One of the things that strikes me about Hong Kong is the Asian diversity. To the western eye it can be so subtle that it goes unrecognized. I'm sure I missed quite a few non- Asian nationalities and couldn't identify a good number of the various Chinese ethnic groups but one group that did not escape me were the Muslims, who I assume were Indonesian. In full burkas they were definitely hard to miss. The intrigue for me really comes in because the stereotypical Muslim that I grew up seeing was more Arab than Eastern Asian. A mosque right in the middle of downtown set my curiosity aflutter and destroyed a long standing stereotype that existed in my mind.
Asian Muslim women
By this point we had been walking all day long! Although our hearts were content our legs were exhausted, mine actually started to burn. BUT, we were on a mission, our last stop of the day was to be Avenue of the Stars and if our GPS served us correctly we still had about 6 or 7 blocks to walk.
As were strolled down the street Arab shop salesmen stood outside their stores verbally advertising custom made suits. I absolutely wanted one for all my guys and perhaps a dress for my self, but budget and time restrains would not allow such a luxuries despite its reasonable prices. This would be on my "When I return to Hong Kong" list.
As we got closer to Avenue of the stars the scenery changes for city blocks to a city park approaching an urban waterfront walkway over looking the spectacular city of Hong Kong.
Portable grass patches to lounge on in the park
Avenue of the stars was much like the one found in Los Angeles only on the water's edge and all the stars were from Chinese cinema not American Hollywood. Many of the Chinese greats were honored here, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and of course the legendary Bruce Lee. I wish I were familiar with more of the stars, I would even like to believe that although I did not recognize names that I would recognize their faces from movies I've seen.
It was a great tourist stroll. It seemed that there were a few conventions in town. I saw groups of people with matching t-shirts roaming the area and taking pictures. Even though they were also Chinese I assumed that they were from out of town and not Hong Kong natives. After a while Dude made it clear that he couldn't walk anymore and to be honest I felt the same way and was happy that we were all exhausted and ready to sit. The sun was beginning to set and sitting on one of the many benches to marinate in the middle of this monstrous city was the only brilliant move to make. So we sat and talked. We talked about the things we saw and did during our long day. We took usies, made jokes, and enjoyed family time.
Video: Avenue of the Stars, Hong Kong
About 7 minutes later as we all relaxed on the bench looking across the water front I felt a presence behind us. I whipped my head around only to find a man posing behind us, peace sign in the air in true Asian fashion. He was thrilled, wait for someone taking a picture of him AND US?! I quickly whipped my head back the other way and indeed a women was there snapping away pictures of us and her friend. This is the first time I can recall being in a picture where everyone else gets to pose and knows they are in a picture expect me, in this case us, I held my hand up like "wait, hold up, stop." The lady lowered her camera.
Slowly in English accompanied by hand signs, I communicated. "Are you taking pictures of us?"
Eagerly she shook her head yes, her eyes totally lit up with a huge smile.
I pulled out my iphone/ camera "If you take pictures of me, I must get pictures of you too."
Thrilled is an understatement, She and her friend were elated. Now when I proposed this offer I envisioned her continuing to take our picture with her friend then taking an additional picture with my camera, What actually happened was way different. Out of nowhere a group of their friend came from what seemed to be thin air and bombarded us. not a group of 3, but instead a group of 8 people to be exact. 8 freakin' people pounced on us. One man was so excited he swooped poor dude up in his arms like a trophy as a friend snapped pictures paparazzi style. "Put him down!" I roared at him. I swear he was one step away from running of with my baby, his new found exotic price. He put Dude back down at my side and I quickly attached myself to my little one to make sure a similar or worse incident did not happen again. As this happened camera lights flashed non stop. How was this possible? On Avenue of the Stars, we were the real stars and had a fan club of paparazzi to confirm our celebrity status.
They were all over us. Hair being pulled and rubbed. Skin being touched and poked. Pictures taken from every angle whether you were prepared or not. If you ever see a horribly ugly picture of me I'm sure it was from the avenue of the stars picture bandits. They were out of control and we were too shocked to help them get a grip. After about 10 minutes of poses, non-poses, and making sure our children were not getting abducted by these well-meaning strangers, boardwalk security lerked a little closer as if to save us. Our fan club seemed to get the message and wrapped up their photo attack, saying goodbye, and going on their way.
Zane: WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?!? WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!?! IT'S LIKE WE WERE FAMOUS FOR 10 MINTUES!!!!!!
He was totally right.
Me: *still stunned and thanking the ancestors that we still had both children by our sides* Zane, I think they just aren't used to seeing non-Asians and then seeing black skin and with our super curly hair and dreadlocks.... they just couldn't control themselves.
Zane: WHAT?!?!?! THAT WAS CRAAAAAAAZY!!!!!
Dude: I don't like them *pouting, with lips poked out* they touched my WHOLE HAIR. THEY MESSED UP MY WHOLE HAIR!!!!
That made us all crack up laughing. It was definitely crazy and the group was definitely super aggressive. We took a few more moments to discuss it and how it made us all feel. They understood that we were definitely different and that the strangers got excited. Dude was pissed that he was picked up and his hair was "messed up", Zane liked the celebrity status even though it caught him off guard. They both said they didn't mind taking the pictures and being touched but were thankful that it didn't last longer. Too much of that would be annoying.
Security stayed close to us for the remainder of our time on the bench. The guy was watching over us like he was our personal bodyguard, not like we were the criminals. That made everything just a little bit funnier to me. That 10 minutes of celebrity status made me realize that being famous was definitely not all fun and games.
Once we saw the coast was clear to move on without being the center of attention, we made our way to the Bruce Lee statue and hand print.
As we took our final pictures the sun dipped behind the buildings and the temperature instantly got cooler. Dinner and bed were our next destination. Today was plenty of excitement and tomorrow was time to head back to the side of the planet were we reside.
We were super silly on the escalators and train ride home. The night air was chilly but we knew we needed to fill our bellies and pack up on night snacks and drinks. Poor Dude fell asleep in the restaurant before dinner was even served and didn't wake up until the next morning. After we got our snacks we dragged ourselves up the steps and threw ourselves in the bed for a good night's sleep. Explorations is the best exhaustion ever, top that with celebrity status, and you can expect to be asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.