I’ll prefix everything by saying that I attended the Cheung Chau Bloodbath on a public holiday…so I suppose it was always going to be a suicide mission.
I’d heard a lot about Cheung Chau and finally decided to go and see what all the fuss was about…but maybe this post is less about Cheung Chau the island and more about the visitors who were on Cheung Chau…
In a nutshell: crushing, frantic hordes of gleefully ignorant people, yelling and screaming of biblical proportions, epic…epic grime.
1:00pm – Buy ferry ticket and get in line. Slowly become surrounded and consumed by screaming, yelling, pushing, snarling, cackling, fat, food eating families, couples, groups and individuals who all want the same thing – to make sure they get onto the ferry before anybody else.
1:15pm – Contemplate fleeing. Fuck the $27 ticket. I want to go home.
1:20pm – Ferry arrives and I can feel waves of agitation ripple through the crowd. There’s somebody behind me salivating on my shoulder. He can’t control himself. Everybody starts inching forward but there’s nowhere to go. The huge gate’s still shut.
1:25pm – The noise has increased to hateful levels. The man next to me is screaming something to a terrible looking woman 20 meters away. I can’t believe it…but she’s having trouble hearing him. Her face is one twisted spasm each time she calls back “HAAA???” She could open a can of soup with that voice.
1:29pm – One minute to boarding. I look around and can’t see anything I don’t hate. It’s a crescendo of self interest. I can see people going over their personal strategies for boarding. Their plan is simple…base…’get on boat’.
1:30pm – It’s go time. A short, nasty siren blasts over and over as a huge cattle grid door slides open. I look up to the top deck and there’s a family of 9 people already sitting down playing cards. Wow…they sure were fast!
1:31pm – I see an old couple a few paces ahead of me. They both go down. The last thing I see as I pass is them on the ground covered in feet.
1:36pm – I reach the boat. But a million people beat me. They’re rushing the deck like it’s a huge, violent…deadly game of musical chairs. The noise is almost making me curl into the fetal position.
1:38pm – I find a seat by a window. People are storming tables and chairs all around me. They sit for 5 seconds then scamper elsewhere…then somewhere else…like human projectiles. There’s a guy on his phone nearby…ecstatic in volume. His eyes are a glaze. He’s in fully automatic mode. He’s feverish…delirious…waving his arms around, trying to explain where he is on the boat. His friends will find him soon and together they’ll show everyone what can be done with the human voice box.
1:51 – I notice that everybody is either eating something, playing cards or both. There’s McDonald’s everywhere, foot long chicken bones appearing from and disappearing into people’s mouths, cup-o-noodle slurping competitions, frantic…just frantic games of cards, huge noise. The ferry hasn’t left yet. I suppose it’d be senseless to endure a 40 odd minute ferry ride with nothing to eat and nothing to do. Who wants to ease into a chair, enjoy a relaxing trip out of Victoria Harbour, look out the window maybe, whisper sweet nothings to your girlfriend, let the motion of the ocean put your mind at ease. FUCK THAT! We play hard in Hong Kong. And that means foot long chicken bones and hysterical games of UNO.
Sometime later…we arrive at Cheung Chau. I’m glad to get off the boat. Seems like everyone’s glad to be getting off the boat because they all rush the exit when the pier looks close enough. The ferry leans to one side. There’s a fat woman in the aisle screeching horrifically about something. Of course she is.
Anyway…there were millions of people on Cheung Chau island that day. I’m sure there were a lot more people than usual. As we know though, Hong Kong people are just gagging to play hard. Give them a chance and they’ll test that notion in such settings as the public holiday Cheung Chau Bloodbath…not to be confused with the Cheung Chau Bun Festival…which I’m sure would be much, much more testing.
I walked up an alley way for a bit, saw some dry fish, a few tongues and some crowd pleasing giblets…got hit by a few trikes, had my ear screeched in countless times…sat down, had a drink and decided to leave on the next ferry. Maybe I didn’t give Cheung Chau a good enough chance. 40 minutes was all I could handle and sure enough, I was indeed back on the next ferry…which was a trip back every bit as fucked as the trip in.
See you later Cheung Chau…
I love you Cheung Chau…and the people you attract on public holidays.