Hong Kong International Airport
Awwww phooey. Just realized not only did I experience the DST roll-back twice this year (once in America and then again in Germany one week later) but now I've missed out on the extra hour from the DST roll forward cuz I'm returning the same Sunday and my time zones are all screwed up anyway. *fistshakes!*
Hong Kong International Airport
I am discovering that though I have no problems communicating in Mandarin, I apparently don't think enough like the Chinese. Everything from finding that restaurant yesterday to finding the ferry terminal is taking me three times as long as I predict, and they're never where I'm expecting. There's apparently just a different logic to things I've not figured out yet.
There's a certain comfort to their laid back procedures though. "Oh they sold you an 11:30 ticket even though the boat finished boarding and left before you could even reach the dock? Here just stand in this line for the 12:00. Next!"
Here, also have a pet rainbow that followed us to Macau:
Hong Kong Island
It seriously took a half hour of wandering around to find this place (billed as the cheapest one Michelin star restaurant in the world) and querying one bank employee (who had no idea what I was talking about), one janitorial staff (who knew what I was talking about but didn't speak Mandarin and kinda hand-waved me in the general direction), and a private apartment tower security staff (who had no idea this existed just around the corner and pointed me to a mall info booth) to finally take the totally unintuitive path through an alarmed fire door (which apparently doesn't go off as long as you only push on the door WITHOUT pushing on the handle). I'm totally ready to taste these one Michelin star cha shao bao buns.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
This was the very first day in which I could actually wander the city. I had finished all my conference duties unexpectedly early and still had half the day remaining. After a quick consultation with the concierge, I had a list of places to visit, and started walking.
The theme for this trip, between Hong Kong and Macau, was lots of walking. But I honestly don't know what else one would do in Hong Kong. Other than shopping or doing a few touristy things like going to a museum or taking a tour, it seemed to me that the one thing that really differentiates Hong Kong from any other place I've been was the architecture ... and that, one can only take in by walking.
But wait, you might ask, what about the culture?! The people?! This is Chinese at its roots!
Except ... I don't know if I simply didn't go to the right places or I wasn't REALLY as immersed in the culture as I thought I was, but it honestly felt like ... like just one giant Chinatown.
(Okay, I kind of hung my head in shame there for a moment.)
I don't know if maybe America's chinatowns are becoming more authentic with the ever-increasing immigrant populations, or maybe Asia's just becoming more westernized, but I really felt like everything was familiar ... until they were not. And then Hong Kong got to point and laugh at my naivety.
I'll make a posting later with the photographs of the cityline and amazingly fascinating skyscrapers, but on this particular evening, I obviously took the ground-level view. In hindsight, I was pretty ambitious, especially considering that my knee was only just beginning to make some progress, but I wandered all over a good half of the southern part of the city; from Nathan Road to the ferry terminal on the west side, and then even puzzling out the subway system to get to the night market just before it closed at midnight:
And I can't even begin to describe just how fascinated I am with these types of gritty, shadowed, industrial mazes. Even after several cullings, I probably have way more photos of this subject matter than anyone is ever interested in looking at. But beyond the richness of the shadows, the subtle swaths of color and light, the opposing contrasts of cool and warm tones, I love how there are little signs of life and commerce hidden in their cracks; as if even the behemoths of high-rises and infrastructure are forced to make space for these little shops and stores - blades of grass and other greenery poking stubbornly through the seams of a pavement.
Work sends me to a LOT of places, most times of which I piggyback some vacation days afterward to check out the local sights. This means I have plenty of opportunities for various (mis)adventures.