2.03.2008

Homeland ... well ... kinda

so i just got back from a week in china last night and suprisingly the "jet-lag" isn't too bad. i mean, sure i slept for 12 hours but i think it was mostly from laziness as opposed to actual exhaustion of any sort. so yes, if you're wondering whats up with the whole china thing, if i didn't mention it before ... sort of out of nowhere i had to go to china for a project i am working on at work. so after almost two years at working with swa, being originally brought on (i thought) to work on some chinese project ... lo and behold ... i actually am, and am going to hunan for a three day workshop. actually it turned out that the hunan leg of the trip was canceled because of these freak snowstorms that happened while we were there ... so we ended up doing the "workshops" in Shenzhen, which is the city in china proper right across the border from Hong Kong, which i visited for two days after the "working" part of the trip. overall, but especially about hong kong, i have to say the trip was a blast!.
.
there were a lot of "firsts" i have to say regarding to this trip. the first of the first was sitting in first on the airplane trip over. haha, sounds immature of me, but hey... you're talking to a humble coach class boy here. i've only flown first class once on a fluke upgrade when i was like 12 years old... haha. but this time, the company sent us all business or first (well, from los angeles back to houston i did fly coach ... but mainly bc the travel angent couldn't book anything else). it was VERY cool. after this experience, i'll have to say without a doubt that if you're flying over 10 or so hours and can swing it, a business class seat really is worth it. but then again, its easy for me to say that as i don't pay for it .... and seeing that the ticket price roundtrip was like $4500 ... i don't think i'll be paying for it anytime soon either!! haha.
.
the best part of flying upgraded i think is just being able to actual lay down to sleep .... the seats get to a pretty close to 0 degree incline ... very comfortable. the food is good in business but nothing stellar. what is good though ... is that business class also allows you to stay in the business class lounges at airports.... so even your wait is in style... haha. nice... when you don't have to pay for it!
.
other firsts are of course, going to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Shenzhen was a complete surprise to me. I know it sounds provincial of me, but Shenzhen's modernity completely surprised me... it is a bustling, gleaming, new, and modern city. On the surface, everything looks very western ... but of course, from the environment surrounding an "expat" business person (the business hotels, the business restaurants, etc. ... it would seem so wouldn't it). probably the coolest "urban" thing i did in Shenzhen was a relative short "flaneurie" in the "villages" ... these wonderful urban street markets in older pockets of the city... basically where "real" people lived and got on with life ... it was very cool... and in a strange way, eventhough looking like everyone else, i felt soooo self-conscious ... as if everyone knew i wasn't "truly" chinese.
.
the actual "workshop" part of my time in Shenzhen was allright as well... lots of eating withc lients, working in my hotel room doing some sketches, and then sitting in loooong ass meeting while the principle showed this and that and another co-worker ... a more senior associate fluently in chinese ... translated. i didn't say much and i bet they were all wondering what i was doing there ... oh well. i am not sure what i was doing there either. but it was good.
.
i was totally more hyped about going to Hong Kong though to be honest, and even though i spent at most only 48 hours there ... i felt i got to really know Hong Kong a lot better than my stay in Shenzehn, which was twice as long. but i actually got a chance to explore Hong Kong. The following are some pictures of the experience, that and some cool videos as well.... ENJOY!
.
.
i found this sign in the Lo Whu border station hilarious. basically Lo Whu is the transit zone between the Shenzhen subway and the Hong Kong subway ... and since Hong Kong is technically a different administrative "zone", there is an "immigration" check. i wonder if before the hand-over, if this sign said "to a better life" ? ha
.
.
the stunning opening scene of all that is hong kong, after i got out of the subway. this pciture was taken from one of the scores of pedestrian crossing 'bridges' that straddle dthe huge thorughfares in the city. that was the weirdest thing about walking around the city, it wasn't just a horizontal walk from a to b ... but often necessitated the third dimensions as well. a very interesting urban flaneur.
.

.
my "stunning" room view from my hotel. now, granted, i could have gotten a "harbour" view for $30 more a night ... but i figured why waste potential 3-4 more drinks just for a pretty view i might look at once or twice a night? i still found the little crack of light between the two building funny though... great view huh?
.
.
i think this image is very "hong kong" in the sense that you really get an idea about how jammed pack with different things the city is. this was one of their larger parks in the city ...as you see, the park itself is beautiful and well coifed ...as coifed as the slick 80 story building behind it.
.
.
see what i mean about dense? taken from "the Peak" ... the highest point around the harbour ... probably higher than that tallest building you see .... maybe.... not sure though. check out the video too... one from the top of the Peak, the other near the water on the Kowloon side, looking back at the Hong Kong Island buildings ... basically two sides of the mass of buildings.
.
.

.
.
i have to admit, i have something of a love affair with urban signage. don't you love it too?
.
.
"THE" view of Hong Kong at night, taken from the Kowloon side, right before the nightly laser lightshow ... that... despite bordering on the kitschy ... is kind of cool.
.
.
this is a video of one of the most novel things about Hong Kong. it is called the central escalator or something and it basically is the world largest network of escalators that brings office workers from all the office high rises which are near the water to the residential high rises which are built on the slopes of the island. i guess the original idea was that it would be too hard to expect so many people to walk the incline or to expect enought cars to go up and down that relative small mileage and cause massive car jams everyday... just buila huge escalators that did the climbing for people. if its hard to understand ... you'll just have to see it for yourself. i've NEVER seen anything like it!
.
anyways, it was a lighting visit to Hong Kong, but i feel i got a great "taste" of things. i saw both hong kong and kowloon, rode the ferry, the subway, a taxi, walked miles and miles probably. saw the peak, the waterfront. ate at local restaurants, tourist traps, and even mcdonald's. went to three gay bars/clubs ... had an overall great times. even chatted up some fun folk, no one cute, but just fun conversation. not to say there wasn't a lot of pretty bois around, because there definitely was ... but i wanted a more low key... just friendly... time... and i got it.
.
despite visiting the city by myself, it wasn't nerve racking getting use to it and in the bars and such, the gay boys all seemed fairly nice. i "might" see myself living here... haha. whatever the case, it was short and sweet ... but i had a blast.
.
and a business class trip home was just the rest i needed. ahh... back to the real world now!
.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home