Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pre Paradise

An hour and 45 minutes between ferries.

To Lamma Island.
Half an hour and you're far away from the bustling, crazy city of hongkong.
Half hour away from the depressions of a city too polluted to be humane.

That's what we do to ourselves. We humans.

We make our lives miserable in the race to get bigger, better, richer and presumably happier.
We are just hostages in the cities.

Some live up in the hills or on top of the cloud scratching towers, with pools and gardens and helipads
Remote controlling the crowds down here in the streets, in offices and factories.
We're just face less characters in a video game.
Presumably devoid of feelings.

They glide by in chauffeur driven Roll Royces.
Some have pink ones. Not chauffeurs. But Rollses.
And furs.

They drive through crowds as if the people were invisible.
Forcing their way.
Step aside.
Let the shiny bullies through.

The windows are always dark.
Hiding the smirks. Or maybe they just ignore us?

The ones who are praised for their contributions to society.
Fine noble citizens above the man in the street.

Plaques in the fine club houses. Donation here, donation there.
Admiration. Invisible hats doffed wherever they appear.

With money stolen from 1 dollar an hour workers.
Most of which couldn't afford the ferry ride to Lamma Island even if they'd gotten this far.
14 hongkong dollars, and 80 cents.
Not quite two US dollars. One way.

I missed the boat.
Perhaps a metaphor too.
But I do have 1,80.
Next ferry in an hour and a half.

The waiting hall is empty.
It won't fill up until just before the next ferry is due.

I'm going to Lamma to walk in the mountains.
Eat some seafood down at the jetty restaurants, Drink a beer.
Escape for a moment.
I'm privileged.
I don't earn a dollar an hour.
But I don't have a rolls.
And i don't live up in the hills.
which is why we can be kept prisoners.
There are levels.
So there's hope.
Happiness comes from within.
I'm trying.

The empty waiting hall doesn't feel like an escape.
More like the isolation cell in the city that keeps you hostage.

I'm not going to Lamma to escape the masses.
That would be impossible.
Hundreds of city dwellers on each ferry just want to get out of the city for a bit.
So there's company right there.

The nature is a bit too inhospitable to be navigated freely.
Or without getting bitten by some surprised snake.
One follows cemented walking paths around and crisscrossing the island.

Hongkong is full of these walk-about cement lanes.
On the main island itself. On most outlaying islands. in Kowloon, and in the New Territories.

Sitting there alone in the empty terminal I look at the world through my camera lens as usual.

right there, right then, it's bleak and lonely, albeit only a short walk away from the crowds and the glittery and the glass towers and the trams and the Rolls Royces.
Here it's relatively quiet.

Funny, I never hear music in the mix of sounds that is HK.

Only at night, in my apartment can I hear people singing. Out of tune. Karaoke.

Getting closer to the departure of next ferry more people appear.
I know the light is not changing. But the view through my lens seems brighter.
I'm not sure the expression on the other escapists are brighter than mine.
But I'm trying.
What right do I have to be gloomy?

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