I have been lucky to have visited Hong Kong twice in my life. If you discount places visited for the sole purpose of meeting friends or relatives, then the only overseas destination I have visited more often than HK is Vancouver. It is a place that I have visited at one of the most traumatic times of my life, and yet somewhere I have only the very fondest of memories of.
In fact, my relationship with Hong Kong is full of such contradictions. I love the place, yet it is precisely the sort of bustling, noisy, city that I normally despise. I am scared of heights, yet I have spent an enjoyable hour in Felix, the restaurant which gives you a view over Kowloon and, yes, taken the opportunity to use the bathroom and ‘pee over Kowloon’ at the glass urinals. I’ve ridden a jetski and loved it, despite not being a fan of anything to do with the sea, and it is there that I have eaten tripe, jellyfish and any number of other things that I wouldn’t touch at home.
And it is because of these contradictions that I love the place. I love the fact that you can eat nothing but Chinese food all week and still play cricket at the weekend. I love the fact that going out for a curry is a major event, but that ‘English’ food is cheaper than in England. And I love the fact that whatever technology you want, you can buy, but you can also go and shop in more markets per square mile than anywhere in the Western world.
Would I like to go back again? Absolutely. Will I go back again? I don’t know. There are other places in the world that I have always wanted to go, such as Helsinki and Iceland, and plenty of places that I feel I ought to go, before I start repeating myself. On the other hand, I don’t want my son to miss out on visiting such a unique and special place.