I live in Hong Kong’s French ghetto, Star Street, and will do so for two more days. A short walk from Wanchai’s red light district, Star Street is tucked up against the steep slopes that lead up to The Peak. And while most of Wanchai is bustling and brash, Star Street manages to be tranquil and quiet. At least tranquil and quiet by Hong Kong standards. This means that you don’t have to fear for your life when crossing the street.

My partner and I moved to Hong Kong from Tokyo two years ago. We settled in this neighborhood because it was near Central, convenient to the Admiralty MTR station and was walking distance to shops, restaurants, bars, etc. It reminded us a bit of our beloved Brooklyn.

Pacific Place 3 dominates the neighborhood and is home to many French banks and businesses. Because of this you see a lot of French expats at all hours of the day. Walking to work in the morning, smoking outside during coffee breaks and after lunch, and drinking at 1/5 Nuevo in the evening.

Incidentally, to say 1/5 Nuevo is popular with the French is like saying sushi is popular with the Japanese. It’s not uncommon to see hordes of French expats taking up the entire sidewalk outside this bar, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other. I avoid this place like the plague. And no, not because it’s popular with the French. I’m not one of “those” Americans. I avoid it because the drinks are overpriced and watered down. That’s a sin in my book. And I hate crowds, French or otherwise.

Cinecitta, a popular Italian restaurant, is just down the street. We go there often. Good food, festive atmosphere, dry martinis, a great wine selection and my favorite waiter in Hong Kong. All we have to do is sit down and this guy brings us our Grey Goose martini straight up with a twist. He knows our favorite table, our preferred wine, and most importantly, always remembers that I’m a vegetarian. And let me tell you, this place has a great selection of vegetarian dishes. I never feel left out. I’m downing my pasta or risotto and my partner is busy telling me how good his baby calf intestines are. Because let’s be honest, veal tripe is baby shit.

I get my mani/pedi (and eyebrow wax) at Iyara on Ship Street, my facials and massage at the L’Occitane spa, buy my wine at Margaret River and Il Bel Paese, my Coke Zero from the 7-11 or that dodgy shop run by that shifty local. British Cleaners does our dry cleaning and laundry, Yo Ma Ma our frozen yogurt, Pizza Express our takeout (takeaway) pizza. I avoid Epoch because the service is atrocious, Classified because I hate communal seating–I don’t want to have to hear someone else’s conversation and I don’t want them to hear mine.

I’m going to miss Star Street. After my misadventures in Tokyo, my longing to return to New York, Star Street offered me a suitable base in Asia, a place to call home.

We move because if we don’t I’ll end up in jail for murdering my crazy landlady, and because we wanted to live in a new building, explore a different neighborhood. New buildings equal no problems with crappy construction–hopefully.

Advertisements