Homesickness started to hit hard as I was leaving India; by that point I had been gone for three months and I was deeply missing my family and friends. Two things happened while I was in Hong Kong, one revolutionary and one fun: my mom got an iPhone and learned how to FaceTime, and I met up with the first familiar face I’d seen the whole trip. Leaving behind the masses, chaos and dirt in India for the cleanliness and order of Hong Kong was a weirdly jarring experience. Suddenly, everything was easy and in English! People were strutting around in designer labels and driving Ferraris, and everywhere I looked there was a Chanel store with people lined up outside. It was like The Capitol in the Hunger Games, and I greedily lapped up the luxury after six weeks of roughing it in India.
While there I went to the world’s tallest bar, dined in my first Michelin rated restaurant (!), ate for the first time in a (marble-floored) metro station, attended Art Basel Hong Kong, bought designer sneakers, saw a movie in a theater where the attendants wore tuxedos, and went to a mall that had priceless works of art dangling in a pink iridescent dome over a casual sitting area. Thankfully I only stayed a week, and scooted off to Beijing before I could spend all my money. Once there, my too-expensive-sneakers and I huffed and puffed up the Great Wall! It is incredibly steep, which guidebooks fail to mention. There were often stretches where I would wearily look up, dispirited and with quivering thighs, to see a wall of stairs staring stonily back at me. These stretches just so happened to coincide with my water breaks, during which I overheard conversation snippets like this:
“I – huff huff – was talking to Candice and she – huff huff – said at their hotel they get new – huff – slippers every – huff – day!!”