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Hong Kong by Bastian Fox Phelan
 

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  • If we hadn't gone out on that first night, everything would have been different. We could have stayed in our impossibly small room, sitting on bare, narrow beds while nursing sweating cans of San Miguel. The air conditioning was enough to keep us there, let alone the fatigue from last-minute packing, late-night illegal drop-offs at charity bins, the long flight, and the excitement of our first 'De Luxe' hotel room. We had escaped over the line of the hemisphere, with many more miles to go. We thought of laying low. Instead, we sent ourselves back into the clinging, humid air to part seas of people. We went out into the living city.

    Chung King Mansions, a neon blur, all the cokehashishRolexpakoras you could want. Dozens of bodies waited for the two elevators crawling up alternate floors: one even, one odd. We emerged on the street in a daze, flowed towards the harbour like water in the gutter. Bright lights flashed. Everything seemed high-speed. We moved in slow motion. A block contained more than the eye could absorb. We placed one foot after the other, craning our necks to gape at canopies of dense apartment block forests. It was the first day of winter back home. Here, summer was beginning. We sucked mango-lychee iced tea through a thick straw. Street musicians sang in English. We had been blasted out of our daily motion, recirculated into this human particle accelerator. We followed underground pedestrian passageways and emerged at the fragrant harbour, staring at the LED fantasy.

    That night we made it to the end of our street and back. It felt like we had traversed an island. My body was heavy, yours was dizzy. Both of us experiencing hyperreality induced by little sleep or time to breathe. We could have stayed at home. It would have been more comfortable. But before we left I pulled the Fool and he said: it's time to step off. You're here already. Take the next step, into whatever. The very beginning of the journey. Those new boots don't feel quite right. But they're walking the path now and every step is recorded with your body, an imprint on your soul; these sights fill your mind's eye with new visions. And you're off.

    In a few days you'll get in a cable car pulling you high above Tung Chung Bay, over those dark-green mountain peaks you saw when the plane landed. That act of faith alone will pull you out of your fear and up into the God-land of risk rewarded with spiritual support. You'll know exactly what you need to do. At the feet of the Buddha you'll sit and ask for protection. And then he'll be there: a calm and eternally loving being opening his heart to you, showing you that it's okay to do the same. You're safe. You're here. You have arrived. All the bounty and beauty that you could ever wish for is right here in this moment of connection. All possible dimensions of love unfold at once. You leave a mangosteen at the red-painted door to the temple and pray that it will be enough. But it is enough. Because you are enough. In this gigantic pulsing metropolis, every little thing counts.
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