Hong Kong Last Day

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End Jul 10, 2005

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Flag of Hong Kong  ,
Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Well, the map is a mess & I don't know why. Maybe David will fix it - or not. Also, I don't know how to check email - unless it goes to my home - in which case I won't. Got to stay away from too much connection to The World. Sorry.

I'm not very organized with this travelogue. Too busy traveling I guess. Everything is a rich blur of experience & impressions - difficult to go too far back and say what happened. I also realized I'm writing from my own experience & past without referencing for readers. So, I'll try to bring things into better focus.

Where we are staying is in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of the Kowloon Peninsula across the harbor from Hong Kong Island. TST is the main tourist area & is split by Nathan Road. The 1st 20 or so blocks are lined with jewelry, camera, clothing, & Chinese arts & crafts stores. Side streets have many restaurants. Rich mix of people here - vast majority (90+%) are Chinese, though. At end of peninsula are landmarks like Star Ferry, Peninsula Hotel (hyper-expensive - Rolls Royce pick up at airport) & now a museum & cultural center.

We've been going to Island 1-2 x day: Catch ferry ($2.2 HK dollar/ ~ $.34 US) for 10 minute ride across deep water harbor with boats & ships every description & size passing by. First I heard of Star Ferry was so many years ago reading The World of Suzie Wong - and yes, it is that romantic (with Leslie along, that is). HK Island is more business oriented, but as arcked with people as Kowloon. On Island can catch tram up to top of HK Peak - major fun (wrote about it yesterday). Many other things to do on Island, but the main thing to do (for me) is watching the world unfold & Kowloon (further up Nathan Rd.) is as good as any place for that. Once you get about a kilometer up the road & a street or 2 over from Nathan Rd., it gets pretty much all Chinese & very interesting.

This trip is like others in that there are almost no responsibilities except not losing (on previous trips, Leslie & now) David or Jeff or passport & money. The simple (& I suppose irresponsible) life leading closer & closer to here & now. A couple of times so far I've clicked deep into the present.

Earlier I wrote about Chung King Mansion like everyone reading this would know what it is. Not likely, of course. about 6 blocks up Nathan Road from the harbor is the Chung King Mansion. Lonely Planet says, "There is probably no place in the world like CKM, the budget accommodation ghetto of HK. It's a huge high rise dump in the heart of TST ..." The first floor (arcade) is a warren of small shops, many of which are wholesale only - selling to people from around the (3rd) world. Many many Asian, Middle Eastern, African, & other people in the halls, making deals of all sorts. In the evening prostitutes around. The place is a buzz of energy & I love it. 2nd floor more shops, but no excitement. Above that, CKM is full of guesthouses, businesses, apartments, etc., etc.

We're staying 1/2 block away in the Mirador Mansion. Lonely Planet: "It's a bit cleaner & less crowded."

What a wonderful son is mine. We go along, feeling connected to varying degrees & then something happens & the connection is stronger. Like today, I realized that he has put a lot of songs for me on his MP3 player (like Nightswimming - which he used to tease me about liking) & other little clues of connectedness keep happening. (This is a prayer, not a casual use of the word, God) Oh God, I am so grateful for the Blessings of my son & my wife. Thank you. More concrete proof of grace.

Last night Jeff bought a shirt for $25 HK. When he paid for it, the girl gave him change for $50 because - surprise - there was another price tag on the shirt. He said he didn't want it at that price. She said cannot return. He said give me the money back & she said no. He left the change she tried to give him on the counter & sat down by the cash register. While this was going on I was up the street looking for a place to eat & when Jeff & David did not catch up to me, I went back to the shop & David explained what was happening. I went in & told him to hang loose while I went to get police. Of course you know what happens when you need them - nowhere to be found. Went back & told Jeff I'm still looking & to stay cool. I said it loud to kind to kind of create a scene without really creating one. The girl heard and when I returned (still no po-po), the girl had caved in and given him his money back. We learned a much easier lesson than many one learns in Asia.

After this mini-debacle we had a vast amount of Macau-style curry & Chinese vegetables loaded with garlic & peppers - sweaty boys! We headed off for the night market near the Jordan Road Yue Hwa. David found some light cotton jeans + alteration for $4 US. I bought 6 jade (sort of) pieces to use for fan pulls. Looks like some good seafood places nearby. The Ladies Market about 3 klicks up Nathan Road seems better than the Yue Hwa (Mongkok) one: Better prices & fewer tourists.

Some high points:
- The meal near Aiplu Street 6-8 klicks up Nathan Road - more duck & pork + vegetables on rice + big pitcher of tea than we could eat.
- The Lucky Computer Center in same area - a building full of stalls selling every computer thing you can imagine & so many people you can barely move. I asked a salesman if much is stolen & he said no & I asked why & he said he's wondered the same thing.
- Being in the sea of people Sunday evening in the Ladies Market area.
- The Star Ferry, of course - today there were many many clouds - could not see top of Peak - sprinkling.
- The Peak.
- Mango drinks for $5 HK around corner from guesthouse - several of may be developing a little mango problem - can't stop drinking them.
And, of course, just being here with David & Jeff. Leslie, I miss you.

Did I mention it is hot & muggy here? Feels like start of monsoon - raining 1-3 x day for 30-60 minutes. Monsoon fine with me. You stay damp all the time, get a little fungus going (I have a lot of clotrimazole, though - I'm ready to go).

Confirmed reservations/flight for tomorrow - we're off to Bangkok & then to Vietnam.
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chaskemp on

missed this one somehow. and it's huge i know when you discover the connectedness that david feels. i think we did something right. otherwise it all sounds wonderful and unchanged. a very good thing. i love you too but remain happy you can do this. leslie

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