illuminate, the city buzzes, the office buildings dim inside, and the colors really start. Steam creeps out of man holes and wide grates on the street. Girls in mini skirts hug their financier boyfriends as they head out for a round of cocktails. Night market vendors that spent hours laying out craft collections on temporary tables sell furiously, knowing that eventually, their tables will be broken down, brought inside, and quietly waiting to be set back up the next night.
But Hong Kong in photos? That we can do.
Sensory Assault, Hong Kong Edition
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