In transit

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2010

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

I manage to stay up the entire 14 hours to Hong Kong. You realize how long a time that is when you finish your third movie and still have 9 hours left. Fortunately, I have a free seat beside me to stretch and toss stuff, and Cathay Pacific is an awesome airline. The food is great, the staff are helpful, and the entertainment system provides lots of distractions. I use a Berlitz Travel word game to learn to count in Hindi.

We get into Hong Kong a bit ahead of our 8:15 pm arrival. I'm staying the night with Steve and Anny, friends of my uncle on Lantau, the big island next to the airport (which was built on an artificial island). Steve meets me at the bus stop and before turning in we chat about his teaching experiences here and the yacht/foot race he's just done, wherein the crew spends the weekend sailing to various islands then running up the peaks.

My plan was to pop a sleeping pill I got from Tim and Sarah and crash in the slim 1-hour period before my body thinks it's time to wake up. But I made the mistake of telling Julie about this in my call from the Vancouver airport. You'd think the daughter of a pharmceutical rep wouldn't object to this strategy, but that's exactly what happens. This is a prescription drug, by gum, and who knows what it could do to my body. End result, I'm wide awake at 2 am, staring at the ceiling. My compromise is to take half the pill, so when Steve leaves at 6am for work, I've managed a few more hours.

My original intention for this morning was to take a ferry to Central and soak up some of Hong Kong's wackiness, but I instead get some things for the trip printed then do my final IBM work for my Indian colleage Gaya. By the time I've finished typing up all my notes and talking with (or should I say listening to) Anny's 11-year-old Matthew about Transformers, Star Wars and model building, there's no time left for anything but a fairly quick walk around Discovery Bay.

Lantau is a big, relatively undeveloped island, but a few communities have popped up on the Hong Kong side. Disco Bay has grown to about 15,000 people, and the ferry service is round the clock now. Many pilots and flight crew use the community as a layover because it's so close to the airport.

Anny takes me down to the artificial lagoon then on to the real waterfront where someone is trying to re-establish the mangroves. Matthew and his older brother Timothy zoom around us on their scooters.  We look across at the little Disneyland that's been built further up the coast, then duck into their club (complete with bowling lanes, a library and fitness studio).
The restaurant doesn't open until noon at which point I'm theoretically supposed to be on a bus back to the airport. We decide to head down into the shopping district, where I throw caution to the wind and go for dim sum and a 50/50 chance of getting the 12:30 bus. I'm unsuccessful wrestling the bill from Anny, but we do successfully beat the bus back to their place for my stuff, and have a good 4 minutes to spare before I bid them farewell.
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