Happy Boxing Day.
Was sorting through some old photos when I chanced upon this one, a bowl of fishball noodles from 德昌, in our old neighborhood of North Point. I don’t exactly remember the first time we went there, but I want to say 2008. Ever since that first time, we’ve gone pretty regularly throughout the years.
Looking at this photo, I think of the soft, slippery noodles floating in the fish broth. The first sip of soup is especially satisfying after the anticipation of the meal. I like to pair it with an iced tea, either lemon or milk. If I remember correctly, this particular combo is under HKD$40, or about USD$5.00. What a deal.
I hope I get a chance to enjoy it again.
I remember, on Christmas morning in 2009, walking around Central after a long-haul flight from the States because it was very early in the morning and our hotel room wasn’t ready yet. I walked up to Caine Road to check out the very first place that I ever lived in, the place where my parents first brought home their firstborn. Over the years, I would always take a peek as I passed by on the 13, imagining myself going inside, but I never had the guts to do it. Bamboo scaffolding was up, and I figured they were remodeling. The front gate was open. In my groggy state, I didn’t think twice about trespassing and went inside. It was the first time I set foot in the place in 30 years.
I asked the guard if I could take a look around upstairs, telling him that I used to live there, and he reluctantly agreed. I thought I’d just look around, and not bother the current residents. Imagine my shock when the lift doors opened and the flat was completely accessible. Holy shit. All the photographs I had seen over the years suddenly aligned, memories that I didn’t even know I had surfaced. The bathroom tiles looked familiar. The wood floor looked familiar. Everything seemed a lot smaller.
There was a huge gap where the windows should have been, and I realized that the building wasn’t being remodeled, but being demolished. It didn’t really sink in until last year, when I returned to Hong Kong and saw that it was gone, now just a construction site.
Times change, people live, people die, and life goes on, but I’ll always remember the surprise Christmas present I got on December 25, 2009.