A Hong Kong second

“A New York minute is a Hong Kong second.” -someone who hasn’t been to Hong Kong since the late 80s, I guess. I think this is supposed to describe the fast pace of Hong Kong, but it falls flat to me, because much of Hong Kong seems so dated.

Like, yeah, Hong Kong is crowded, but Hangzhou is crowded. Every city in China is crowded; there are literally a billion people here. Crowds are no longer impressive. After seeing how modern Hangzhou is, I guess I was expecting Hong Kong to be the same. I would be able to do anything and everything on my phone; I would never have to touch cash or exchange currency. Nope. Hong Kong still mostly runs on cash. Even if you get an Octopus Card (which has a hilariously retro 90s design), you still have to recharge it with cash. Like, what is this? I haven’t touched cash in China in like two months. I don’t want to touch that! We all know it’s covered in cocaine and fecal matter!

The garish lights and red-roofed taxis and buses remind me of New York’s Chinatown, not one I’ve ever seen in real life, but one I’ve seen in movies from the 70s and 80s. The pink and turquoise palette prominently featured on many skyscrapers looks like the decor scheme of the Taco Bells of my childhood.

While I may joke about it’s funky out-dated-ness, obviously Hong Kong is a center of world commerce and has well-organized, functioning infrastructure and social services (we visited about two weeks after the biggest typhoon they’ve ever had and there was hardly an sign of it, also I had to go to the emergency room and the medical care was much better than the US), the retro vibes will certainly caught me off guard. If you love neon lights and taking pictures playing with architectural details, Hong Kong will be a dream come true.

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