A dry smile on a wet Hong Kong day
If we had done a little more research about the typhoon season, we probably wouldn’t have travelled to Hong Kong in July. It was hot and very, very wet. Local news stories were all about landslides and floods on the mainland, and Kowloon was awash.
We spent a great deal of time in shops and restaurants, trying to avoid getting soaked. A couple of days’ reprieve from the rain saw us on the water, taking boat trips to Macau and Lamma Island in a desperate attempt to find relief from the now-crippling humidity.
The reprieve was short-lived, and the rain returned with a vengeance. My husband decided that an in-room picnic was in order, and we set off separately to find provisions. I headed to Stanley Market by bus, hoping the umbrella provided by the hotel would keep me reasonably dry. I returned to Wan Chai only a little damp, and happy with my purchases.
The walk from the bus stop to our hotel was mercifully short and took me through the market where, halfway down a lane filled with meat stalls, the shower became a torrent, and a wind blew up, turning the umbrella inside out.
I dodged under an awning to wait out the downpour. Directly across the street, an elderly Chinese gentleman was doing the same. I smiled and shrugged, but his face remained impassive, no doubt wondering what this foreign idiot was doing in his local market.
The rain showed no signs of slowing. I was considering making a run for it when I heard a ripping sound above my head. The weight of the water had proved too much. As I looked up, the canvas shelter collapsed and a waterfall came tumbling down. I couldn’t have been any wetter if I’d jumped in a swimming pool. The beginnings of a smile tugged at the corners of the man’s lips.
Then within seconds, the rain stopped. I looked across at my companion in disbelief. I caught his eye and grinned ruefully. He looked me up and down, taking in my drenched clothing, sodden sandals and sopping hair. The half-smile became full blown, and we were both soon shaking with laughter.
As I squelched back to the hotel I wondered if my new friend had been laughing at me or with me. Both, I decided. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: firstname.lastname@example.org. Columnists will receive a lightweight laptop compendium from Catherine Manuell Design with multiple pockets, pen holder and an A4 notepad included; available in a range of vibrant prints including red viper, $89.95. More: catherinemanuelldesign.com.