Hong Kong Sweat

By Genevieve Frew

Hong Kong looks so glamourous in the brochures.  They promise you exotic delights, inexpensive shopping and a superb nightlife all combined with the history and the mystery of the imperial east.

Nobody mentions the sweat!

I guess it’s difficult to capture sweat in photographs, and who wants to travel eight hours in compressed air, only to arrive at your destination and… sweat?

I presume that the emphasis on clothes shopping comes from the need to rapidly replace rotting garments; the delight in purchasing duty-free perfumes is to purloin the pong and the fancy nightclubs offer a way of staying cool and regulating your sweat by choosing whether or not to dance.

Attractive as staying indoors is, one can’t help acclimatise fairly quickly (sweat tends to open up the pores) and no sooner have you cooled down and forgotten the miseries of tramping the footpath, than you are actually shivering and find yourself strolling about the overcoat section of the store, before you finally throw caution to the wind and push open the vacuum-sealed doors to the outside world.

Back on the steaming streets you get jostled along by the awfully busy Chinese crowd, who haven’t caught on to the fact that the quicker you move, the more you sweat.

Sweat is heavy; heavier than the water that drips on you from the overloaded air-conditioners jutting out from above every building, and soon you can’t bear to be out and about.  You can’t try on any more clothes as the peeling-off process becomes painful and you can forget trying on any new shoes with those swollen fat feet.

Nothing left to do but to go back to the hotel, have the third shower of the day, turn on the TV and order room service.

Then snuggle down under the blankets (in the air-conditioned room) and look longingly at the glossy brochures (supplied by the marketers and merchandisers) of people doing what you have been doing all day – without a single, solitary sign of sweat.

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