Once home I seem to be barricaded in, doors and windows tightly shut, against the onslaught of the ever growing army of super ants and mosquitoes. Not to mention the attack of the rain and thunderstorms and typhoon signal 8 and 10 to look forward to.
The fan is on 24/7, moving from bedroom to lounge to kitchen. Even when I treat myself to a bit of artificial cold air, the lounge and kitchen are open plan and the appliance on its last legs simply cannot reach the latter.
Thankfully I planned ahead for my daughter’s visit and invested in an el cheapo fan from the posh supermarket. I could just about carry it home and manage the flights of concrete steps, thus saving the extortionate $300 delivery fee. Apparently they bill you for every step including the ones up to your first floor flat. I know, cos I had to pay the same amount for the fridge/freezer, then the sofa and other household items including the first fan. All in all delivery fees alone has cost a fortune.
Now I can’t move, ever, even if the mosquitoes and ants win and take over. The thought of removal men carting all those appliances and furniture up and down the unforgiving flights and the astronomical cost is enough to make me stay put.
What’s more you have to be very sure of what you are buying cos once in the fortress it is very hard to dispose of the bulky purchases. There is a communal bin at the top of the long flight of stairs, next to the mailboxes, just before the road. That’s why I am consciously pursuing a minimalist existence; just enough crockery, cutlery etc and constant vigilance against clutter. At least in my own safe haven I can experience space, a rare and much desired commodity in Hong Kong.
Apart from the ants and mosquitoes, the white bars in front of the windows also keep me company, so that I never feel lonely. The view of treetops and the misty mountain in the distance from my bedroom is seen through the iron bars, reminiscient of being in jail. Except of course these bars are to prevent uninvited guests making themselves at home and making off with the family silver, not that I have any. But there is always the sense of your sanctuary being violated.
Lucky for me this safety feature isn’t to keep me in and I can walk out the door at any time. Sometimes the invisible cage we lock ourselves in mentally is even more real and hundred times more powerful. Only we ourselves hold the key.