After a few days of unpacking boxes, re-washing dusty plates, re-ironing horribly wrinkled clothes, buying tons of food to fill the empty fridge, re-filling the pantry, pampering and reassuring the dog after a solitary moving-trip from Shanghai to Hong Kong, today finally school restarted.
School uniform brand new, nose crushed on the glass of the school bus, nervous smiles and eyes filled with expectations … I admit I teared up with two tears…
I went home, washed the breakfast plates and turned to the mountain of boxes that still needed settling. My first thought was:
“Today, I’m just doing all out cleaning of the house.”
The second one:
“Fuck the house; I’m finally going to make a trip to town.”
So to combine the practical with the fun I take a bill to pay in any 7 Eleven and bring a list of missing things that can only be found in an Ikea store!!
Hong Kong you are mine!!
The first difference I notice between Shanghai and Hong Kong is that out the elevator door there is not the alarming sign of today’s pollution levels. For accuracy, the levels of PM2.5 are monitored until exhaustion just from the expats. My favorite is: Hazardous!! Everyone may experience more serious health effects!
“We are 205 of PM2.5! Close the windows! Put on masks and do not do any physical activity! Forget the masks, don’t breathe until tomorrow.”
In Hong Kong however, out the elevator door you can find the reassuring typhoon’s alert levels. I am puzzled, I look outside…in fact there is a strong wind…
Typhoon’s levels and tropical rainfall, l’m shocked! I read with more attention, for every type of “natural disaster” you have a recommendation about what to do: stay at home, avoid trams, not bring children to school, remove all items from the balcony, seal the windows with scotch tape, stay home and listen to the radio in case the typhoon alert increases in degree. Are you serious? It is just rain!!
The list is endless:
Black Rainstorm, Red Rainstorm, Amber Rainstorm, Typhoon 1, Typhoon 3, Typhoon 8 and above … sticazzi!!
But nothing can stop me, I’m determined, I’m Marco Polo, I’m Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I’m Discovery Channel, I’m the Lonely Planet.
I get on the shuttle bus that takes me from my compound located in the South part of the island to Wan Chai in downtown. The trip is very enjoyable, we drive along the sea, we plunge into the green and lush mountain, we enter this wonderful chaotic City. There is also a cool guy on the bus with me, he wears a spruced black T-shirt, he has nice biceps, a dazzling smile, I take a deep look, aahhh, It’s nice not to live in China anymore.
The wind has grown considerably but it makes this humid heat more bearable, I would say the perfect weather for my first walk in Hong Kong. I decide not to use the map and instead walk randomly towards Wan Chai (the much more ‘Chinese’ and spacious area, rich in culture and traditions) in the direction of Causeway Bay (the most modern area, full of people, offices and wonderful shops).
I walk to the corner of the road and suddenly it’s raining. But it is a rain with a capital R. That rain that comes down everywhere in the same way like a giant shower as shown in American films about the Vietnam war… this is the reason the island is so luxuriously green. I find shelter under the roof of a temple, I breathe in the incense, I admire the golden statues, I patiently wait for the rain to pass.
The heavy rain lasts 10 minutes but has left all the roads flooded. When I take my walk I feel a little less cheerful, flats are not the right shoes to walk on the water and I’m not Jesus.
I try to be positive, I observe the stores selling fish covered under salt and various kinds of dehydrated fruit, I listen to the sounds of the local language, so different from the Mandarin I’m used to. And then it rains. Again.
This time I’m uncovered without shelter, but I see 50 yards away a 7-eleven. Despite the flats I’m wearing I run at Usain Bolt’s speed, but when I’m finally there, I’m soaked, I look more like a synchronized swimmer girl than Bolt. Indeed I look like Aldo Giovanni and Giacomo who do those routines of synchronized swimming girls.
I sneak into the shop dripping wet, I remember that I have to pay the bill, I do it and at the counter I add an umbrella, maybe it helps.
I walk out, walk and walk and walk. The flat shoes make a “squack” at each step that I take as if I had a whistle inside, plus they are all wet and, besides being terribly annoying, they tickle my feet. I lower the back of the shoes under my heels, now I really walk like a duckling making squacking sounds. I decide to take refuge in Ikea, buy two things that I miss and try to come back using the notorious Hong Kong public transportation. I do “strangely” take my hand out of the shopping and I load on my shoulders a giant Ikea blue bag weighed by the napkins, hangers, toilet brush and other things, most of it useless, damn me.
Now it is time for Google Maps, I type in the final destination, with one metro stop and a 16X mini green bus I should be home in 40 minutes. Hurray.
Rain increases, my feet are bleeding, the horrible wind reverses my new umbrella, Ikea bag falls. I feel like a blondie (with all respect for the blondies). I’m no longer Marco Polo, I’m not the Lonely Planet tourist guide, I’m Marilyn Monroe and I’m a moron. I’m Marilyn Moron.
If they call it Typhoon and not little spring rain, there will be a fucking motive.
The wind confuses me and also the GPS, it sends me a bit to the right a bit to the left, I turn around to myself like the goose in the Italian board game, Game of the Goose.
I look like a duck with horrible flat shoes holding a reversed umbrella.
I walk with the phone under my nose, turn right and left, roll it over myself, someone maybe will ask me how many Pokemons I have found. Finally, I arrive on the right street where, according to my GPS, the mini bus stop should be. I ask very kindly, without puffing, to a lovely caretaker, where can I find the fucking stop of the fucking 16X green mini bus?
“I never heard of it…”
WHAT???? ARE YOU KIDDING???
OK, I take a taxi. I walk and I walk and I walk and I take it in the wrong direction (sense of orientation is not my strength, definitely blondie.) I walk and I walk and I walk again, I cross the street, I find a taxi in the right direction.
I finally come home. On the front of my gate there is a 16X mini green bus that looks at me blinking it’s headlights like Marilyn Monroe.