Gotta leave soon; there�s a note stapled to my boarding pass to remind me to catch the AeX before 1830 in order to clear customs. But it�s really relaxing here in the Red Chamber. I�ve been here for about an hour, the Hoyo de Monterrey I�ve been working on has been aged for 4 years and still packs a wallop; the buzz will last for about an hour�
It�s just as smooth as I remember having my first Hoyo, in the dining car of the HKG-Shanghai overnight express train.
Red Chamber has a guest roller flown in from Habanos. He�s been rolling cigars here for the past few days. All Cuban leaves. The HKSAR has some rules about the samples he creates (it sounds similar to why Wine shops have to charge a nominal fee for wine tastings back in CA)�I guess they see it as manufacturing so unless the shop wants to pay some horrid tax, they can�t sell them. So they�re going to take these cigars and smoke them at their staff meetings. Those meetings sound like fun�
Speaking of fun, the cigar roller guy heads out to Seoul on Monday to continue his tour then 2 weeks later, he�s in Taipei and 2 more weeks, he�s back in HKG. Then another week and then he goes back to Habana. I asked him how he likes the food in HKG. He thinks it is too spicy. Wait until he hits Seoul�
Well, errands are done for the moment; at least as many as I can do reasonably. Picked up cell phone stuff for one friend and mailed them back to the US. Don�t have the room in the baggage. Probably going to do that to the rest of my travel guides once I return from Beijing if there�s a space problem too.
Caught the A2 back to HK AeX Station. Went to the General Post Office. Mailed out stuff. What to do? Got time to kill & need a broadband connection to get 4 days of email�guess it�s off to the Red Chamber!
Woke up late this morning (0900) and took my time packing, unpacking, repacking and so forth. Also got some breakfast and got some expresso before leaving the Noble Hostel and walking over to the Park Lane Hotel where the free AeX shuttle stops. Beats paying for the MTR and having to walk 4 blocks with baggage.
You can check in for your flight & check baggage at the Airport Express stations in Central and Kowloon; a real time and stress saver. Makes sense and is customer friendly. Won�t see it in San Francisco anytime soon�
Sooo errands today are as such:
Go to Mong Kok. Pick up more phone stuffs. Exchange my case for something bigger.
Go to the Ericsson Service Point in Yau Mau Tei and get a friend�s phone fixed. HK$350.
Go back to Causeway Bay and retrieve my other bag.
Go to Airport. Wah!
Just got out of the Ericsson place on my way back to the MTR. I realize that I�m hungry. One of the many food stalls on the pedestrian routes to the MTR has siu mai on a stick, like shishkabobs. 6 on a stick for HK$3.00! Wah! Whattabargain!
You can spend a long time eating your way through this place�
Dropped April off at Central MTR around 0000. We had to call the evening early because she lives in Sheung Wan (refer to handy MTR map here) and the MTR stops running around 0030. But the weather is actually pleasant. I�m in long sleeves and long pants, dressed like a grownup and I�m not dripping with sweat like I usually am here.
Wound up taking the Tram back to Tung Lo Wan. Always sit on the top deck and try to catch one of the old cars. The new cars, there aren�t a lot out there, but they are out there, the front window is sealed. No fun, those. The Tram is a good deal for HK$1.80 using my Octopus card. It was a nice leisurely ride, scooting in between all the iconic buildings that make up Central, the neon of Wan Chai and then into Tung Lo Wan and the big Sogo.
I spent an hour listening to Putonghua and the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Co.) News while packing. Tired�
On Ana�s recommendation, I decided to expose myself to some local culture.
Expose myself, heh heh.
I went to visit the Hong Kong Museum of History. As the name says, it�s about HKG. The basement is all about geology and flora and fauna and animals and all that nature stuff that used to be where HKG is now. The meat of the museum is on the upper floors where the history of the city is chronicled.
The origin of the Crown Colony is well known, being the most successful booty resulting from state sponsored drug dealing. But there were interesting accounts of HKG under the Japanese occupation and the various crises from 1949 on. These include: fire, flooding, typhoons, drought, riots and transportation issues.
Also some small regime change back in 1997.
Well, it was pretty big. You don�t generally get to read about this stuff outside of HKG.
Sounds like Los Angeles. But like LA, HKG has dealt with these issues in one way or another. Even the regime change.
Finally got hold of April. We�re going to meet in Kowloon Tong, near her workplace and going to grab some local food. Maybe drinks after if there�s time.
Yup, it was about 2 hours. Eyes redder than a pothead�s and itchy too. Yuk. And the kitties were hella cute, too! Figures. Mark�s allergic as well; his tolerance is a bit longer than mine tho.
Schu�s shopping for luggage in Mong Kok. I�m going out there to help him shop and to hang out. It�s interesting how HKG makes everyone a night owl!
Went to the Golden Center in Sham Shi Po to get software. Nice place, full of computer parts and video game stuff.
I’m heading to the mid-levels to have a dumpling dinner with Ana and Mark. They�re still the epitome of a cute couple and they have some cute kittens. I�ll give myself 2 hours tops before the allergies kick in.
I went to the Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon. It�s a big temple for three religions. Taoism, Buddhism and Confucinism. It�s also a place where you can get your fortune told. It’s one of those Hong Kong things that people do.
You go to one of the fortune tellers nearby and borrow a can with a bunch of sticks with numbers on them. Go to the temple and pay respects to Wong Tai Sin. Shake the can until one of the sticks hits the floor. Remember the number. Go back to the stall with your number, sticks and birthyear. Tell her your question and she�ll tell you what she sees as your answer.
I hear that they’re strangely accurate.
The killer hike is over�tried to find the Tung Chung fort, but did see a modern (1972) monastary. Not a big whoop. But walking around in rural areas is a change of pace, compared to the urban jungle that is interconnected by a river called the MTR. At the Tung Chung station, there�s a small mall, apartments, postoffice and a Haggen Daz!
Ice cream was a welcome treat after the killer hike.
Sleep? What’s that?
Didn’t sleep well last night, but not tired either this morn. So since I’m up ANYWAY, I think checking out the Big Buddha today would be good. It’ll take a while to get there so leaving early is a good idea. Besides Wor Lau Bau for breakfast sounds really good now.