Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Report Card: Hong Kong

I had been dreading the onset of HK winters since last october. Previous experience had led me to expect a season overrun with gloomy, sunless, grey skies and over-wrought with muggy air and inspirational for suicidal tendencies. I was ready for it to arrive a trifle too early in November and then subbornly refuse to leave even past March. I Hated it.

But this year has been literally a pleasant surprise. Yesterday, and many days behind it, have been sunny enough for a tee and even a tan. Which is why I went off with friends for a day of hiking / picnic at Sai Kung. It was a beach we'd never visited before - Long Ke - and turned to be faaaaaaaaaaar more beautiful than we'd expected. Emerald green waters has see-throughness that let one spy the rocks and grains below. Marking the shore's boundary was powdery white sand that just sunk under our steps and made us wish we were carrying beachwear with us!

This hike essentially marks the last rounds I and Vipul are making of the places we love in Hong Kong. With 19 months in this country behind us and just two more days to go before we fly back, we have a last darshan agenda that we are carrying out. Our other favourites (already done) are Stanley, Shek O, and Avenue of Stars.

It is probably also time for me to do a countdown of the top-3 things about HK (in no particular order) that I'm going to miss:

The hills and hiking trails
Not that I was trekking often, but when I did, it was marked with green seas and sigh-ful beaches. And they were so accessible - some just three minutes from my place, and some half an hour of a bus ride away. The closest I'll get to doing this in Mumbai are the monsson treks, for which I'll have to get up at an ungodly pre-dawn 5am :(

Seeing my tax-dollar being spent and not wasted
HK is small, and HK is efficient, and though it taxes me much lesser than India, it gives me back much more. I've seen roads being repaired, and had Government officials help me out politely, got my tax clearances in a few hours, managed my PF through a website... it all adds up to an unbelievable convenience that my tax money is financing for me. I LOVE paying for it!

A month from now, I'm going to be subjected to the expecses of the renaming of another city and weep as 35% of my income (or more) will go into printing new letterheads, and direction signs, and all the red-tape-y things that result from a strategically inconsequential decision. And I'm going to be paying an MP oaf for attending the parliament to take an oafy decision that only increases my expenses!!! Yes, I am expecting a lot of frustration.

Peaceful traffic
Don't expect to explain this!

Of course, as I wrote in an earlier post, there are a thousand things in India that I miss in HK. And for now, I think they'll make up for all that's lacking!


Anonymous said...

Yours is the first blog that I have frequented often. Not that I need to certify; but you certainly write very well.

- Gurdeepak

Gurdeepak said...

You were some inspiration to create a blog. Although I've copied on your template :)

Anuja said...

I am sure you're my most frequent reader! Thx :) looking forward to read your blog too!

Gurdeepak said...

Haha! That's true!

Anonymous said...

Heh Anu... Wish u had seen this beach sooner so you could have taken me to this seemingly beautiful place..