On our second day in Hong Kong, I brought Tom to the Jewish cemetery, which wasn’t too far from our hotel. To get there, we walked past cemeteries of all the major religions. The Muslim cemetery was across from our hotel.
We also passed a Catholic cemetery and a Parsee cemetery.
When we arrived at the Jewish cemetery, though, my heart raced as I realized the gate was locked and there was no trespassing tape on one of the gate doors. Panic set in. Luckily there was a school next door that seemed to be open.
So I walked into the school yard and with mangled Cantonese and Mandarin, managed to find out that the gates are usually locked. The nice receptionist at the school allowed me to use her phone to call the number on the Jewish cemetery’s front sign. And it worked! A man answered and said he would open it immediately.
The cemetery is a place I’d first visited in the mid-90s, thanks to my friend Annie. Later I would take friends and family from out of town. I hadn’t been back for 17 years.
Tom and I spent maybe 30 minutes here, taking photos and marveling at the diverse background of the people buried there. Some were born in Asia, others in Europe and Russia (pre-Soviet Union). Some must have passed through Shanghai during the war, but there was no way to know that from the headstones.
We left the cemetery and walked back to the tram line, taking in the surroundings.
Here’s the hotel where we stayed. Its background is fascinating–it used to house the New China News Agency, which was the de facto Chinese consulate during the British colonial times!
Once on the tram, which was only running a limited route around Happy Valley and a little of Causeway Bay, we sat back and enjoyed the view from above.
Since we’d indulged in the hotel’s buffet that morning, we skipped lunch and walked around Central (the tail end of the Occupy area), took the Star Ferry, and spent the afternoon in Tsim Sha Tsui with my friend Vanessa.
We raced back to the hotel to change and pick up a few things before heading off to the stately Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central for my talk with the Hong Kong Women in Publishing Society. Author and friend Shannon Young organized the event and introduced me. Shannon has a must-read Hong Kong memoir out at the end of the month titled Year of Fire Dragons (Blacksmith Books, 2014)!
After my talk, Shannon presented me with a bottle of South African wine that Tom can’t wait to pop open. (I had him promise to wait until Thanksgiving when we will host 30 people at home; it’ll make for interesting conversation!) I signed many books and enjoyed talking to old friends and meeting new ones.
Since we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, I took Tom to another restaurant from my past. Yung Kee was close by and known for its roasted goose.
And that was the end of day 2!