The problem: If you've an antique for sale, then, sad to relate, the world isn't your oyster. It's not that easy. Even if somebody gives you the National Gallery, your options are still very, very limited. Okay, you can sell the Old Masters, set up a trust, buy your favorite brewery. But that's strictly it. You're limited by honesty on one hand and law - that hobble of sanity - on the other.
Every inch of space was used. As the road narrowed, signs receded upwards and changed to the vertical. Businesses simply soared from ground level and hung out vaster, more fascinatingly illuminated shingles than competitors. We were still in a traffic tangle, but now the road curved. Shops crowded the pavements and became homelier. Vegetables, spices, grocery produce in boxes or hanging from shop lintels, meats adangle - as always, my ultimate ghastliness - and here and there among the crowds the alarming spectacle of an armed Sikh, shotgun aslant, casually sitting at a bank entrance. And markets everywhere. To the right, cramped streets sloped down to the harbor. To the left, as we meandered along the tramlines through sudden dense markets of hawkers' barrows, the streets turned abruptly into flights of steps careering upwards into a bluish mist of domestic smoke, clouds of washing on poles, and climbing. Hong Kong had the knack of building where others wouldn't dare.
That day, I started taking an interest in the bar's television. We always kept it on. As the hours slid by in a cacophony of talk I kept watch, throwing in the occasional comment about politicians, bankers, show biz personalities as they appeared on screen. I wasn't being nosy, you understand. Just human.