I’ve never really believed that big cities could be beautiful. Dynamic, electric, inspiring? Sure. But beautiful? Not so much. The essence of beauty seemed far too lofty, too delicate, to allow itself to be captured and entrapped in towering cages forged from steel and concrete.
But the ride from the airport into the heart of Hong Kong, it is a revelation.
Perched on the top of a double-decker bus, we make our way across roads slick with rain, the water glistening atop the asphalt, refracting rays of light that grew increasingly stronger as we approached the city’s core. We cross bridges stretched across water so black it looks like liquid obsidian, slick and glimmering, capturing the light from the world and swallowing it deep. Boats resting in the harbor look like steampunk spacecrafts, preparing not to travel from port to port, but instead poised to tunnel through a vortex, a blackhole, into another galaxy.
As buildings begin to protrude from the earth like manmade stalagmites, forming the skyline for which the city is famed, I feel like we have entered a futuristic fairyworld. The cascade of lights across their building’s facades make them look as though they have been sprinkled with shimmering diamonds. Or perhaps they are merely acting as the scaffolding for dainty 21st century fireflies, softly glowing against the inky night sky. Watching the lights dance and twinkle at unthinkable heights, it seems as though a pathway clear up to the heavens has been lit for those brave enough to climb, to soar.
I had fretted that arriving in the dead of night is always the worst way to meet a city, the cloak of darkness disorienting and masking a place’s true form. Not so in Hong Kong. At night, the city bursts brilliantly to life. Its tapestry of lights reveals a vibrant elegance that is utterly mesmerizing, and somehow never garish or brash. My senses are ensnared, the riot of flickering lights mirroring the frenzied firing of the synapses in my buzzing brain.
Gazing on Hong Kong at night, I can’t help but fall a little bit in love as I witness a slumbering city— a sleeping beauty—awaken.
I think we’re going to like it here…