Apparently, when I travel, either I travel with a man or I travel alone. Hong Kong, for some reason, is the exception to my either-or. The two times I visited, I did both–by this I mean I traveled to and from Hong Kong alone, but spent time with a man while I was there. In 2010 I attended a conference with good friend V, who flew in from Singapore (or Manchester?) while I flew in from Manila. Last November, I attended a poetry festival with my plus one A, who flew in from Manila while I flew in from Albany. Consequently, it is with Hong Kong that I associate The Dramatic Airport Scene–well, not really with V, but with A, and by dramatic, I mean one-sided dramatic, since only one of the pair is high strung (sino kaya? haha.). After living in separate countries for months, there’s nothing like the (oh so cosmopolitan) thrill of meeting again in the airport of a third country for a week-long tryst (and work for me too, but it’s ridiculous to call a poetry festival work). And of course, nothing like having to get on separate planes a week later to make you feel like crap.
But Hong Kong itself with a man, i.e., A, was lovely. It’s much easier to be the anxious person that I am when he’s around–the socials (and there were a number) are more bearable, the public speaking tasks less nerve-wracking (one person in the room is surely rooting for you!), and the pressure to comprehend city maps non-existent (I can handle maps if I have to, but to A, plotting routes is sheer joy). Funny, though, how quickly we absorbed Hong Kong into our travel routine of holing up–a routine compatible with beaches and small towns (our travel lineup so far), but not exactly with a huge city. And yet there we were, spent after a half day of flaneur-ing (granted, we also had a lot of “work” events to attend), opting instead to spend the rest of our free time on languid breakfasts in the hotel and long hours lounging and lazing about in our room. We did spend a good amount of time enjoying our view–a combo of mountains, train tracks, skyscrapers, and a culvert! “Ang ganda ng Hong Kong!” we said to each other whenever we looked out the window.