6 months in the Glittering Island Country
It seems impossible to sum up 6 incredible months in Hong Kong. I moved to the island country in the beginning of summer when humidity was at its height and it was so intense I felt like the wind was knocked out of me when I stepped off the plane. The next thing I experienced was stimulus overload from all of the bright, flashing lights on the buildings like an outdoor disco. All of this colorful crazy falls against a stunning backdrop of lush, green mountains and beautiful Victoria Harbor. I knew it would be an exciting experience.
Working for the California Trade and Investment Office (no longer open), I got to travel the entire country and help plan huge events for the HK Convention and Exposition Center like the Aerospace and Aviation show, Hong Kong Fashion Week and California Wine Tasting events. There was never a dull moment! Afterhours, there’s endless shopping on Mongkok Ladies Market and Temple Street and retro nightclubs in Lan Kwai Fong. One thing I especially love about the Cantonese is their love for international music and entertainment. I randomly got to see my favorite Afro-Cuban jazz group, Cubanismo, perform at the Kwai Tsing Theater and they let me meet the entire band.
The Islands and Beyond
But my favorite part of living in Hong Kong was sailing out along the different islands and visiting the countryside. I was lucky enough to know a lot of locals who would go sailing every weekend and bring me along. Notice I look a little pale in the pictures? That’s because I have no sea legs! I get dreadfully sea sick on boats, but this doesn’t stop me (or my food) from sailing. Don’t skip a visit the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery atop Po Fook Hill and the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping Plateau. It is worth it just to get out of the city and see it from a different perspective.
And if you are there in the summer my FAVORITE event is the Dragon Boat Races! Every year, this ancient sporting event is transformed into an international boat carnival in Victoria Harbour. The boats themselves are decorated with awesome dragonry and the team paddlers race accompanied to the beat of a drum while onlookers throw rice.
5 Minutes of Fame
After months of making new friends and finally feeling at home, I was asked to do something completely unusual. It turns out that one of the people I had befriended is a fairy famous rock star in Hong Kong and he asked me to dance at his upcoming concert. At the time, I was still dancing professionally and thought it would be no big deal. We rehearsed for a few weeks and then hit the stage, but had no idea it would be a packed venue with 10s of thousands of people! Backstage, I got to meet all of the HK celebrities that I would watch in Cantonese films and people were excited about the “American” dancing on stage with my friend, Jun. I took almost no photos, but ended up in the Hong Kong News the next day and my friends asked me to go on tour through Asia with them the rest of the year. I guess you could say I ended my stay with 5 minutes of fame in Hong Kong.