Hong Kong day 3 — In pictures

When I am in Asia, I like to take pictures of things that I don’t understand and then make up improbable stories to explain them.

For example, the picture above is of a young model and her angry, jealous, and overprotective stuffed animal boyfriend. She thinks she can fix him; she hopes she can smooth out his rough edges and bring out the teddy bear that lies within. He is both a jerk and a stuffed animal, but he may spend his life in total denial of both of these facts. They think they are in love, and perhaps they are. Their friends know the relationship is doomed, but they are holding their tongues; they know that when friends try to get in the way of two clueless lovers, it is the friendship, not the relationship, that will suffer.

Buddhist Vassar Chinese Medical College. No relation to Vasser College in the United States.

“Buddhist Vassar Chinese Medical College.” It looks like something that can’t be explained, but oddly, I actually do know the story behind the Buddhist Vassar Chinese Medical College. Once I was walking on one of the jungle trails near the peak of Hong Kong island. I saw a group of people posing for a picture with a banner that read “Vassar Reunion” or something of that kind. My friend and I went to go talk to the people in the picture.

“So you went to Vassar?”


“Oh. My cousin went there.”

“Wait, your cousin went to a college in Hong Kong? You are American.”

“Vassar is in Hong Kong?”

“Well, this Vassar is in Hong Kong.”

“Vassar has a Hong Kong branch?”

“No. The founder of the Hong Kong Vassar university went to Vassar in the United States. She returned to Hong Kong to create a university. She named the university Vasser, just like the college that she attended.”

“Thanks. That makes sense.”

I love the cheerful, earnest, straight-laced bossiness of Hong Kong civil servants. So wholesome!

I met a new friend on the plane ride from Zurich to Hong Kong. She’s a Kiwi who was visiting Europe and then Hong Kong on business.We hit it off during the 13 hours we spent together in our cramped row of seats.

She said she had never been to Hong Kong before. I said I’d be happy to show her around some of my favorite places in Hong Kong when she was free.

A few days later we went to Lamma Island, a small island due West of Hong Kong Island. It’s populated by HK natives and expat hippies. There are no cars on the island; people get around by foot or on bicycle.

The main village in Lamma. The bike parking lot next to the ferry pier.
“Dollarful Real Estate Agency.” I love it. The day care center next to a vegetarian restaurant.
The main strip on Lamma Island. The view of Hong Kong Island from the highest point in Lamma Island.
Lamma’s main village at sunset. The sun setting over Lantau Island.
Container ships in HK’s harbor are the size of New York city blocks. They slide along gracefully with a low faint diesel hum.
The tallest building is my former workplace, the International Commerce Centre. My office was 3/4 of the way up, on the 77th floor. An ingenious light system installed in the windows transforms the entire building into a screen for animations. You can see a still frame of an animation on the side.
A Phoenix SPD15 double-tube men’s bicycle. A Hong Kong classic. If you walk around the markets in Hong Kong, you will see men and women hauling cargo using these rusty workhorses.
I’ve always envied people who commute to work via HK ferry. They get to see views like this during the summer months. It beats the MBTA.
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