International Writers Magazine:
Alone in Macau
How does it feel, to be on your own, with no direction home,
like a complete unknown....
-The Rolling Stones (sure hit the spot, ouch.)
my first lonely day I had experienced over the last few months
since I've passed by a few countries flying solo. Despite being
on my own then it was different in Europe. Hong Kong is very Westernised
and people speak/read English ( British ruling untill 1996) but
it doesn't mean you really meet them, or for that matter have a
desire to, unless you go to a bar, in which, that's where I've met
all of whom I know here. Instant new friends for an hour or two.
I'm usually trying
to avoid eye contact from the guy who will leave his seat across the
room and pull up the barstool beside me when there are six available
and willing stools around, tools, fools. Or I simply want to be alone
and have a decent drink with my book, though a bar scene isn't
really appropriate. This city has a livley vibe I have just discovered,
people dancing till 5am on a Monday night.
Yesterday I went to Macau, a Portugese Colonised island an hour away
by a nauseatingly rocky turbo-jet ferry. Bizzare to see things written
in Portuchinese, like signs saying 'rue de la ian hon'.
Macau is so seperate from Hong Kong. It's hard to describe in fact.
I didn't really know what to do there because it was two whole worlds
apart from each other. The infamous gambling area which every building
is a hotel or a flashy, elaborate casino, fucking gigantic these places!
Vegas-esque appeal. The shopping again, no doubt enticing and of course
phenomenal. However I have lasted this long wothout entering a single
store so why would I bother now? So for someone penniless who doesn't
work the slots (I could have a clever comment here!) who cannot shop
or dine in this wonderous and jaded place such as Macau, what else
was there for me to do really?
Go to the other part of town, dive into the dive you could say, see
how locals live. I did and that's probably why I felt lonely, I was
a complete anomally being the only non-resident walking around, careful
not to get hit by a scooter or pick- pocketed. It's a shame that I had pre-judged
the locals already being there only 10 minutes, for I felt vulnerable.
They are lovely people going about their day doing their own thing,
but I felt like the only Westerner there that wasn't in a casino or
Gucci shop, so I got a few glares, glances really, and I'm half Chinese
for crying out loud! No one, needless to say, attempted at hijacking
my bag and no crazy driver aimed for my ass, though came close
cause they whip by terribly fast without warning. So I realized
that my paranoia of being out of my comfort zone agitates the mind.
I was in a new surrounding and it was cool, so chill the fuck out lady!
Then my frantic pacing and losing my direction was all good, I had nowhere
to be, so what was I looking for anyhow. It was annoying however that
it was entirely barricaded by high rises. I could not see the sky unless
you looked up directly vertical. You can get a stiff neck very easily.
You walk, you lose, you find, repeat. An in depth perceptive on daily
life of where you are though.
Ever fourth business there is a mechanical shop it seems. I thought
France and Sapin had a lot of scooters, but shite in comparison. That's
why I guess I thought I was being chased by one of them on every block.
There was no escaping. Just dodging.
I wouldn't recommend visitng this place to anyone who's... well a princess.
I tried not to be when I had to go the washroom and it was a hole in
the floor, which was fine, I need to do leg squats some time, but I
had nowhere to put my bag, (not on that filthy piss infested tile.)
I saw a mother carry her daughter around a bunch of parked scooters
and pulled her pants down to pee through the gutter. Ingenious, a five
year old doesn't care about class, just relieving her bladder. I am
not one to judge when I am a city girl and never had to do that. The
restaurants and grocery stores are another story. A 10 foot by
20 foot shop resting in an alley selling expired juices and unripe bannanas.
How do they survive or pay their rent with bad fruit?
Eating out consisits of street vendours or again tiny store fronts on
the road side with unrecogniseable animal products. It doesn't appear
to be the most hygenic, and all have that buzzing, yellow tinge, like
a when someone is about to get his ear cut off in a horror. The lighting
makes the place seem dirtier.
I understand that I have a lot of adapting to do before I ever go to
India, or wherever else in Asia I may end up. I won't be having two
showers a day in Thailand that's for sure. Rather than pussy footing
around a new environment I should really engage with the experience,
maybe not eat pork from off the couter right outside a bus stop, but
try to embrace it. That's why I'm here, to learn, to observe, to see
different landmarks, mountains, parks, streets, people, explore new
cultures. Don't take it for granted and never let yourself get freaked
out by something you are not used to, you don't have to get used to
it yourself afterall.
So move on.
I admit I appreciated Macau much more after I left. I was happy to get
stamped back into Hong Kong which now seemed like home after my surreal
venture to that island. I felt torn because it was just one extreme
to the other, not a shock, not an anxious sensation, just a blank feeling.
It wasnt a bad place, maybe I just went with a bad attitude or a different
expectation. All I wanted when I finaly got off the ferry at 11pm was
a goddamend drink then I could shake this wary gut and sleep it
off. I don't know why, but I was absolutely frustrated, at everything.
Walk into a noisy pub to discover it's actually a dance club filled
with fat white, business men hoping to pick up tiny, young Asian women,
who apparently fall for it more than think, money has it's face value
and I mean that literally. I got pissed off at my theatre of repulsion,
so I left and was ready to head to bed when, in an angered stomp, I
heard some music around the block. All of a sudden my tension released
and I smiled sincerly for the first time all day. The bar was empty,
but the guys were rocking, and what a fantastic pair, a middle aged,
big Kiwi and a skinny, gawky emo Phlip. Music is a universal language
we all understand, and that totaly made my whole day worth it.
When I heard The Stones cover I truly listened to the lyrics for the
first time. I am aware of things I do in my daily life that I do take
for granted, like peeing on a clean toilet seat. I had an ever clear
moment of being content with where I was and how it was. My epiphany
was just this: to be on your own, it's a brillinat thing, it's not flawless,
but it is boundless. I have the next 358 days of complete freedom and
this is a journey I wanted. Not just aorund parts of the world, but
exploring myself. I never would have thought that Stones lyrics would
ever make me come to inner peace, maybe it was the scotch, or maybe
I'm just growing already, having to adapt to a new way of life. It's
only the start of this trip but being here in a foreign place alone
is hard to accept, but then you wake up and dream all the while. Can't
wait for my next stop, next step!
Take care and maybe go out and buy yourself a drink somewhere you wouldnt
You'll see what I mean.
Towe Feb 1st 2008
tabythat at hotmail.com
Towe takes Europe
Whirlwind adventures for our Vancouver Girl. Never
Fly with a hangover
Tabytha Towe in Hong Kong
Welcome to Chum Hung Kok
Sleeping Dogs Thai
Every dog you see here are either lying on the ground dehydrated and
too hot to move, or either scavenging for food.
of OZ 2008
Thailand nearly a month ago was extremely surreal and rather hard to
let go of. I was still stuck in Thai mode for a few days until I realized,
abashed and confused, that shit, Im in Australia!
Long Farewell to Oz 2009
Landing in Australia I knew immediately there was a special voyage
ahead of me...
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