At 6’ 2” l knew I was going to be big in China, but height is translating into celebrity status. That’s what I’m running with anyway. And I’d like to think my vertically gifted peer, Dom will run with it too, because ‘freak show’ is so passé.
In fact, we’ve got an unofficial challenge running about who gets more photo requests from locals. So far I’m winning, with brave requests from visitors to the Hong Kong Harbour and the Sky Terrace at Victoria Peak where a queue started forming. I should have charged.
While Dom has currently only featured in the harbour shoot, he received keen interest from the security guards at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), when we arrived for the second segment of our study tour. So competition is fierce. Dom also insists he’s been the target of several surreptitious subway phone snaps from Hong Kong’s budding paparazzi.
It’s not that there are no tall people in Hong Kong. There are and I’ve seen them. In fact, I don’t feel much different to being in my home country where people like to tell me I’m tall. It’s a revelation, no doubt and one on which Dom and I have shared our feelings.But, perhaps in a city where a 40-storey skyscraper still doesn’t crack the tallest 50 buildings, we should feel right at home.
In truth, humouring people’s shock and awe at my height is like a tai chi exercise in patience. Breathe and smile. At least that’s true for me because there are only so many ways you can acknowledge someone’s insight on your stature.
No-one gets it right all of the time. I’d stereotyped Hong Kong as a land made up entirely of small people, but I was only about 90 per cent correct.
The thought of the airline losing my luggage gave me visions of wearing my inflight outfit all week, or resorting to mini skirts, that were originally sold as full length. I thought I would be doubled over in all the beds, public transport and anywhere leg room is required to achieve the proper seated position. Not so. There was room enough even for Dom, who tops out at about 6’ 7”. He even found the taxis spacious, albeit difficult to hail, calculate fares or ride with your eyes open.
Tips for tallies in Hong Kong
- The back seat of cabs has more leg room than the front. Seriously these cabs are built for room in the back.
- Hong Kong is a great city to get clothes tailored to match your stature. Shop around as there is a lot of variety in pricing, speed and insistence of the touts.
- Packing light doesn’t necessarily work, as you’ll struggle to find shoes or some clothes here that won’t break the bank.
- Breathe easy – air is a lot fresher above 6 foot, and you will absolutely need it in the sweltering Hong Kong summer. The MTR vents are at a perfect height for you.
- Always leave the hotel looking photo ready. Own it. The looks and attention from locals has been a lot friendlier than in other cities (Dom says he’s looking at you, Brisbane) – more celebrity than carnie character.