... always leading up to more thoughts
This pace I've set on is at times tiring, toting around everything from place to place. I had just left Kevin, who met me in Central a few minutes ago and made my way to the East Rail line of the MTR, which so far has been extremely efficient, clean and easy to follow. Now, having taken a bus to K.'s neighborhood, I am surrounded by crystal-like buildings erupting everywhere. He comes to meet me and we zip up fifteen stories to his small apartment.
Mr. K. doesn't want to be identified, but his name is so common, mentioning it couldn't possibly give away his identity.Nevertheless, I'll call him K. Meeting a person like him the first day of my trip is like seeing all the giant sequoias on your fist trip to California. A tidal wave of thoughts and viewpoints crash over me while talking to him. Educated in Stony Brook University in NY, and having lived in french Canada for a long time, this multilingual guy can wrap around you a thousand times in five seconds. With a smile, K. rants and raves (and often ravages) every and any topic in the current world. His interests are mainly focused on the Occupy movement worldwide and in Hong Kong and on education. Other interests are better left unmentioned here.
Tall and very thin, K. immediately downloads his entire view on couch surfing on me and knocks me out for three seconds. Of course he doesn't see that, I sit there quietly and listen attentively. In many way he's right, hosting loafers or recent graduates wanting to change the world by helping Hong Kong with such-and-such third world problem may be the least interesting guests to this strongly opinionated guy. He staunchly states that I'm an exception he's willing to make, since I'm Colombian (and from the U.S., a fact he's willing to probe insistently). But his probes waiver in context constantly, from sardonic to scrutinizing, cynical to comical, until I start to catch K.'s flow and jump in the current. We find our common francophone vein and plunge right in, he in a easy flowing Quebecois sort of sung in cantonese, and I with my scholastic, terribly proper, and out of use/rusty french. I catch most of his meaning and I manage to converse about cultural topics despite my limited vocabulary. The small apartment grows with his tales of Montreal life and my distinctions of South American spanish. Soon it's time for lunch.
Tai Po Market area is a very Chinese place. Not a lot of foreigners venture there. So both K. and I get curious looks while we saunter through the neighborhood. The streets are filled with people, despite the hot and humid air. Street-level stores line the color washed buildings. Despite his cynicism, K. is actually a sweet guy. He takes me to see the market. It is conspicuously located inside a six story building. The floors are packed with fresh seafood, butcher shops galore, dried goods, vegetables, clothes. The alluring smells change corner to corner, some shock the nose, some blend making scents never before imagined. I get a feeling K. is enjoying this deep inside, that he watches me while he walks lankily besides me, his long and thin arms clasped behind his back, his neck sticking forward, his ears pointing back. Strangely, the same building that sells raw meat in the open air (for 18 hours, maybe more...) houses the local Library and other offices. We land a seat in a food court and eat.