Thursday, 4 October 2007

Pork, Peak, Parasol

Hong Kong.

After a troubled (meaning restless-lack-of-sleep, rather than dark-night-of-the-soul) night and a heavy breakfast, courtesy of the multi-continent buffet breakfast at the hotel (of which, more later), I found myself strolling without aim along the King's Road.

(This profusion of familiar names is of great amusement to me. Here I am - here we all are, indeed - 6000 miles from home, in a different country, where they speak a different language and everything, and the roads have got the same names. Brilliant!)

Along the way, I passed a great many shops and market stalls selling all variety of every day items, many of which I regarded with a tourist's fascination and easy disdain. One particularly interesting one - a butcher - had a range of pork cuts displayed on hooks about the stall, while the men worked at reducing the larger pieces of once-pig to their more culinarily-practical component parts.

Hanging on one of the hooks, the complete pluck including the identifiable liver, kidneys, lights and even intestine.

Meanwhile, shoppers were poking and prodding away as they made their choice, and although I did not myself investigate in similarly haptic fashion, my impression was of that sort of jellied consistency that comes of particularly fresh meat.


Thence, by circuitous routes, to Victoria Peak, by foot and tram, and many long minutes of hot queuing in the humidity of the late morning.

The view from the Peak would have been breath-taking had it not been for the haze of smog drifting into the basin of the city. Luckily, the short climb was sufficiently steep to rob some of the party of their breath in any event.

And so to parasols; the simple and expedient solution to the problem of shielding oneself from the powerful and intimidating glare of the sun. There are a huge number here, carried by members of most of the generations, from the teen-a-like to the aged.

This culture presents many contrasts to the one with which I am most familiar. But for some reason, it's the parasols that really bring home the fact that I'm in a foreign country.

Signs in Hong Kong

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