Life in HK was extraordinary, two remarkable decades of working and living there between 1977-1997. It was like running up the up escalator, the pace was so fast and intense. Everybody worked hard, the most can-do environment I have ever known. Arriving there in May 1977 at the old Kai Tak airport, which meant the planes swooped low over HK, and you felt you could reach out and take the clothes from the washing lines or gather up some children running around on the rooftop playgrounds. And the runway that jutted out into the harbour, planes, container ships, pleasure boats, yachts, junks and ferries all coming together in the bright sunshine dancing on the sea.
The first journey into HK central to the hotel where we stayed for 6 weeks was noisy, hot and full of exotic smells. That mix of nullahs, the storm drains with their stagnant water, hot peanut oil, as street food was fried and crisped, stinky bean curd, frangipani and ginger lilies. Getting used to nightfall at 6pm without fail, no gentle dusk, monsoon rain that turned roads into streams, steps into waterfalls and then the sun set everything steaming again.
We lived in high rise apartment blocks, the first flat one chosen because the children could reach the lift button for the 12th floor. This apartment was next to the Repulse Bay Hotel, in all its original colonial glory. From an opera box balcony, we could look down to Repulse Bay, some say named after HMS Repulse by the British but its Chinese name was Tsin Sui Wan, Shallow Water Bay. And if you looked to the right there was Middle Island and Deep Water Bay, a sheltered mooring for boats.
And later we kept a boat there but that is another story