Thursday, 16 September 2010

We have photos

Grit is now in a state of high anticipation. The technical manager, aka Dig, driven by love, possibly (or avoidance of something worse, probably), has spent two hours working out how to download photos from phones to computers and into blog.

Thus Grit anticipates return to a picture friendly blog, heaving with visual pleasure! Imagine the hours of behind-the-scenes fun ahead of me, exploring two thousand blurred photos of a Squirrel, wondering which one to hoist before the world in a fever of smug home education hippiedom. Look here! Proof that my daughter receives an education fit for her in society! Here she is, staring at a lemur!

But I won't delay a second longer. Here we go. Photographs of our days in Hong Kong that speak of the wonders of a life of learning, given to you straight from my heart.

The image that captures the great chuck-Arseface-off-the-roof strapped to an umbrella experiment. A picture to me worth a thousand thoughts, all of outside living, resourceful enterprise, pleasure of the moment, learning from life, why isn't Dig talking acceleration, velocity, momentum, the actual weight of umbrellas being heavier than dollies?

To the children, it is worth three hours amusement throwing dolly off and fetching her back while she is photographed, plus forty minutes making a parachute, an hour discussing what costume she should wear for the descent, another grey hair on your mother's head when Shark comes downstairs and casually inquires about funerals, and the cost of two cheap umbrellas from Mr Chang.

Put simply, I think of this photograph fondly as capturing a moment of our home education journey. And the day that we didn't decide on divorce and none of the children fell off the roof by accident.

A photograph which shows the glorious enterprise in practical living known as Put your own desk together from a Hong Kong branch of Ikea. The enterprise that removed four hours of my living breathing existence. The four hours which began for me when it ended for Dig after thirty seconds. As he departs he says, 'Do not bother doing Step One. I have done that'. Oh foolish Grit to listen to this man! By the time we get to Step Twenty-two, I realise that the reason why the desk wobbles and the top won't close is that whoever did Step One put the crucial connecting bar the wrong way round. This photo does not capture the misery. It does, however, serve as an aide memoire for why I should stay married to Dig for another year in revenge.

A perfect reminder of two hours spent standing in the crowded Cantonese shopping alley in rainy steamy Wan Chai beneath the pink neon sign reading Underwear, waiting for Squirrel and Tiger to finish spending twenty dollars in a sparkle shop. Worth every moment.

Enter these vaulted rooms of pleasure and your eyes pop out, lured on and upward by cheap flash at knock-down Hong Kong prices. It is like being in a psychedelic movie, and you wonder if you have stood in the same spot for half a century smoking dope. By the end of an hour you are forcibly extracted by Dig, but you protest that Tiger must be left in there to fully enjoy the cheap flash and trash in the form of sparkle hairgrips, sequined bags, diamante ponies, and cute little bags that serve no purpose whatsoever unless it is for you to place them inside a slightly larger bag with glitter handles. Stop complaining Dig, it is Tiger's first big outing unless you count the trip for the electricity bill.

A snapshot of one of many public prohibitions down at the government-sponsored fun beach where the entire family occasionally goes to stare at one another, miserably.

At least the Chinese know how to have a wild time when it comes to preventable accidents, communicable diseases, illegal frisbee throwing and sand management. They also take a tough line on all recreational swimming, sending a life guard out amongst the swimmers, particularly at the paddling bit. The life guard floats around on what looks like a gigantic raft, searching keenly for accidental drownings and other mishaps. He propels his raft by means of a long pole, so if you are swimming inadvertently by the life raft and are stabbed in the head by a long bamboo instrument, then think yourself lucky there's a life guard at the end of it.

And finally for today, the photograph that captures the wonder, breadth and diversity of the main street into our local town.

I realise now that this photograph I took very early on in our journey is exceptional because there are so few people here. Apart from a Squirrel nosing her way in from the left, the street is as good as deserted. I have no idea what just happened. It must have been something enormous.

This street is never empty. It is heaving with dogs and the odd sad cat, filled with people on bicycles tingtingtinging their way through the nose-to-nose crowd, people shuffling as fast as their flip flops will take them in the 80 percent humidity and 33 degree heat, and all bumped along by the noisy raspberry-blowing village vehicles (that's one ahead; like a gas powered golf cart).

Everyone moves at a constantly reduced speed which is impossible to pass. It is as inconceivable that you can overtake the old lady with her plastic shopping bags as you can propel yourself to the sky and lick stars. You can try, but you will get nowhere. Except the moment I took this photograph, clearly.

If only I had known, I would have taken full advantage of the empty street scene and run up and down it naked simply to enjoy the liberation. Dig could have photographed that and posted it up in revenge at the marriage.

1 comment:

sharon said...

Now that makes it all very real, we now have pictorial evidence that you are truly out there in foreign climes. Wow!

I assume the arseface parachute brigade survived their exploits in the interests of home education? And what is the preferred outfit for parachuting in HK?

Take more photos please, I do so love living vicariously ;-)