I have just sent Su off to the airport from Tsing I Airport Express. We have agreed to attend a dinner in Chongqing with some HKU alumni and friends there; but because I need to be back one day early, I am taking an evening flight, which gives me a few hours to catch up with some desk work and to ponder over what life would be like just by oneself. So I said to myself that I would use the time to write a short piece.
First, I notice that it was a month since I uploaded my last piece. I left off last time with a note that we would be making another trip to Phuket. As it turned out, Hong Kong was sizzlingly hot while we were in Phuket, so that it looked like we had gone away at a good time. Anyway, we were back; and Su suggested that we could do more while the air tickets and accommodation remain cheap. We spent the last two nights in the previous and more expensive hotel to wind down. It rained heavily the last day we left. The hotel staff recognized us and said to us, “See you next month” as we boarded our taxi to the airport.
Phuket has a long wet season which has just started. Already the monsoon wind has made its mark so that the stretch of water where we saw scores of pleasure craft and floating items in April was literally deserted. The hotel we stayed in overlooked a private beach and was labelled as such. It was private indeed. For a few mornings, we were the only swimmers and snorkelers; and it was one minute walk from our hotel room. We couldn’t figure out how long the hotel had been around; one guy at the reception said it had been around for many years; but the facilities looked well maintained, even though the rooms have the old style TV sets.
We ate at the Italian restaurant four of the six evenings we were there. The restaurant was closed for renovation in April. Food was good and cheap; and the pizzas and spaghetti were excellent and authentic. We used the cheaper eatery by the roadside for vegetables and salads; and we bought our single malts from Hong Kong.
Overall, it was a quiet holiday, neither stressful nor tiring. Su obviously enjoyed herself very much; and took some interesting pictures with a ten-year old camera. She was careful to have brought the housing at the same time; and she once again made the point that it was a perfect site for snorkeling. As for me, I am content with being able to look at sea lives that normally only divers can look at. I am neither ambitious nor adventurous enough to learn diving now; and I seriously believe that I would enjoy it. Somehow, I have never grown accustomed to water sports. I have read about the aesthetic beauty, the life forms and the abundant opportunities the sea can offer to the human eye and brain; but I quickly tell myself that there are so many other things too that one can explore in life.
I moved from Phuket and the sea to something that has always been close to my heart, to write or not to write my autobiography. I was actually prompted again by my brother this morning. We had breakfast during which he gave me a copy of a rare and ancient reproduced publication of ancient writings collected by a Grand Uncle who had been a lecturer in HKU’s Chinese Literature Department in the early years and who was serving the Court of the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty. My brother has been collecting bits and pieces of this Grand Uncle so that “one day, we can write a proper and respectable prologue of our autobiography”.
Some of you may have noticed that I have been thinking about this little project for over a year. Every time I asked the rhetorical question, I would get the obvious “write anyway” sort of replies. In the beginning, I would conveniently put off the project with the ready excuse that no one or very few would read it anyway. Now, I am resigned to the fact that I would write it somehow someday. The question is when; so watch this space.