Odor, Noise, View

Smell of a city

Today Hong Kong smelled like bread and herbs. Like fish in an alley. Like ocean breezes. Like incense. Like wooden furniture. Like basil. Like metal. Like gasoline. Like pollution. Like tea. Like a sanitized elevator. Like chocolate. Like body odor. Like refuse. Like rust. Like plastic. Like air conditioners. Like congee and pastry. Like hot asphalt. Like cheap perfume. Like someone is cooking next door.

Noise of a city

Today Hong Kong sounded like a market, sirens, hushed conversations on a cell phone. Like traffic, like a train. Like accents Chinese and British and a little French. Like a yell through a megaphone. Like a vibrating cell phone. Like a drill in a concrete wall. Like a jackhammer. Like a tarp flapping in the wind. Like the news heard on someone else’s television in Cantonese. Like an airplane overhead. Like car horns. Like breaks. Like heels clicking on tiles.

Look of a city

Sometimes I get vertigo when I look down the 30 story office building across the street. People sway on the train like seaweed and have no handhold. On Sundays women sit on staircases, walkways, parks and they picnic. One street has tens of home stores, another has racks of cheap colored t-shirts. Among them are hardware stores and dried goods and incense shops. A little shrine about 10 inches tall with a pot full of ash between the doors. A Starbucks next to a bank next to an organic grocer next to a Cantonese restaurant with soup and noodles. The sky is blue and grey, and when it is evening it turns pink and orange in the haze.


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