The lemon is a small evergreen tree, native to Asia. Lemons, hybrids of the sour orange and citron fruit, first grew in India, northern Burma and China and are in the peak of their season between June and August. Asia and those summer months- a winning combination.
On click the air conditioning units. It’s their time to shine. Out come the flip-flops; entrusted to withstand sand and step. Sweet potato carts fade into oblivion, along with cutesy coffee shops, pretty pashminas and any kind of hair-down do. The summer arrives in a sticky flash, elbowing its way through city smog and thunderstorm warnings and making children’s hair rain and our legs rub. Sweaty dresses, too-tight tops, heat-trapping leggings and damp pony-tails feast on last nerves and controlled cold becomes a vice. Ducking into a 7/11 to rid your brow of sweat beads and cool down hot cheeks- hello tiny slice of Asian-city-in-the-summer heaven.
We settle into it. Summer shuffles more comfortably into Hong Kong, pulling us into her lap of beaches, barbeques, balconies and boats. Slices of lemon in water jugs. Wedges of lime in frosted glasses. The tart tang of fruit in a cocktail pitcher, sweet on sea-salted lips after a dive from the top deck. Junk boats catapult themselves into the weekend with glee, cartwheeling with excitement, adrenalin and bliss. The goodbye junk, 2012. A hive of hung-over bodies, bleary-eyed from the Shek-O beach party and last-minute Irish contributions. Sunburnt English boys at the back, flirting with newcomers and rolling eyes at a Corrs heavy playlist. A red river from a Corona bottle as the sun creeps in.
Speckles of gold glitter over oceans and we watch from the speeding space of the minibus as it curves round the all too familiar bend of southside. Stanley sparkles. Waves lap, licking the wall of swinging legs and half-empty cider bottles. Sunlight warms the waterfront early, trapping the heat in time for dragon boat day. You watch from your seafront abode, stools outside as meanders peer in, wondering where and when and why and how. The sun, lemon-yellow, steeps, sits and sinks in its violet sky.