Last Stop: Hong Kong

I thought by the time we arrived at the last stop on our trip around the world, I would be ready for the end. Ready for a decent closet of clothes. Ready for a familiar bed. Ready for a day without language barriers. But arriving in Hong Kong brought none of that. Instead, I was marveled to be in the first place that looked like it could be home (as far as cities go). The city was a whirl of people, neon lights, and rain. Sloshing, humidity-intensifying rain. We did a fair share of puddle-jumping/sight-seeing before we decided to head for the southern coast of Hong Kong Island to a small town called Stanley. We took a purple double-decker bus to get there, a drive that both awed me with beautiful views and made me fear for my life as our driver whacked into any tree branches in the way. 

Our first seaside find was these painted paddles. My favorite? "Beware of Dragon." Of course.

We didn’t pick a great day to go to the beach if you use an overcast sky and a 70 percent chance of precipitation to judge, but the place was charming in that sleepy-seaside-town sort of way. We wandered through the market stalls where locals, tourists and many ex-pats are rumored to shop for knock-off brand clothing, but the weather seemed to slow things down in what I imagined was normally a busy market. 

We found a beach empty save for a smattering of rainbow-colored kayaks.

Boats painted with fish scales...why not?

After seeing the rush of the city, Stanley was like a welcome nap in our tour. We had no agenda and no particular place to go, which has become my favorite way to travel after all these miles. Taking a look around, the green hills surrounding the beach almost reminded me of our future home in Brazil (though definitely more developed in Hong Kong!). We found a German-style brew pub, no doubt created for tourists, but we relished the chance for a good pint and a view of the sea. After a lunch that mainly consisted of Bavarian pretzels, I took a lone walk down to a temple by the sea. This little spot was surrounded by some big boulders - big enough to scramble over to get to the next beach, which was even emptier than the first we saw. My only company was a questionably-placed camping tent (permanent resident?) and a questionable amount of sea glass. I love finding the occasional piece tumbled to imperfection, but the amount I found on this beach was startling, as if the sea was the only recycling bin available. 

I rejoined Jonathan at a quiet bar on the beach where he was kind enough to have a drink waiting for me. We watched a few windsurfers battle the seas and a mom chase her kid down the sand. It almost felt like a normal afternoon, but the next day we would fly back to Los Angeles and officially finish our trip around the world. I wasn’t ready for it be over. I didn’t need a closet of clothes or a familiar bed or even a place where I spoke the language. I just needed to keep seeing the world in a new light, and I have a feeling Brazil will help me do just that.