Trademark

ASIA & CHINA - THE "KEEP ON SMILING" TOUR

Hong Kong Postcard

HONG KONG

"WEST MEETS EAST"

Whether it was easy to navigate the short distance from mainland China into Hong Kong depended on who you listened to.

Obviously I had listened to all the wrong sorts of people and found myself going back and forth through Chinese customs, until many hours later, I found myself at the place I had originally planned to be, Kowloon, central Hong Kong.

It had finally taken the coercion of a police officer, securing me a free bus ride to a metro station, and the understanding of strangers.

They understood; I was a stranger, in a strange land and needed help.

Skyline across harbour at night

A strange land where money was the most important symbol, etched on the Gucci and Louis Vuitton hand bags of the image-striven, skinny, feline youth.

Window dressing in the bright-lit alleyways that led to the metros, bombarded in the malls, this was a different world; far from the Tibetan-edge I had passed through.

Hong Kong was at the summit; of all that life.

For it was life, an endless circle, a treadmill, where those that control the strings win.

But we all feel like winners… until the end.

******

Flamingo birds in park

But I was not in Hong Kong to feel depressed about society and the unattainable women wearing Gucci designer accessories.

Far from it!

I was there due to a visa requirement, but more importantly I was in Hong Kong to watch the All Blacks play a quarter-final match in the 2007 Rugby World Cup on a pub's big television screen.

The match was against France, but it did not matter.

Tram car and skyline in background

We had been told that all was in control, that we were New Zealand, a small country on a big stage and that at the end of the game we would all feel like winners.

Believe…it will be done.

There was noting left for me to do but wait - in a Hong Kong titty bar where I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting beside me. He was a pilot from Kenya, used to be a UN peace keeper and now spent his time visiting all the titty bars of the world, courtesy of morphing into a commercial pilot.

His young, female co-pilot would wake him up when it was time to land.

Double decker bus

And that is where I had to get to – at a pub with a big screen television, watching the All Blacks play a quarter-final match against France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

It had taken all my powers of organisation to be there, following the yellow brick road from mainland China into Hong Kong.

Though everything around and about me was now unattainable, I had been assured that by the end of the game I would be come out a winner.

It just took belief.

Final score: France 20 New Zealand 18

Sunset over a harbour
Buddha statue