Sometimes I need a day in the city. Usually it's because I have to, but sometimes I simply need a change of pace. Too much calm can drive you crazy.
I go into central Hong Kong maybe once every two weeks. It isn't that far away: a five-minute bike ride to the pier (unless I'm running late and I can do it in three), then a 30- or 55-minute ferry ride, depending on whether it's a fast or slow boat, followed by a six or seven minute walk into the heart of the central business district, where I can hop on a tram, bus or the MTR subway train.
I feel like a tourist every time I go into town. It's like entering the midway of a carnival. The Impressionist-like splatter of colorful signs, crowds, taxi horns, pile drivers, gigantic outdoor video monitors blaring incomprehensible nonsense, all excite me. Sitting in a cafe with people jabbering all around me is stimulating. When I need to write, I'm sometimes more productive in a noisy, hectic environment than at home, where the only sturm und drang comes from birds running and fighting on the aluminum roof my home studio.
When I go into town so infrequently, a lot of chores have stacked up, so I run around to one shop after another, picking up parts and supplies and spices, browse a book shop, and save a little time to window shop--though I'm always disappointed. Hong Kong is hell for men to window shop. 99 percent of all stores are mind-numbingly boring women's clothes, shoes and cosmetics.
By the end of the day I've had enough. I'm exhausted from running around, the noise and hyperactivity overload my senses, and the air pollution makes my lungs hurt. Why do I do this to myself? I don't have to be here! My attitude sure has changed in just a few hours. I return to the ferry, drained.
Coming back into Mui Wo, I could almost hug my bike I'm so glad to be back in a truly civilized place, where the air doesn't make you sick, people nod and say hello, and the loudest noise is the ding of a bicycle bell.
As I lead my bike down the home walkway, seen in the photo, the dogs bark with pleasure. I come in the front door and take off my shoes. I won't be wearing them until my next dose of the city, though I can't imagine going back. I've had my fix for the next couple weeks. I'm glad to be back home in my house and village.