Hong Kong was a stop over to break up an extra-long flight, so I stayed a week. This was a time before the islands were returned to China. On my first day, I had dropped and broken my camera and once I replaced it, I stepped out of the camera store to be greeted by Aishwarya Rai’s famous face on a giant billboard.
Kowloon was not a beautiful part of the city, but hidden close by a mosque was Kowloon Park, clean, quiet, and beautifully maintained. Being the middle of summer, the shade was a welcome retreat from the hot, steamy air.
I did little that first day after sitting on a nine-hour flight, except eat and wander around close to my hotel. Chinese food had never appealed to me but I discovered that it had been watered down to suit the local taste in the part of the world where I once lived. In Hong Kong, the dishes had a totally different flavour and I can still picture the restaurant where I first encountered that unique blend of spices.
It seemed Chinese builders knew all along how environmentally friendly bamboo was—it grows fast and is biodegradable—because bamboo scaffolding used on Kowloon construction sites was a common occurrence. I even spotted a bamboo ladder with neat holes where the rungs were fitted when I climbed to the Peak the following day.