12 Jun 2010 @ 7:05 PM 

Click here to view the pictures for this blog entry!

Before entering mainland China, Sunil and I practiced living with millions of Asians on Hong Kong island and Macau, both of which are the muggiest places on earth. This has resulted in Sunil and I seeing the insides of a lot of grocery stores, which we pop into every few blocks just to cool off. The stores here must pay an arm and a leg to use the air conditioning as they all leave their doors open to air condition the streets on purpose. Crazy.

Our first day in Hong Kong was wildly successful, considering the fact that we can’t speak, read, or understand the language and planned on getting around via public transportation. First things first, we had to eat, so we ate at some lunch at a random noodle place. We walked to the Star Ferry terminal and took a ferry out to Hong Kong Island, which was actually my favorite place so far. The downtown area is very well maintained and beautiful with all sorts of free pubic parks that are about ten million times larger and prettier than anything I have been to in the US. We took the world’s largest escalator system (which is outdoors) up to mid-Victoria peak. We then headed back down side streets past the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Garden (also free) to the Victoria Peak Tram. We loaded into a tram with a hundred Asians and headed up to the top of the peak, where we took pictures and ate at McDonald’s. After we took the tram back down, I saw a walk through aviary park (again, free to enter), so I insisted we climb about a million stairs to go to it. Inside, I got pooped on by a bird. Oh, karma, you are hilarious. By this time, it was getting late, so we decided to take a subway back to Kowloon. As Sunil got onto the subway car, the doors slammed shut, and let me tell you, those things are not stopping for anyone. There I was, alone on a subway platform in a sea of Asians. I was momentarily terrified. Luckily, the trains come every 5 seconds because we are in Asia, so I hopped on the next one and met Sunil at our stop. We hugged like we had been seperated for years. I really like Hong Kong, although honestly, it is probably because of the prevailence of the English language here.

Sunil wants me to mention that early the next morning, he had his Asia meconium. He found it pleasant. I found it gross.

The next day, we woke up and stuffed ourselves to bursting on $5 of baked goods, including a chicken curry doughnut. Then we took a ferry to Macau, which used to be under Portugese rule, so in addition to having a lot of Portugese food, the secondary language is Portugese instead of English. Macau is a strange, strange land that consists of Vegas-like casinos, restored historic buildings, and dilapidated ramshackle neighborhoods. We walked the ‘strip,’ which was entirely empty. We walked into a casino, which was also empty. We then decided China is lying about Macau bringing in more gambling revenue than Vegas, as a day in Vegas where all the casinos were empty would cause the town to implode on itself. We then stumbled upon historic Macau, which was my favorite part. It was also the hardest part to navigate, so we kept ending up lost in ramshackle Macau. This was my least favorite part of Macau. We took a bus to Fernando’s, a famous Portugese restaraunt and again stuffed ourselves to the bursting point. By this point we were exhausted, so we took a brief respite on the beach and then took another village bus back to the ferry and headed back to Hong Kong, where I immediately passed out and Sunil woke up at 230am to watch the US v. England soccer game on my computer. Crazy. This morning, we are checking out of our hostel to head over to mainland China for the rest of our journey. I think we are ready for the onslaught of Asians awaiting us there. Next stop: Guilin!

What is the best finish the US National Team has had in the World Cup?


Posted By: Robin
Last Edit: 17 Jun 2010 @ 07:33 AM

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 10 Jun 2010 @ 6:11 PM 

Link to our pictures for this blog entry!

at this present moment, i am sitting in a room about the size of my closet in seattle, filled with about ten asians. i can’t understand a word any of them are saying, and i probably stand out more here than i ever have in the usa. so i have resorted to blogging, and here it goes:

once we were done with our mini-road trip, we spent a few days relaxing in the really, really hot arizona sun. i didn’t think that my family would allow sigma to stay at their house (mainly because my whole family is afraid of animals), but surprisingly, my dad was accepting of it. and by the end of sigma’s stay, even my dad wanted to say goodbye to his new friend. sigma is a social butterfly; she makes friends well!

we used our time in phoenix mainly to prepare for the long road ahead of us. there was a lot of time spent unloading cars and packing backpacks and other totally uneventful stuff. but we also got to hang out with a few of my friends to keep us from going crazy. but when it was finally time to leave arizona, we headed to our first of many legs of public transportation: the greyhound to los angeles.

if you have lived your whole life in the united states and you have some resemblance of money, chances are that you haven’t been on a greyhound. and it’s probably a good thing, too. we appeared at the station at 1 AM, about an hour before our bus was to leave. it came about an hour late, and we were forced to sit on a very dirty floor (my pants would stick to it when i tried to get us) with a lot of completely crazy people all around us (there was upwards of 15 people in there with jailhouse tattoos). so once our bus came, it was greeted with much applause by us.

on the other end of the greyhound ride was the los angeles bus station. it was not any bit more classy than the phoenix station, as in the women’s bathroom, someone was washing their clothes in a toilet (or so robin says). we were pretty much done with greyhounds and made our way to eat lunch at philippe’s and hang out with robin’s uncle and aunt.

with gary and julie and their kid ayden, we went around santa monica pier and got a great breath of fresh ocean air. and after the pier, at their place, we were greeted with much alcohol and food as we chatted it up about all sorts of stories from robin’s family. julie even managed to lose her drink, which we were not able to find even though there really wasn’t many places for it to go, and we all had a great time. from there, we were off to roscoe’s with my longest tenured friend, adam.

it is pretty much a necessity for me to go to roscoe’s chicken and waffles with adam every time i visit him, and this was no exception. robin got to experience the immaculate combination of chicken and waffles and also got to nap while me and adam and some of his friends played on his wii for a while until we continued our quest. our next stop was to hang out with shannon in downtown los angeles.

shannon, robin and i grabbed a drink at a very exquisite marriott and had some great chats about life. we then went to her place and played with her adorable dog while he peed all over the place and put stuffed animals the size of its body in his mouth. we stayed the night there, and by the time we woke up, it was pretty much our time to get ready and leave for the airport. our trip was about to officially begin.

the airport experience went fairly smoothly and within a few hours, we were ready to board our plane. since we needed to readjust to the time difference, it was advantageous to stay up during the whole flight (or only take a short nap), and it was pretty easy to do just that because of the loads of inflight entertainment. i also drank all sorts of free liquor to maintain a buzz for about half the flight. and when the 13 hour flight concluded, we had to hop on another flight, so our traveling kinda felt like one punch in the face after another.

at about 2330 local time, we had finally made it to hong kong, our first real destination. we both were like zombies who had been up for way too long, and somehow figured out our way to our hostel using a combination of a train and a taxi. i had heard so much about how amazing this city is and i’m pretty excited to see what it’s all about after robin is done showering and we can go explore, but my impression right now really reminds me of india in the early nineties. it’s also so muggy outside that the laptop cover fogged up. oh well, it’s still time to explore all that is hong kong! seven million asians, here we come!

In what year was Hong Kong transferred to China?


Posted By: Sunil
Last Edit: 10 Jun 2010 @ 06:27 PM

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