Friday, October 16, 2009

The Entrance to Dripping Wet.

[* In a life before children, my husband and I lived in Hong Kong for two years. Thought I'd share a bit about the people and places that have added to who I am as a writer. Now I just battle sticky words and humid sentences... we love it anyway. Right?]

A huddled throng of frustrated humanity takes cover just inside the concrete block entrance to Hong Kong’s MTR (Mass Transit Railway) station. Pouring rain is not an unexpected phenomenon, but the milling sea of domestic helpers, round bellied executives, school children and bent over ladies with toddlers strapped to their backs seem to have left home today quite unprepared. Though perhaps with good reason.
Millions of humid, sticky people go about life hemmed in by high-rise and hampered by two feet of walkway. This coupled with low hanging signage and the taxi invested roads make umbrellas a useless burden. So we stand waiting for… what? The skies to close? Hong Kong to float to the Bahamas?
Shoving, slipping and general unhappiness results. Dripping concrete cracks above form puddles beneath our feet. Moss grows on our toes. Desperate souls push to the front and thrust folded newspapers or Gucci purses above their heads. The pouring wall of wet mocks futile attempts at dryness and, eventually, we accept our fates. The sticky line of people push through the blockage and cross the road. A line of humanity snakes up and down the stairs behind wealthy Tai Tai’s wielding umbrellas, but still, for some reason know only to the Chinese, seeking shelter at the entrance. People enter. People leave. Others wait. A workable mayhem ensues, and summer living in Hong Kong continues.
What about you? What people or places have added to you as a writer? Tell me, where have ya been? Let those travel tails/tales hang out.


  1. Well, you write wonderfully of any experience it seem. I do not have your gift, I am afraid, nor have I been to too many places. The only exotic place I've been to is India, and that just ended up feeling normal, like home.

  2. I've lived in Nashville all my life. We have some overcrowding but nothing NEARLY that bad. I don't know if I could handle that pushing and shoving.

  3. Though it wasn't raining, merely overcast, I remember walking in a crowd like this in Tokyo on a holiday when EVERYONE was out. The people were so polite, no one tried to hurry, they simply accepted the pace. One member of our group was 6'7" though and I remember thinking that he had a distinct advantage.

  4. Someday I'll write about Oz... we camped and drove 10,000 kilometres over 3 weeks, starting and ending in Melbourne, heading up the east coast through Sydney and Lamington National Park and Great Keppel Island... heading inland around Rockhampton to Ti Tree, south through Alice Springs and Uluru and the Devil's Marbles and Coober Pedy... one of the greatest trips of our lives. We can't wait to take our daughter there.

  5. Tabitha, your writing, as always, makes my jaw drop. The descriptions are so exquisite. I grew up in NYC, and your description of Hong Kong could just as easily fit a NYC street or a subway station.
    As for travels, I didn't start traveling till I was 50 (10 years ago, yikes). My first trip was to England, France and Italy. We've done the Canadian Rockies, Australia/New Zealand, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, well, if I go on, I'll take up too much space on your blog. Love love love travel.

  6. Hey, Tabitha! Travel is definitely a HUGE perk of my job. Right now I'm resting from it because it can be EXHAUSTING. But I've visited or lived on 5 continents and have seen some awesome things. I'd love to make it to your part of the world one day!

    Thanks for letting me remember this morning! Have a great day!

  7. I felt like I was there! Love your prose. I think everything I experience adds to it in one way or another.

  8. Tabitha, when I grow up I want my writing to be just as powerful! I love your posts, what a marvelous writing style.

    I haven't traveled much, I hope that will change in the future. I can't imagine living in Hong Kong, how exciting.

    Happy writing!

  9. you definitely have a way with words .. loved reading this short post even !! :)

  10. That's amazing, I've always wanted to go to Hong Kong (I've only been in their airport :D).

    I've been to France, Germany and Switzerland on a backpacking trip before I was married. An amazing experience. And I went to Vietnam last year and I already miss it. We had a lot of rain there, too, because we went during the rainy season. I've also been to an island off the coast of Honduras (on my honeymoon) and Mexico and Canada. I love to travel and visit new places.

  11. I've been to Italy several times, but the places that really stay with me are the ones close to home. Central Washington and the Oregon coast are two of my favorite places in the world.

  12. Beautifully written description. I have never had the chance to travel abroad. However I can't imagine a place I would love more than the Rocky Mountains. Texans love to see something that is not flat! The mountains are where I feel closest to God and it is the setting for my WIP.

  13. I think living there would make me crazy.

    I love the lake. It seems to be a common setting for scenes in my writing. So I guess I'd have to say that's a place that has inspired me.

  14. I love to watch travel shows in China on television. Your post brought those visuals to mind.

    I spent time in central Mexico years ago, and the tastes, smells, and sights still feel fresh to me.

    Have a great weekend!

  15. I've lived near a lot of fields. lol Great description here!

  16. Yes, I agree that your description sounds very much like NYC. I'm not a fan of city crowds!

  17. I love your writing. Great post.

    I've lived lots of places and I've done a little traveling. I need to write more about my time in Northern British Columbia Canada as a teenager.

  18. Moss grows on our toes!!!Great line.
    Unforgetable travel moments:
    Transported to art heaven, standing in the Uffizi and looking from one Annunciation by Botticelli to another by da Vinci.
    Finding a standing stone circle as it loomed in a misty rain on a remote Cornwall moor.
    Being handed one square of toilet paper by a door matron at the castle in Prague.
    Thanks for nudging me to remember.

  19. I love the title to this post! And of course your vivid writing as always. For now my writing is mostly informed by the landscape of a childhood I'm still recovering from in late middle age.

  20. Hey Deb, thanks. I know what you mean about the landscape of our childhood.

    Tricia- one square of toliet paper? LOL

    Elizabeth- NBC Canada- Ooh love to hear about it. It is suppose to be very beautiful.

    Ross- no I am not a fan of crowds either- Hence I was not much of a fan of HK

    Jess- fields sound nice.

  21. Jill- I have never ben to Mexico. But I want to.

    Susan- yes, living there nearly made me crazy too.

    Ava- thank you. I love the mountains too.

    Natalie- oregan coast sounds amazing.

    Cindy, wow. That sounds like my travels :)

    Debreviated- thanks for the visit and the kind words.

    Tamika, oh thanks :)

    Kristen- sounds so exciting.

    Karen- never too late :)

    T.Anne- thank you.

    CKBH- I'd love to here about it :) Nice to see how someone else views your country.

    Liza- yes tall is not so much an advantage in Asia.

    Steph- I've never been to Nashville. I'll have to drop in someday. :)

    Lori- India, wow. I'd love to go there. I have only ever been through the airport.

  22. oOOH Give me the willies, I hate crowded places! I have complete panic attacks.

    The place I think thats added to my writing the most is the forest. I write about forests a lot, they're always turning up in my stories somewhere or other. And not just for inspiration either, just being there and what it does to open my mind and make it easier to write. Loooove the forests :D

  23. Hi Tabitha-
    Oh...geez I don't know where to start. This year, in late March I attended my first writer's conference after deciding to write a memoir. What motivated me to write and inspires me to continue on this sometimes daunting path is my sense that perhaps others might be able to find some hope and validation in regard to their own lives in reading my story. :-)

  24. Wendy- forests are beautiful places. I can se why they would inspire you.

    Stephanie- welcome to the blog. Nice to met a fellow memoirist. I hope you enjoy the blog.

  25. Hi Tabitha, my first read upon coming to your blog was For Him. I have left comment there and I am STILL in tears . . . lovely and loving tribute. Thanks.

    This posting is equally gripping but in a different way. Your writing style enthrals me making me want to read and re-read the post over and over again. Loved it . . every word a gem!!

    I was born and raised in London, England but escaped three years ago and now live in the mountains of Andalucia, Spain. This morning I posted some photos of our morning constitution in our local pine forest which I think you would like. Off to sign up to follow:) Have a fabulous day!!!

  26. I went to Kenya for two and a half weeks - by no means a long-term thing, but this really impacted me in a way no other trip has. The people still live in my heart...

  27. Tabitha, many thanks for the beautiful words you left for me on my blog. It was a real pleasure to come to your blog today and I will be a regular visitor . . . the pleasure's all mine:)

  28. Tabitha, I had a friend who lived near Hong Kong for a while, and I can remember her telling me that she definitely had to look for ways to make the best of the situation.

  29. Heather- yes i learnt a lot about being positive and stepping out of my comfort zone.

    Katie- Kenya? WOW. I would love to go there. Sounds amazing.

    Gloria- thanks. you are too sweet :)

  30. Mostly a hometown girl who hasn't had an opportunity to travel much...except in my mind. But there's plenty of good local places and people to mine for fodder. :)

  31. Beautiful writing tab!

    I've been many places. But Amsterdam sticks out. I don't suppose we can guess why?

  32. Suzanne :))) Um, yeah, I can guess why! I too have run around that city. though I actually behaved myself, imagine that. Can you believe how beautiful the women are there? Gosh, move over New York fashion week.

    Angie, hometowns have plenty of fodder, fo sure!

  33. Barcelona, Paris, Hawaii, Bahamas...just visits. Been nowhere long enough to make anything other than generalized impressions and I wasn't I writer then...didn't think of myself as such, still kinda don't. But I do see things in the written word now. They are phrases, not images that steel into my mind.

  34. Your descriptions rise on the wings of poetry.

    My dear places are notable for their absence of people. But they are close. Any moment someone could walk into the scene.

  35. Sadly I've never ventured outside of the East Coast USA :( I have a terrible fear of flying even though I have done so in the past. So I use my medical experiences and military stint for some of my upcoming scribblings. I would however love to live in Japan maybe Tokyo or Kyoto someday. Even if it's for a few years.

    Tabitha, you have amazing attention-to-detail. You are blessed to have travels under your belt so you can wow us with your imagination!

  36. Nice pic Tabitha. For a minute there I travelled to Hong Kong! :) Love your descriptive words.