Saturday, March 31, 2007


After dim sum, we went for a short walk to Hong Kong Park, a beautiful, calm green space tucked in the hectic city. The park boast of fountains, leafy green trees, blooming flowers, whistling birds and an artificial lake home to colorful koi and turtles, who were in hiding because of the light rain. Its very lushness makes quite a strange juxtaposition with the towering modern buildings that surround and dwarf it.

It was Sunday, so that meant it was the day of wedding photography. There is so little green space in Hong Kong that all engaged couples take their photos ahead of time at the park--it's one of the few picturesque places. Since it was slightly drizzling, there weren't as many brides as there normally are. We only counted six. I wondered what they do when the days are fine and the place is packed with brides. Take turns in front of the lake, I suppose. Maybe there's a number system.

But their finery makes a stark contrast with the Filipino ladies sitting underneath the HSBC building whom we saw on our way home. Sunday is the day these low-income wage earners have off; most of them have no private space to relax in. So, they create their own in public areas--like underneath overpasses and buildings. I'm told every Sunday enormous masses gather here, sitting on flattened cardboard--talking and gossiping. Underneath the HSBC, their words echo into nonsensical chatter and they seem to me to be the birds of Hong Kong's giant concrete trees.