Saturday, April 14, 2012


Sometimes I forget I'm in Asia. My mind is programmed to expect English out of everyone's mouth, then I hear some incoherent Cantonese and become frighteningly aware that communication may become a problem.

"Where's the bathroom?"
"I want this on the [picture-less Cantonese] menu."
"Please," no, I mean " Thank you." No, I mean "I don't understand." Alas.

Sunset view from Ocean Park. Moi moi.
My roommate Jesse unfortunately had to leave us (for the U.S.) so he and I left early Monday morning before Easter for Hong Kong. It's amazing how fast the ferry boats travel to and from Macau and Hong Kong. Taking about an hour to travel across the Pearl River Delta, it puts the Puget Sound ferries to shame! Ocean Park was our destination and it took a shuttle, a ferry, a bus, waiting in line, and a bunch of walking to get there. The park is the direct competitor to Disneyland and it surely surpasses (from what I hear) Disneyland in being THE theme park for Hong Kong. Not only does it have rides, it contains aquariums, atriums, and pandamariums unique to China. Though I'm not a fan of keeping animals in captivity unless they're endangered, if it's a display of educating the public on why they're endangered and what you can do to help, that's fine with me. They had employees explain the place these special Chinese species had in the world. Pictures to follow.

The next day our destination was Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, home of the biggest Buddha statue outside of mainland China. The Po Lin Monastery there is a big tourist destination and I start realizing the commercialization of religion, especially the of the East. We were to take the cable cars, but missed the last one by half an hour by the time we got there, our usual foolish luck when we decide to go adventuring. So we take a bus that goes up and down the mountains, something that at the time was deathly terrifying, but now it's impressive. Or the other way around? Or both at the same time?

Gus & Jesse. Ngong Ping. Miss you bud.
Since Jesse's flight was in the early morning, we decided to stay up all night. Plants vs. Zombies, Gran Turismo 5, and Facebook were on the agenda and fulfilled our need to stay conscious for an estimated total of 30 hours.

The rainy season quickly approaches and the best way to be baptized was through torrential downpour. I forgot I'm not in Seattle. This was my Spring Break, so I stayed inside and played even more Gran Turismo 5. Cars used to be my thing, but when it became clear they're rather expensive, I gave up my dreams. Bikes are the same, but much more affordable, though some may not agree. GT5 became my escape from the world, my geeky pleasure that I now admit publicly, to you and the interwebs. I appreciated the opening credits start to finish how cars are made, tastefully laden with Prokofiev's 7th Piano Sonata, last movement. They also had Lang Lang tracks; I abruptly and happily omitted him from the playlist. His technical brilliance may be impressive, but has little musical depth. An interesting post was written Chinese pianism and a contrast of Classical music by the East and the West. A virtuoso graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, he's sponsored by Adidas, played at the Beijing Olympics, and is supports advocacy of classical music education for youth. Maybe my musical embargo on Lang Lang is a little harsh. I'll give him another listen after his concerto campaign of Beethoven, Bartok and Prokofiev.

Living alone now has its perks and non-perks. No one does the dishes anymore nor do I have anyone to cuddle with... kidding aside, it reminds me that nothing stays the same as much as we like things to and that's what is beautiful about life: it can get better or worse, but that's all perspective, and in the end, life is just a box of chocolates.

Until next time.

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