“This is a story of what I was, not what I am.” ― Robert Graves, “Goodbye to All That“
Was there a better Hong Kong moment than slowly traveling from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island on the Star Ferry? I don’t think so. That fifteen-minute journey cost only pocket change, roughly 32 cents U.S., but provided moments of unmatched tranquility.
The weather in Hong Kong is rarely extreme, so the ship’s open sides allowed in the fresh air and ambient views of junks, skyscrapers, cruise ships, and the occasional bird. It was a dream, and now it appears it will be fading into just a memory. Word has it that the ferry will be closing due to Covid’s economic impact.
You can still cross the harbor, of course. You can travel under it using Hong Kong’s sleekly modern subway system or take a cab. Yes, those will get you there but not with those peaceful moments of suspension that transport you away from thoughts of negotiation and feelings of jet-lagged exhaustion.
The Star Ferry was a uniquely anachronistic mode of transportation. It made you feel that you were living in the 19th and 21st centuries at the very same time. If it does go away, it, like so much else that was special about Hong Kong, will begin to resemble faded Polaroid pictures of a time when we were young.