At Home in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 79 of 174 › view all entries
November 29th, 2009 – by: domnicella
I walked up and down the streets in Soho (steeply hilly like San Francisco) ogling all the fashionable ex-pats eating brunch in sidewalk cafes, salivating over the “home-ness” of it all. Wandered along a street filled with kitch and random wares a local might want, like Christmas ornaments and icicle lights, and bought myself a jade ring. Why buy myself a jade ring for three times the price in HK than oh, say, sometime over the past month while I was in China? Because I couldn’t go near a tourist-trap souvenir stand without wanting to strangle someone.
I visited Mo Man Temple, an old temple proclaimed by the guidebook to be “very smoky.” I didn’t give that a second thought; I mean, what the hell is a very smoky temple? Guidebook was right: Mo Man is VERY smoky. So smoky they’ve since installed big ventilating fans in the walls in the back to try to circulate the air. It’s a small temple, and doesn’t look like much of anything on the outside. If I had stumbled upon it randomly (as opposed to seeking it out), I would have poked my head in and gone “oh, that’s neat” and not given it the admiration it’s due. There are incense coils EVERYWHERE. Big cone incense coils hanging from the ceiling side by side by side, and smaller coils interspersed here and there for good measure.
From the temple I made my way back and met David for one of my favorite activities: grocery shopping. Groceries required by an even BIGGER favorite: entertaining! David invited his friends over for a wine and cheese party, and not only do I get to hang out and feast on wine and cheese (did you get that? WINE AND CHEESE!!), but I get to help shop and prepare and cook for eight -- does it get any better?? He wanted to do Italian, so we went to an Italian specialty store and sampled half a dozen different cheeses before making our selection.
Once we got the groceries home it was after 4 o’clock and we realized we were both a bit hungry, having not eaten since cereal in the morning. I mentioned seeing a Nepalese place on his street (literally EVERY cuisine you could want in Soho, as you might imagine is in high demand in an ex-pat neighborhood: British, French, Spanish, Australian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, bars, pubs -- you name it), and he hadn’t tried it yet so we ate there.
The wine and cheese party was a hit: a delicious selection of cheeses (an indulgence for everyone, me above all), fresh sliced caprese salad, grapes and pears and olives, a giant vat of penne with my fresh chunky tomato and onion sauce, and even ice cream and berries for dessert.
Needless to say, the wine and cheese party was the highlight of my weekend. No, scratch that. Living with David and frolicking in Soho was the highlight. All of it. I felt right at home, was thrilled to meet so many amazing people, and absolutely loved the neighborhood and feeling like I was going about a regular weekend, rather than touring. It was so great to be “regular” and have some down time.
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