Tuesday, January 11, 2022


Imagine a place filled with backpackers, Indians, and curry. It isn't Nepal. Or anywhere near the Taj Mahal. The dulcet sounds of Urdu and Punjabi (well, can't really describe them as "dulcet", but I'm so used to those sounds that "ugly guttural, hairballs" doesn't seem right -- that's Russian) everywhere, turmeric and ginger, faint whisps of strawberry incense .....

A very multinational place. Where everything is sold, and people live their entire lives without going outside. Densely alive at all hours. Lodgings, bistros, masala chai stalls.

Sort of the residential hotel of a feverish imagination.
With far fewer SFPD busting down doors.
Chungking Mansions.
36–44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Years ago I was the cashier/factotum/rational adult on the premises at an Indian Restaurant, and also the man people went to for answers. Not some of the staff, because Punjabis know everything there is to know, but Caucasians. Several of whom liked "curry", but often felt that the food was too spicy. Even the rice pilaf. They were curious.

"There is too much chili in all this (there wasn't), the bread is too spicy (it isn't), the rice has too much pepper (none), the tea (masala chai) is undrinkably strong (a mild beverage toned-down for the gaura-log), and why on earth did you put garlic and chilis in the mango juice?!?!"

Okay ... I think your nose is overruling your brain.

Some people really shouldn't travel anywhere outside of the Midwest or perhaps the East Coast. Not even to a local foreign edibles restaurant. It shortcircuits their senses, they experience too much stimuli, and become slightly onthutst and lose their moorings.

Chungking Mansions is filled with Indians, Pakistanis, Malays, East Africans.
As well as their shops, eateries, hair salons, tailors.
There is no daylight there.
17 floors.

It's worth a visit.
There's pizza.

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