I don't like to fly, so ordinarily I consider it a necessary trauma that must be endured in order to explore the world. Flying into Hong Kong as the sun rose over the city was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Sunlight hit the low cloud that obscured the bases of the buildings, creating the illusion of a golden city in the sky. This place stole my heart in the early hours of that morning and continued to surprise me through the myriad contrasts present in contemporary Hong Kong life.
During our time there in mid 2014, the people of Hong Kong began protesting in defence of their autonomy from mainland China. The physical presence of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around our hotel during the marches materialised how the city had felt to me on the day we arrived. Temperatures were in the mid 30s and humidity was above 80 percent. This, in combination with the expanse of concrete in every horizontal and vertical direction, made the life of the city feel incredibly close.