In my few years on and moving around this planet, I have found that there comes a turning point when you go someplace new, and I always think of this turning point as the First Good Day.
It’s not that every day before it was Bad, or that every day after will be smooth sailing, but it is the first day in a strange place where you feel the flickering promise of contentment, where you have gained enough of a degree of familiarity that you can live out an entire day without major snags of incomprehension and you can truly enjoy where you are, rather than suffer the inconveniences.
This new place may not be home, but someday it could be.
My First Good Day in Hong Kong came on day 6. We had accomplished most of our errands and had a day before school activities began and we decided it was time to explore one of Hong Kong’s famed tropical shores.
Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis, but it is also a jungle. Hints of its wild nature are present even in the most populous districts of the city, with vines dangling over street corners and tree roots bulging out of the sidewalks. Gorgeous, cerulean sea vistas are impossible to avoid (not that you would ever want to, of course).
The ocean and the forest feel more connected to the city here than any other place I have been, illustrated to me by the city bus that picked us up right at our building and dropped us off right across the street from Repulse Bay, like it was all totally chill and normal (the 973 or 973X, FYI).
To me, that is totally not chill or normal. We are talking Manhattan-caliber city life directly next door to a Caribbean-caliber beach. You can’t beat that.
The beach at Repulse Bay is supposed to be one of the most crowded in Hong Kong, so on a scorching Saturday in August in the fourth most densely populated city in the world, I expected to have a difficult time finding a spot to put a towel. The beach was certainly well attended, with plenty of selfie-stick touting tourists and joyous children wandering about, but it was nothing like the Memorial-Day-at-the-Jersey-Shore crowds I was expecting.
Also unexpected? The temperature of the water. In hindsight, we should have known, but as we took our first cautious steps into the water we gasped aloud. It was warm – nothing like the northern waters we have grown accustomed to, and simply divine to swim in. There were also a handful of diving platforms stationed about 50 feet away from the shoreline, and if you are worried that that could be a safety hazard, take heart in the fact that there were not only lifeguards on shore, but lifeguards on floating platforms as well, equipped with long oars for coasting swiftly over to any struggling swimmers.
Repulse Bay has a recently completed boardwalk-esque strip called The Pulse. Every restaurant along this strip has a very laid back western vibe. We decided to treat ourselves at The Limewood with knock-you-off-your-feet cocktails and fusion seafood. It was a somewhat pricey place, and the bill looked especially fearsome presented in Hong Kong Dollars.
Walking back to our spot on the beach, we managed to snag a free wrap and beer due to a Deliveroo promotion, so we decided it all evened out. Nothing tastes better than free. There are also no open-container laws here, so… enjoy 😉
After a languid afternoon spent swimming, chatting, reading, and listening to music, we traipsed back to the bus for home and I felt myself glow. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the piña colada, maybe it was our new friends, or maybe it was just Hong Kong itself.
Maybe it was starting to feel like home.