I went to Guangzhou to do research into the city's eating out options. I met some very nice people. I sampled some very tasty food.
I had a few massages. I did some interesting things. I saw some lovely heritage architecture.
I also saw wedding pictures being staged on historic Shamian Island, a totally ridiculous spectacle when I noticed that when the brides picked up their wedding dresses between photo shoots, they were wearing jeans and sports shoes underneath their flowing white gowns.
And this was in 35 degree heat!!!
I also met a few jerks. I quickly tired of having to listen to staff being paid to wait on me treat me as an unpaid English tutor, and the tourism officials whose city I was there to help promote were not as helpful as I would have expected.
I mean, Guangzhou is not exactly Paris. It isn't even Peoria. They should be thankful for small favours, making my life easier rather than subjecting me to bureacratic BS, and then not delivering the goods.
Home Sweet Home
After returning home and unpacking my things, I rushed to a "party" to celebrate Shakey's Pizza's third anniversary in Hong Kong at Shatin New Town Plaza, the same mall in which my fitness centre is located. Oh, the joy of American junk food! It might not be good for you, but it sure does taste good!
And the chef, recruited from Tuscany, had a marvelous voice – and a personality to match! "Oh, solo mio …" Yes! He actually came out from the kitchen and joyously serenaded us!
In the nick of time, I bid farewell, and I made it upstairs to my gym to take my first spinning class in more than two weeks – and, hopefully, burn off some of the calories I had just consumed.
I was a bit late, so when I entered the room, the lights were already flashing, the beat was already thumping, and the chants were already resonating.
Back in my element, I mounted my cycle as fast as I could. I reminded myself to take it easy at first – I hadn't exercised in about a week. Soaking up the atmosphere, I was quickly overhwhelmed by this incredible joyfulness.
"So why does it feel so good to be back in Hong Kong?" I wondered. "Didn't I have a wonderful time in Guangzhou? That great food? Those wonderful restoration projects? Why I am so happy to be right back to where I started from?"After leaving the gym, those words haunted me all the way back to Sheung Shui. After returning home, I thought I should post something on my blog about the joyous feeling that you sometimes get upon returning from a trip – even an enjoyable trip . . . But what should I say?
Slowly but Surely
First the words, then the melody . . . slowly a song that I hadn't heard in decades was starting to reassemble itself in my mind. Not sure of the song's title, I pulled up YouTube and typed in the only lyrics from the song that I could remember: right back to where we started from. And there it was!!!
If you are my age – or slightly younger or older – this song, , sung by Maxine Nightengale, might bring back fond memories. If you are younger, well, this is the kind of music that we used to listen to when I was young.
It was good music. It made you feel happy. There was no profanity. No racial or sexist slurs. Just happy lyrics that made you want to sing along, a "feel good" melody that put a smile on your face, and a driving beat that made you want to get up and dance. . .
I hope you enjoy it!!!
When I checked the date this song came out, I discovered that it was 1975, the same year that I was in Hong Kong studying Mandarin before returning to the United States to attend graduate school. A complete and total coindidence. . .
Writes J. in Pleasanton, California:
[Hong Kong is] not exactly where you started from, Mike!
9 September 2010 (via Facebook)
Accidental Travel Writer Responds
I know, but it's a nice song.
Copyright: Michael Taylor Pictured: Wedding pictures being staged in Guangzhou's historic Shamian district. Photo Credit: Michael Taylor