HONG KONG: The Dreams of A Hong Kong Uber Driver
China is insane. Hong Kong is literally like being inside of Tron. I have never in my life seen so much wealth, or been so unhappy with the cost of literally everything. It’s an amazing city, but its very difficult to live there. Some of the highest rents on the planet for the tiniest apartments, 29 dollars for a salad, you need to be a member of the Saudi Royal Family to buy gas, laundry detergent costs about one once of gold. However, it is a little fantastic shining metropolis inside of the big belly of the beast that is the People’s Republic of China. Millions and of people are everywhere. Everyone is in designer clothes, everyone has pockets full of cash and suitcases they are stuffing to the literal brim with medicine, diapers, baby formula, potions, lotions and gems. It's nuts. The whole place is a giant shopping mall. It's very odd, and made me very uncomfortable.
Now, real China makes me nervous. For someone who has a large and increasingly loud mouth, this is a nightmare place to be. There are cameras everywhere, the Government is tracking you constantly and you can almost feel them creeping into this tiny little European enclave.
Whenever I left Hong Kong and went into "real" China, I was almost certain I would be arrested just for being me. When Britain gave back Hong Kong to China in 1997, it signed an agreement saying that the freedoms it had enjoyed as a Colony would stay in place for 50 years, but little by little, China is violating these agreements and stripping people away of their rights.
One night, after drinking far to many glasses of wine I called an Uber to take me home and my driver was so fabulously witty, so elegant and had such good dirty jokes that I decided I needed to sit down with him and ask him question after question about what was life for someone growing up in this magical place and the real dangers that are facing Hong Kongs future as the rules and regulations of the Mainland close in.
Also, The Daily, by the NY Times (my favorite podcast) has an incredible two part series on this this week. Check it out!!)