Channeling Cam Jansen

For the first time in three months I’m on my own for the evenings. Ian unexpectedly has to work at the Vietnam office for the last two weeks of my HK adventure. Thankfully he is (fingers crossed) coming home for the weekends. Anyways that tidbit is just to explain that I’ve had a disrupt in the normal schedule of things in HK. Usually post work its yoga, climbing, running or having dinner with Ian. Tonight none of these usual rituals. Instead I took the time to wander the city and ended up experiencing it in a new way: sans camera.

The wandering started with a trip to Teakha. It was my third attempt at trying out this so amazingly perfect cafe/tea house. I had book marked it on my Hong Kong To Do list way back in May – now that I’m leaving in two weeks it’s a rush to get everything done! Finally it was open and not crowded! I won’t say much about it – as that’s not the point of this ramble – except that the keemun milk tea with date & honey and roselle scone made me feel warm, content and contemplative. Just the type of mood that leads to wanderings and deep thoughts.

The shop was closing not too long after I arrived (I was fully aware of this going in, so not annoyed in the slightest) and I took the rest of my tea to go. Seven in the evening in area of Tai Ping Shan Street in Sheung Wan with no plans or direction. As I stepped outside I realized how perfect the lighting was – that time of night when no flash is needed to capture beautiful evening scenes. The area has many quieter hilly streets and eclectic stores that reminded me of La Croix-Rousse neighborhood in Lyon. Many were closing down, but the light of those still open spilled out onto the streets in such a welcoming and warm way. Why no photos? I took thousands tonight, but do not have a single one I can show you. It’s not a travesty though – as I stood there with the tea in one hand, I framed photo after photo in my mind and realized how different it felt just to be in the moment. It sounds so naive, dumb, cliche, rube writing it down, but it was the most wonderful feeling to just experience the city I either always rush through or try to document in photos.

Beautiful shot after beautiful shot came upon me. The locals lighting fires and burning paper in their red ceremonial tins on the sidewalk (for the ancestors?). The glow of the store front on the sidewalk. The back lit woman in a poofy dress. The mural on a cobblestone wall lit to look like a quilted painting. I remember all of these by channeling Cam Jansen. Like the book, I would stare at the scene and tell myself to remember it (no as bad as saying “click” as Cam did!)

It felt new and liberating to just look and wander. I might add that at the time I was listening to Children are Bored on Sundays again, which highly influenced my contemplative nature. For such a creature of habit as myself Hong Kong is sometimes such a frustrating place. Newly discovered favorite restaurants close within months. At the same time there is so much history and intrigue. It was so wonderful to find a balance for the evening.

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