Last weekend, I spent a few days in Hong Kong curating and styling for an upcoming project spearheaded by a very talented friend. I got to work with the spirited, chocolate-loving Aimée Han, a brilliant photographer and overall interesting person. I have thought about what I would want to do or where to move in Asia if it weren’t Phnom Penh, and Hong Kong had been mentioned a few times as somewhere people could see me living.
After this past trip, I was assured that is not the case. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, the liveliness of the city, and the never ending supply of shopping, quirky eateries, and overall creative nature that Cambodia lacks in so many ways (for the time being) – but the stories I heard about expat life, some of the people we encountered, and the general soullessness of Hong Kong put me off. A place to visit, not to live.
I remember feeling the same way each time I visited New York. Maybe I’m just too suburban baby to take on a big city, or maybe I am just terrified of new places- but that didn’t stop me from moving to Phnom Penh, or Huntington Beach, or even Seattle from Gig Harbor. I did like Seattle, really actually loved Seattle for my few years there in my home state of Washington. The perfect mix of big and small, concrete and greenery, business and muse. In Hong Kong with all it’s different layers, sectors, and spots- I was amazed at my host’s ability to navigate the seemingly infinite hall ways of malls, restaurants, walkways, streets, MTR, and everything else in between so quickly and deftly while I bumbled behind her toting a big bag full of optical goodies with notebook and Uniball in hand- practically chasing her long legged strides. There were areas I liked more than Bangkok- much like Williamsburgh or areas of Queen Anne and while I did feel that most of the city lacked that certain panache that Cambodia has, there were moments and people that were golden.
In the end, we came away with some really fun shots of what we needed (along with a few random ones of myself), ate some delicious foods from 22 Ships, Life, noodlemi, and Mana! while I got my much needed fixes of IKEA meatballs, Reed’s Ginger Beer, Popeye’s, and McDonalds, and I got to meet a ton of people- from all walks of life, doing all sorts of things, and all making it in Hong Kong.
So while it may not be the place for me (or Aimée for that matter, she returned to Australia two days after I left!), I can see why it’s so well loved, along with the pockets and reasons that catch people and get them staying there. The motivation. The money. The matter.