If you’ve been to Hong Kong and explored the maze that is Mong Kok then you’ll instantly recognise what I am talking about right now. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure (I use that word lightly) of wandering through its streets then I’ll quickly paint the picture by telling you that is the most densely populated area on earth and on a Sunday afternoon then you could mistake it for harbouring every man and his dog within its perimetres – so yes, it’s a tad busy.
I know a lot of people manage to live in Hong Kong without ever going local. By that I mean, they live in a little island bubble, go out for drinks in western style restaurants and have an expat circle of friends. Some people, unbelievably, haven’t even been to Kowloon side except to visit the airport. Let me tell you that Hong Kong has a lot more to it than the island.
I spent a year living in grimy Mong Kok in all its glory. It was busy, it was dirty and it was a real Hong Kong experience. Angry Hong Kongers shouting at each other, the smell of stinky tofu and literally fighting to get anywhere for the sheer density of people. Sometimes, Mong Kok brings a smile to my face – I think, I lived here, I lived in the thick of it. I saw the street performers like they were my neighbours, I ate the questionable street food and I navigated its mazes without a second thought. Sometimes, I think how the hell did I manage that. How on earth did I even get home on an evening?
It’s a place that summons only the extremes of emotions. You either love it or you hate it and you can change your mind about it on a daily basis. This weekend, I visited once again. Nothing had changed besides the new additional street performer who dances topless whilst a dog perches on his shoulders. Thank you Mong Kok.