Monday, November 01, 2004
hong kong highlights
Well, I survived my trip to Hong Kong with stomach intact and all my fingers still attached to my hand. The irony would have to be that the most dangerous part of my trip was the flight back from Hong Kong to Osaka - the plane flew through a serious storm. And when I say "serious", I mean crazy turbulence, rain, and LIGHTNING.
About 10 minutes into the storm, I'm relaxing, half-asleep, with the GarPOD playing some Norah Jones through my headphones when there's a bright flare of light followed by a loud BANG off the left-hand side of the plane. The plane shook violently and for about 2-3 seconds, all the lights in the cabin went off.
My brain immediately started processing: OMG, lightning just struck this airplane and maybe the entire left wing has been blown off. Or the entire electrical system has been fried to Hell. Either way, we're gonna crash and die. Or incinerate in the air...
The lights in the cabin went back on and for a moment the cabin was filled with people yelling at each other in Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. Before the panic got too big, there was a cabin announcement by the captain confirming that lightning had struck the plane, but the craft was alright. We landed about 20 minutes later without a hitch.
Don't they say your odds of winning the lottery are better than your odds of getting struck by lightning? It figures that I end up on the wrong side of statistics. Pshhht.
Death-defying experiences aside, here's some pics with Gar sarcastic commentary (TM).
My first day in Hong Kong, my (distant) cousin Jackie (my uncle's uncle's son's son... got that?) took me and my uncle to a viewing spot in the mountains behind Kowloon.
Hong Kong island is barely viewable in the distance.
Mong Kok (famous shopping area) at night. You can buy just about anything, but more on that later.
The fam. (R-L) Uncle Martin AKA "Unk", my Po-Po's brother (Grand?) Uncle Hong, Kong (Uncle Hong's son), and Auntie (Uncle Hong's wife).
No Chinese family gathering is complete without food, knaw mean? Especially in Hong Kong, where the dim sum is cheap, plentiful, and good.
Hong Kong island, from the Star ferry.
In the downtown area of Hong Kong island, there's a large, chromed-out building so big that's it's called "The Center". In the basement is the official government tourism office.
The oldest temple in Hong Kong is this one, Man Mo temple - it's dedicated to the God of Literature (and hence, wisdom and education). and the God of War (who interestingly enough, is both the protector of policemen and triads). For more details, you can check out these links.
Freedom to the oppressed! Down with the oppressors! Near Man Mo temple are a lot of interesting antique shops - selling everything from old Chinese antiques, to Mao-era paraphenelia.
I was impressed with Hong Kong's subway system - it's even better than Japan's. It's fast, clean, easy to use, and safe - glass walls and sliding doors prevent access to the train tracks, while buying a train ticket is as easy as just pressing the name of the station you want to go to on a touch-sensor map.
Another pic of the fam, after dinner at Uncle Kong's house, with Unk, Jackie, Uncle Kong, and his wife.
Didn't I tell you that you could buy anything in Mong Kok?
A final shot with the family before I went to the airport...
...and it's over the bridge to Hong Kong airport.
So what trip to Asia wouldn't be complete without a shameless exploitation of the currency exchange rates? At about 7.4 HK dollars to 1 US dollar (or aout 106 yen), I couldn't resist my Chinese genetic mandate to buy cheaply and haggle over prices.
-brand new heavy-duty nylon backpack ($15 US)
-silicon case for my 4G iPod, with removable belt clip and strap ($14 US)
-"Knights of the Old Republic" game ($3 US)
-"Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War" game ($3 US)
and a whole load of DVDs, most from $2-$7...
-House of Flying Daggers
-Young and Dangerous
-New Legend of Shaolin
-Once Upon a Time in China II
-My Sassy Girl
-A Tale of Two Sisters
Cheesy SciFi movie:
I woulda bought more, but I didn't have the space in my luggage...
In an unrelated note...
Don't forget to vote.
you buy the gatling gun? if you did, I'm sure customs officials would have a field day with you when you come back, heh -melPost a Comment