Maybe it was the rain or the grayness of Vancouver that transported me to another city surrounded by water, not so long ago, just across the ocean. Physically, we were in sitting down to dim sum in a restaurant in Chinatown engulfed by the clatter of plates and the rumble of the carts rolling past. But, in my mind, I was seated in an identical restaurant in Hong Kong, escaping, not only the rain, but also the chaos of the street.
It was six years earlier and I had been overwhelmed by Hong Kong. The lights of the city burned neon bright. The whirl of people passing, rushing to their destination, disoriented me. My newfound friend Vivian was leading me through her city and I was drowning in the confusion. I needed a reprieve. It was a Saturday morning and we ducked into a crowded dim sum restaurant for a meal.
“Har gau, chiu-chao,” a short woman with straight black hair called as she weaved her rickety cart through the labyrinth of tables. The bamboo steamers piled precariously on top jolted forward at an unnatural angle as the cart bumped to a stop against our table leg. The oolong tea in my glass leaped up and over the edge.