Well, here it is. More than I year since I fled Reno and I am sitting on my couch back in Hong Kong. Not the same Hong Kong I left, but Hong Kong none the less. I thought I would do all sorts of blogging and posting on here because when I was sitting on my ass bored in Reno I had all kinds of time to play on myapace (plus it seemed to function a lot better back then) but it turned out that there were other things to do once I got over here and into the wild, wide world.
So, this will serve only as an update and it will be generic. I owe letters to a growing number of you and I have promised myself that I will write soon. I will say that I have absolutely loved hearing from every single one of you everytime that I did, and I promise that will not go unacknowledged.
Okay… Starting at the “beginning”…
I left Reno in August 2005 to teach little people (really little people, not like Pee Wee, but REALLY little) the wonders of English in Hong Kong. I arrived in the worst season for Hong Kong (I did not know this) but now I understand what people mean when they say about Vegas, ‘Yeah, it is 115 but it is a dry heat.’ I always thought that dry didn’t mean sh*t when it was that hot. Turns out it does actually. When I got to Hong Kong it was like 35 degrees (which means 95 degrees to us normal people in the West) and the relative humidity was between 85% and 97%. That means you are covered in something like sweat the minute you go outside. Instantly. It is like trying to navigate through pudding or something equally gross. [By the way, it is like that again right now. Joy.] Hong Kong makes Guadalajara seem like a desert.
[I want you to really, REALLY experience this humidity. By the way, this photo is taken around 8:30 pm, so it has cooled down to around 70 degrees. Do you see what I mean?]
Anyhow, I got an apartment in the ghetto and it was cool. It was a tiny place on the 6th floor and there was no elevator. The kitchen sink and the bathtub were about the same size and I generally bumped my head on something (the ceiling even) at least twice a day. But it was a real neighborhood, lots of really good food (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Sechuan, etc.) and funny little shops that sold anything from plumbing parts to stationary to dried fish all in the same place. The shops were very Third World, which was odd, because Hong Kong is so NOT Third World. Hong Kong is like Manhattan on steroids. The whole time I lived in this little neigborhood (Kowloon City) I was teaching English in a local kindergarten and doing a bunch of private tutoring and checking out Hong Kong.
[My ‘hood. Yeah, that’s right… Urban Decay, baby.]
There was a lot to see and a lot to do… and it was great. I took boat trips to near by islands. I went to cultural festivals. I attended the largest prostest in Hong Kong history when the WTO came to town (they are not very big fans of George W. over here…) I saw an Asian production of the musical Fame, I saw the Shaolin Monks perform martial arts… and that was AWESOME. I ate great food, went to tons of cool bars and clubs. I shopped. I had my fortune told at the start of the Lunar New Year. I took tons of photos…
[Repulse Bay, Hong Kong Island, SAR]
[Suburbs… Hong Kong Style…]
[Even the afterlife is crowded in Hong Kong… Cemetery in Kowloon]
[Mid-Autumn Festival Lanterns, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon]
[Victoria Harbor on the way to Peng Chau Island]
[Steamed fish… sooooo YUMMY!!!]
[Yes, even old people get out occasionally.]
[Chinese New Year Parade, Wan Chai, Hong Kong]
By December I realized a couple of things:
1) I did not like teaching kindergarten… A is for apple can only be made interesting for so long…
2) I was not going to come back to Reno… My work there was done, though I hoped to make an appearance in June 2006…
3) I was ready to hit the road and do some serious traveling…
I quit my job, packed up my flat, sold my car at home and moved to a little island outside of Hong Kong called Lamma Island where I would wait for a friend from the States to arrive and then I would venture out to places unknown. I thought I would do this forever… or at least for a long time.
[Lamma Island from Victoria Peak through the pristine Hong Kong air…]
[Downtown Lamma Island, Hong Kong]
But, remember how anal I was about my desk and my sharpies, and stuff like that? Well… imagine me out on the road, with no control over the big things let alone the little things… it was a challenge, and it was great… but it turns out I don’t really want to be a vagabond… or a wanderer all my life. And in fact, one of the most fun things about traveling for me has always been coming home to share it with my friends, my students… whoever would bother listening… I mean really, would it be fun to bring a jar of Vegemite home ust for me? Come on… that was only fun to share the love!
And so I went out on the road with a more open mind than normal but still… I had to wonder wtf was I doing out here with no plan?!?!
[Worthy advice from the Hong Kong Kowloon Ferry Company…]
Well… here is what I was doing….
[Stay tuned for part two… coming tomorrow.]