Here I am, in my warm bed watching the sun come up beyond that familiar mountain range that divide Nara from Osaka. The same shape I watched outside of the same window frame for years since I was a teenager. I still have a few days of family time left here in Osaka. New Year is the time for family, while Christmas is more like the Valentines – couples, dates, romantic dinner, pretty presents and hotel booking, and I expect to sit down in the Japanese style room in this Scandinavian style house of my parents’ and have the traditional new year meal with a few celebratory cups of sake.
Bird cage in the morning sun

But my mind is already ahead of that. In a few days I’ll re-pack all my stuff in to the suitcase and the crumpler messenger bag, and out of the door again. Practically speaking, I do need to think about it. It is going to be in the middle of winter in Hong Kong, and I have no plan set yet. No hotels booked, nothing. I was hoping to perhaps call up an old friend and catch her for a long brunch at some yum cha joint, but it turned out my lack of early organisation was a bad move, as she will be out of town around the time of my 2.5-day stay on the islands. So now what? That is the question, isn’t it…

My first visit to Hong Kong was in January 3 years ago. After not seeing him for quite some time, I invited my brother along for a trip. We walked about the main island, and along the shopping arcade, and tried some local food. We were ill prepared, and I had (as I still do) little knowledge of where to go.

Then I had a stop-over in Hong Kong, a transit of a sort as I connected to a high speed train up into the mainland, to visit friends in Guangzhou. I walked about looking for wet markets and hawker food.

This time, I’m thinking of finding places relatively quiet, hopefully something traditional. Everything here is developed and high-rise, some friends say. Maybe. But some suggested Lantau Island. The couple and the kids I met on the bus from Osaka airport to downtown, who moved from Hong Kong to Perth almost 3 decades ago, suggested maybe that would be to my liking. My friend, who is out of town, also suggested Tai O. Well, that’s two votes.

So the next question is, where to stay? Is there a cheap guest house, with clean bed, shower and nothing else for about 10 bucks? Just walking around a quiet island, facing the big buddha, walking in the fishing village… that would surely beat the sore feet from walking on the concrete and pavement of the brand shopping arcade which look exactly like Tokyo or Sydney or Singapore…

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