Hong Kong is easy. I have stories to find, work to do, people to visit, and miles of sidewalks to walk. With fewer than thirty days in that city and with still so much of it unexplored, I simply plan to succumb to its rush and energy, absorbing as much as I can.
I’ll return to Bangkok at the perfect time, after Christmas and New Year’s with their emotional weight and well before Chinese New Year, which I love with an ignorant passion. It’s still cool there in January and the light has a winter cast to it, but there will be sun. After two months of Penang’s clouds, I’m hungry for Bangkok’s sunlight.
I will have avoided the knots of Christians who sing carols on the Skytrain and the frantic commercial frenzy of lights and Christmas trees that glitter in the shopping malls. I won’t be there for Starbucks’ marketing of eggnog lattes or hotels serving up hearty winter meals in a city that has never known a winter.
When I get back, even the holiday hangovers will be old news and Bangkok will be getting ready for the return of blinding, blazing heat and a spurt of holidays that have nothing to do with the Western calendar. The exception of course is Valentine’s Day where the streets are full of stalls selling little pink garments for miniscule Thai girls and hordes of flower vendors take to the open road.
I need to find my new home, but after the domestic disaster that I blundered into in Malaysia, I’m going to look for my Bangkok spot with all deliberate speed. I’ll find a place where I can work and then I’ll reclaim my life in Thailand.
I did that rather badly over the past two years. I tried to step back into the past and let the present annoy me far more than I should ever have allowed. I took a place I loved for granted and then wondered where its charm had gone. I whined a lot. I was a true pain in the ass.
In the past two months I’ve become acutely aware of what I walked away from. When I go back, the things I will be grateful for will far outweigh the things that are less attractive to me. I won’t list them here; I won’t fail to write about them as I re-experience them; I won’t forget how it has been to live without them.