I’m not sure I can write anything that will better sum up this particularly odd little corner of Hong Kong where I now find myself. Let me have a go.
Discovery Bay, AKA Disco Bay, AKA DB, AKA The Experiment (copyright R. Masters 2010), AKA Dogs & Babies, is a former-resort-turned beach community tucked away in a bay on the east of Lantau, Hong Kong’s largest island. The population here is predominantly expat, predominantly white, and, from the conversations I’ve had, predominantly in love with DB.
It’s a strange place. Part anonymous Costa Del Sol resort, part Disneyland; it’s a place where residents are either in their 30’s, under 8 or canine, and everyone has a personal trainer. Some disparagingly refer to it as a Chinese Steptford, but I don’t feel the same sinister intent. It’s more a device to enable you to live in Hong Kong, whilst at the same time pretending you don’t actually live in Hong Kong.
Of course there’s the same random nonsensical rules and beauracracy as the rest of the city (DBRC, I’m looking at you), the same smog and the same poor quality supermarket chains (yep, both of ’em); but you also get an added dose of weird. Cars are banned, so residents – at least the rich ones – pootle around in golf carts, adding a Prisoner-esque ambience to the place. There’s no metro, so ferry provides the main form of transport, further compounding the sense of isolation from the rest of the city, but with the diesel fumes and choppy ride adding a certain queasy ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your commute.
And then there’s the other famous DB tale, the one that everyone asks me about when I say I live in DB. The swinger rumour. Now, I couldn’t possibly comment, other than to say the washing powder box on my windowsill is very much the correct way up (this is apparently your ‘in’ to the secret society of DB deviants), but I will say that the I never see the same woman twice leaving my neighbour’s flat on a Sunday morning. He may, of course, just be interviewing a lot of domestic helpers. Who can say?
Anyway, as DB is an endless source of blog posts, I’ll leave it there for now.
I’m off to the supermarket for a box of Daz.