), slide on my headphones, and block out the world.Bonus: No one judges me when I keep ordering delicious Cloud Nines, the airline's specialty cocktail.A year ago, the torrent of lovey-dovey selfies would've made me burn with envy—not because they're married and I remain in the online dating morass, but because these women have a buddy with whom to explore parts unknown.
I spend a very long time sitting on the floor and sifting through bins of glittery baubles, staring hard to decide between one hunk of rock and another.
(No boyfriend in the world would be patient enough to sit through this sorting process.) When I put a pile of chosen crystals on the counter, the Indian man shrugs and gives me a great deal.
He shares the interesting factoid that reclaimed land has narrowed Hong Kong's main waterway, speeding up the rushing river to the point where it grew dangerous for small boats.
Fact: When you're by yourself, interesting strangers are much more likely to chat with you.
One of the things that made Hong Kong cinema of the 1980s such a powerhouse was that there were so many talented people cranking out films in a market dominated by genre sensibilities.
Directors like Tsui Hark, John Woo, and Ann Hui, to name but...
("This stuff is all probably made in China," I think, eyeing seas of plastic crap, before remembering that makes it...local.) I wander through, too jetlagged to trust myself to bargain in a foreign currency (just divide by seven!
), and am about to hail a cab back when I spot an open-fronted, permanent store crammed with big gemstones, crystals, and spiritual-leaning antiques.
I wander in and poke at some singing bowls, too shy to ask about prices.
But the owners—a boisterous Indian man and a sweet, smiley Aussie who became friends in Ireland many moons ago—come jangling out from behind the counter to show me how to hold the bowl and wooden mallet, how to strike and then circle it to produce the resonant vibration.
(The same is true for creepy strangers, too, I suppose, but life is all about dualities.) It's a weird time to go to bed, but I'm tired and in control of all of the room's lights, so I call it and starfish in the middle of the king-size bed.