Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 16, Tuesday, April 20, 2010



It was a crazy town. No, I never really wanted to go there per se, but usually I end up in places without knowing my way…and that is how I ended up there. The land of naked-hung-roasted-ducks and loads and loads of tea!

At first it seemed pretty, the lights especially. I like lights; I like when they flicker and make patterns and when they make boring tall buildings something to almost worship, like corporate shrines of unknown billionaire gods.

I didn't like the acid thrower at the night market though. The one who randomly threw acid at the customers from the roof-top. The police never caught him apparently. I was definitely planning on skipping the night market…best to leave acid incidents to the unfortunate 80s and 90s. No need for one in 2010.

Hong Kong. It glows in the dark. The gigantic mall of a place wore me out faster than I imagined. The grey, black and blue raincoats, and the similar coloured expressions on the faces of people. A gigantic ball of gloom chased me down streets always leading me into noodle places. I would eat my heart out; noodle soups, pungent smells, odds and ends of chicken and beef. I didn't want to keep my eyes open, I thought I could eat my heart free.

And then I ended up here and that too, not in my city girl shoes. I am not sure when I had the time to change them but you would be very proud because I am wearing those Timberland boots again, and gloves from eight seasons ago. I am in an island now and this one doesn't touch the South China Sea or the Pearl River, only the silver of the Pacific.

There are lots of blues here too, but mostly in the water and not on people. And green Douglas fir, Pine, Willow, Apple trees and old growths. They stun me, and then my shell-bound self feels spellbound…I feel like meditating and after a few days maybe even start to understand the quietness of the Puget Sound.

And the four thousand people of the Orcas Island smile and make me coffee every morning and pack me my leftovers after dinner. And I start feeling healthy and maybe a little stoic. And I almost start thinking the world has started and ended here and I would almost believe it too, if I hadn't just been to Hong Kong, which took away a part of me while I was slurping on noodle soups.

And just around then the sensitive, shy and reserved San Juan Islands lose a little bit of magic while I contemplate a life here versus a life everywhere else.

I see Orcas in my dreams captured by the Chinese to be made into blue whale soup and I devour it while my tongue turns midnight sapphire. And then morning comes, like right now, and I wake blue tongued, lost for words.

I try desperately to pretend like a part of the four thousand, part of the quietness of the sound but I know deep down inside I can never give up soup. So I start looking for the next pair of shoes, something between boots and stiletto, and I find a pair of sandals, I slip them on and shut my eyes to be lost again.



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