Sunday, December 14, 2003

Hey! I'm in Hong Kong! I managed to get my travel partner's computer connected (my computer has been giving me issues, so I haven't been able to get online except at odd times using her computer), so I figured I'd do a bit of blogging. I don't have a lot of time, so this may come off as notes instead of a full post.

I'm really shopped out. Saturday and Sunday Tina and I walked around and looked for gifts and Christmas presents. I read in one of the guidebooks that Hong Kong is "the world's shopping mall" and there couldn't be a better description. Everything is available here. There's a lot of useless crap, but there are a lot of great deals. I would have a hard time living here, though, because I'd go broke trying to collect some of the amazing figures and toys they have available.

It seems like every building contains a mall or shopping center of some kind. And all of the stores are very small -- a large clothes store is probably about one-quarter the size of a Gap at the malls in the U.S. A small store is litterally the size of a closet. No lie. Some of the collectables stores we were in Saturday had enough room for the clerk to stand -- all day -- behind a counter and maybe 2 or 3 patrons, who had to be touching to stand inside the store. Amazing.

I love Hong Kong. That actually surprises me. There's constant activity. We arrived at our Hotel at 9:00 at night and the streets were very busy; people shopping, lined up at street vendors, or just walking along and talking. The harbor area is very scenic with boats and ships along with the other part of the city across the way. The people all seem very friendly and helpful (we had to get some help from a bystander to tell a cabbie where we were staying.) and many, many people speak English.

Monday (tomorrow) we head into China -- which is considered basically a different country for the people of Hong Kong -- and that should be interesting. The people here view China as if it's something like the most backward portions of the American South. I'll update more on that as I learn, but it will probably be a couple of days.

Tina and I have done a ton of walking and it's a great city for it. There are plenty of footbridges and lots of public tansport. The streets are often packed, not in the mornings, but in the afternoon and evenings. Later in the day people seem to get more active. The busiest times on the streets are definitely at night.

I've picked up a number of gifts, but I still have to find something for Mom, Dad, and real gifts for my nephews. I bought them some candy which should be fun to see them check out, but that doesn't really count as a real gift.

Okay, I have to shave for dinner with the people we came to work with and maybe go buy a new piece of luggage to get my goodies home. I'll check in when I can.

Oh, the flight over was incredibly long and painful -- two hours to San Francisco and then 14 hours to Hong Kong. Yikes. And not in an exit row. Yikes again.

More later.


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