01 Nov 2003
Last night was quite an experience. As had become my custom, I slept in the afternoon and set out at around 10. What I had not realized, before I stepped out the door, was how big Halloween is here. The area around my guesthouse was filled with kids dressed as characters from Harry Potter. Then I got on the subway and headed toward Central, and emerged to find the streets packed with people — apparently everyone between 18 and 25 in HK — in gory and funny custumes. The police barricaded the streets, so thousands of people were crammed into the sidewalks, with no way to cross. Every time somebody flouted the police and jumped the barrier, the crowd errupted into cheers. It took me 45 minutes of shuffling with the crowd to cover a few blocks.
I was ready to head back at about 5am, but the first subway train wasn’t until 6. So I sat in Chater Garden with all of the hung-over party kids wearing half of their custumes and smeared face paint. A group of them were killing time with spin-the-bottle truth-or-dare, and so I was the recipient of several silly stunts, including being kissed on the hand.
So I guess, as the Stranger says, I seen somethin’ ever’ bit as stupefyin’ as ya’d see in any a those other places — and in English, too — so I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin’ like the good Lord gypped me.
The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.
—G. K. Chesterton