The vibrancy, and sheer magnitude of people in Hong Kong is something that needs to be experienced, to be believed. Everywhere you look, there is action. The streets are filled with people, the roads choked with traffic and noise, and the sunlight blocked out by the gigantuan buildings. I donned a onesie and backpack, screaming, TOURIST!, and set out to explore. After a short walk in the stifling humidity, I reached a street littered with row upon row of shopping centres. All different shopping centres, and at a cursory glance, I couldn’t tell what the difference was between each of them.
It didn’t take long to discover that each centre had a different theme. One for the young and trendy, one for the sophisticated shopper, one for the nerd, one for the music lover, and so on. Tiny little boutique shops filled with apparel or jewellery or electronics. Many in the same centre were very similar, and I wasn’t sure how each of them could sell the same things and still make a living. I walked past a teensy hairdressing salon, and a small Chinese lady came running out, grabbed me by the arm and told me she would ‘fix my hair.’ I couldn’t say no to an offer like that; afterall, if I looked so hideous I had to be manhandled into a salon, I needed to heed that advice.
The tiny lady told me in broken English that she would wash and trim my hair. Okay, I could manage that, I thought, but where was the hair basin? I looked around, confused, wondering if there was a secret door out the back to a room with hair basins, but no. The woman pushed me towards a chair and told me to sit. I complied instantly. She whipped out a spray bottle of water, wet down my hair, shampooed it, and skillfully rinsed it clean with the same spray bottle! I was stunned. She applied a leave-in conditioner, trimmed my hair, dried it, and sent me off for little more than ten Australian dollars. I would have paid double for the experience, and to this day, I marvel at the ingenuity of the little lady in Hong Kong, who had mastered the basin-less hair wash.