Saturday, February 26, 2005

hong kong memories

This was in a personal archive, and the date wasn't clearly posted so this is a guess. The year should be right. This was reposted for posterity in August 2013



Already my memories of my vacation are fading into that strange mist of memory. I'll try to relate a few memories now before I loose all clarity of events. I got to Hong Kong in the afternoon, and once again the first thing I noticed is that it smelled different. I always seem to notice this no matter where I go, everywhere seems to have a different smell, different atmosphere. My friend Polly from college met me at the airport. It had been litteral years since I'd seen her, but it didn't really feel like that. We took a bus into the city, going from green leafy foilage to dense city. We started from an older part of Hong Kong, walking through stalls, small stores and along overflowing streets. It was packed, elbow to elbow, chin to chin, litterly. I'm not sure if it was because it was Sunday, or because it was near Chinese New Year, but I think it was fairly typical.


I enjoyed the mob of people, and when we got hungry we got some greesy fried gyoza and yams from a street restraunt. It was really oily, but I liked it, the gyoza was crispy the way I like it. After that, we went home to meet Polly's mom and brother. Polly's mom couldn't speak any English and Polly's brother only spoke a little so she was the translater for any communication.


Polly's mom made some wonderful food (boiled chicken, fried pork, shrimp in red sauce and some rice and veggie thing, with rice) It was really good, in a surprizing way a lot of it reminded me of the food my mom would make when I was a kid. Polly's brother knows a little Japanese, a language thats popular in Hong Kong I would find out, and so he tried to talk to me. He hadn't ever used the language though, so he was really rusty. He was able to ask (in Japanese of course), "Your name is what?" and say "I am Ryo [his taken Japanese name]." Among other things. He was a really nice guy, about my age, and I think he looked kind of like me! That night we went back out, met Polly's friend Joann, and went to Victoria Street New Year's Night Market. A market is a new years tradition I guess, and it was cool, so many groups of people selling all sorts of silly chicken toys and other new years stuff. Joann didn't speak much English so we mainly talked in my few words of Cantonese and silly faces. After that I went back to Polly's house, they were letting me sleep on the upper bunk of her brother's bunk bed. (The window over looked a big morning-mist covered hill, a memory that is held in my mind~)


The next day we went to Victoria Peak to look down over the massive city. And yes, it is truly endless. It always strikes me when looking down on big cities how long they stretch out, and so did Hong Kong, stretching into the edges of vision, buildings scattered like mighty lego blocks. Hong Kong is an active port, and boats floating in and out of the harbor as you watched the horizon added to the coolness.


After that we took a double decker bus (something that is everywhere here) with no roof down to a port, took a ferry to check out the bay, and then eventually met her cool friend Tom. Tom spent some of his early life in Thailand, and speaks great English. He was a nice guy, and took us to a hip bar called Fluid. The bar offered free snacks sometimes, and had a nice live band that did cover songs in fluent English. There were also a lot of so-called expats, it reminded me breifly of Roppongi (in Japan) but most of the people hanging around were a lot older I thought.


The next day we got up late, and met Tom again for a great brakefast-lunch, and then went to Karaoke for 3 hours. Karaoke in Hong Kong was great! The machine showed you the real music videos and played the orginal music (instead of MIDI synth music and stock footage that you often get in Japan and Korea). And seeing the orginal music video turned out to be a shock. I don't know a lot of American songs (well, I know the songs but not the lyrics) so I was trying to find a Japanese song I knew, but they mostly had anime and super pop songs like Utada Hikaru (I need to learn some girly jpop) so I thought I wasn't going to be able to sing anything. Then I saw a song by a band called the Ulfuls that I knew. I had never sang it before, but I knew the song (ashita ga arusa) and really liked it so I decided to give it a try. I turned it on and was shocked by a very very silly video and that I was able to sing the song with no problems (missed one kanji though, I think). After that me and Polly wandered the streets some more, looking for silly cheap things I could bring back for my Korean friends. Night pulled its arms around Hong Kong, and the neon lights began to glow. I loved the lights, and the glow, and how the signs literly grew up and over the streets.


In Hong Kong Japanese language and restraunts seem to be everywhere. I saw a YOSHINOIYA and a WATAMI among others. Although both of these are fairly cheap chain restraunts in Japan, they seemed to be more expensive and fancy over here. I decided to go to WATAMI for dinner, to see if it was different. They greeted us in Japanese ("Welcome, good evening.") and I don't speak good Cantonese and Polly thought it would be funny, so I tried to order in Japanese. The waitress just stared at me and shook her head no when I asked (In Japanese, of course) "I would like to place an order...but you don't speak Japanese right?" Afterwards the paradox of how she could show a "no" if she didn't understand began to bother me, but basically Polly had to do the ordering. The food tasted close to what it tasted like in Japan, although the okonomiyaki tasted more "bready" than in Japan. They also had special Hong Kong only cocktails, and I tried a "Hong Kong Sunset" which had blue at the top... is this a radioactive sunset?? After we took sticker pictures (purikura) again, we took it so many times while I was there, its fun!


The last day in Hong Kong was basically eating brakefest at this nice fastfood rice-roll place called QQrice (I know its only a matter of time until this idea spreads like fire in America, or atleast it should) and then going to the airport. My time in Hong Kong was complex, this is a quick review, but I hope it will help me keep alive the memories of my fun vacation!


until next time, SAMPAI JUMPA LAGI~

Thursday, February 10, 2005

to hong kong and back

Originally from an old server that is now gone. Reposted in September 2006.

sleepy update of my diary

|| one of the older Hong Kong streets ||
file missing

Wow. Hong Kong was amazing. A lot of great food, a massive multicultural city with billions of people, and lots of things to see. I had an amazing time. I was going to write a "day by day" review of what I did (not that anyone cares) but I am too tired right now. I'll do that later maybe. For now, I just want to say it was great. DAAG

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

living in the future

Originally from an old server that is now gone. Reposted in September 2006.

is it true that you are starting to get old when you feel like you are living in the future? I am updating this diary from a payphone. That feels weird to me. cool weird. Going to Hong Kong today!

On the way here, I could see the slice of the moon chasing the bus, as if tied to our side. Thin curved moon-blade cutting through clouds. I remember thinking the same thing in the bus going to Auckland.

aku di kata: SELEMAT JALAN!

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

going to hong kong!

Originally from an old server that is now gone. Reposted in September 2006.

happy chinese new year

I wanted to go on a vacation, so I asked my bosses wife if she could take the price of a ticket out of my next pay check. She said "Sure, where do you want to go?" And I thought about it, and then said "Hong Kong!" and she instantly said "Oh, theres no tickets for under $1000" This seemed weird to me, because I could fly to America for cheaper than that. Although I understand that its a holiday season, it still seemed too expensive. I thought about it for a few days and then finally yesterday I told her I gave up, I couldn't go to Hong Kong. And then right after that she magically found one for half the price. It's still kind of expensive, but I need a vacation to recharge my mind. So I'm excited. And maybe I can try to use some of my bad Cantonese (I forget most of it).. uhm.. MGOI, MAI DAN! BIN GOH AH???! ^o^

I have an advanced class today, normally with three young girls who speak English really well. Recently the other two have been on vacation, so I have only one student. Its faster with one student, so I often make small talk with her, to take up time. I know she likes swimming, she goes three times a week, so I asked her "So, did you go swimming yesterday?" And her answer kind of caught me off guard. "No uhm, I didn't go because blooding was coming out, out" (she pointed down) "and my mother said I can't go this week." For a few seconds I thought she ment that she had got hurt, but then I realized that I think she had gotten her first period. I'm a liberal hippy I guess, because I don't think periods are gross, but I had already made a twisted face because I thought she had gotten hurt, but I didn't want her to think its bad, although I guess blood and all that can feel gross for a kid, so I just kept the "gross" face on and let the conversation glide to a different topic.

It was so cold today that on my walk home my fingers began to tingle, and even though my ears were inside the hood of my coat, my ears began to hurt. So cold! Where is the summer heat waves? I need very humid hot days or I'm going to turn into an ice cube! well...thats all for now.


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