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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No Longer in The Zone ...

Here are some highlights from the past few days:

1) Friends - even though everyone is a bit different these days, it's great to catch up and reminisce about the old times.

2) Crazy taxi rides - there was one time a bus was about to push us into the highway divider, somehow everything was ok - the typical taxi ride.

3) Kiddies in split pants - how come their butts are purple? It's great when the parents just squat their kids on the side of the road and make them poop.

4) Bottles of toilet water - probably the worst marketing ploy or the worst translation ever.

5) Cake! Hmm ... it should really say "Welcome back!" rather than "Welcome Baok!"

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

T.I.C.

It has been two years since I last stepped foot in this country. In some respect, things have really changed - new buildings, new shops, more western amenities, a booming capitalist economy. But as much as these changes make westerners feel less out of place in a foreign culture, there’s no escape from some of the craziness that goes on here.

Today I made a pilgrimage back to a familiar place. Having not slept much the past few nights, I made the rookie mistake of purchasing “hard seat” train tickets when I could have easily bought “soft seat” ones. Unless you’ve experienced the train system for yourself, you probably won’t understand how much of a difference one US dollar makes on your riding experience.

I fought through a sea of people to reach my assigned seat, only to find that two people squeezed into the seat I had paid for. Being the mean person that I am, I kicked them off and attempted to take a nap with my earphones on. In the middle of the trip, the guy next to me taps my shoulder to wake me up, saying …

man: young man, I recommend you take those earphones off
Me: (a bit taken back that he just woke me up to give unsolicited advice) why?
man: HOW can you not understand the most ELEMENTARY of explanations?
Me: huh?
man: listening to music like that will mess with your brain wave. You won’t be able to think and it will destroy your brain cells. Don’t you get headaches when you listen to music?
me: no, I feel fine
man: take it off for an hour, and tell me if it doesn’t help …
me: (takes my ear phones off – secretly wishing if I took then off, he would stop talking to me)
man: am I right, or am I right?
me: yes, you make a lot of sense …

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Real Adventure ...

starts now!

I just spent my last day in HK and am now wandering around the mainland by myself: alone but free. The motherland greeted me with a short rain shower as if to baptize me back into the land of bicycles, crazy taxi drivers, cheap food, vicious old ladies who have no concept of waiting in line, hot bath and saunas ... etc

It feels nice to be back, if only for a short few days.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rain & Sky

Yesterday was the first day in a week that I actually saw the blue sky in Hong Kong. It's incredible how much it rains here during typhoon season, but what's more incredible is that it only rains when I'm walking under the open sky without an umbrella. I think the rain is playing a game with me ... and I'm definitely losing.

Apparently I am also losing my HK-nese aura. Sometimes people would first speak to me in Cantonese, then after they take take a harder glance at me, they would start speaking English or Mandarin! Isn't that weird? I guess I am looking more and more foreign each day ...

Even though I find it a bit strange and slightly insulting, that's the reality of things though. Honestly I don't think I can stand too much of this tacky asian-subculture. There are definite things that I love about HK (food, family, asian snacks ... etc), but then again there are things that are wildly irritating.

I think HK is just one a big social experiment. Think about it: let's toss 7 million people in a small island+tiny peninsular with soaring real estate prices and an overly competitive job market, where people are confused whether they are Chinese or Hong Kongnese because they are tossed back into Communist rule after 99 years of democratic Western governance. Add a little bit of Korean and Japanese cultural influence and then you'll get some weird results.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Motherland ...


There is a perpetual haze that hovers over the city, constantly threatening to pour acid rain down upon us. I have been back for only two days and I have been caught in a torrential downpour both days. You might think that I'm not a very quick learner, but let me tell you a secret ... I actually like the rain. Especially in this type of hot and humid weather, a sudden thunderstorm here and there is really a gift more than anything.

It hasn't been that hard adjusting to the climate, other than the fact that I'm a living ball of sweat whenever I have to go out in the afternoon. I just don't understand how people wear those really fitting (tight) jeans and run around like it's winter time. I'd bet that they are all sweating profusely underneath, and maybe they use a sweat absorbent material in the inseams.

Now that I'm officially unemployed, I'll have more time to think and write, hopefully I'll get all my thoughts sorted out soon enough so I can blog again.

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