Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3 Recap

It's Tuesday morning, I want to get out and enjoy my day (and figure out how I'm going to get back to Shanghai, ugh) so I'll make this quick:

Yesterday I met a friend's father's friend (networking skills: I have them) for breakfast at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, which is this colonial-style building with a swanky dining and bar area decorated with framed magazine covers and newspapers clippings. It's members only, so I was lucky to go.

The lady I ate with is American and works in government relations (sort of like lobbying, I believe) for finance companies in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. She graduated college, came to Hong Kong, worked four different part-time jobs, ran out of money, hung on by threads for nine months until she was hired by the American Chamber of Commerce, and she's been working in communication here ever since.

After that, I rode the Mid-levels escalators - the longest series of outdoor covered escalators in the world, woo hoo! Doing so is a good little exercise in voyeurism - the escalators go up past all these high rises and you can gaze at people's laundry hanging outside windows, almost close enough to touch, as you glide by.

In the afternoon I spent 2.5 hours in visa-office hell, just waiting, waiting, waiting so I could walk up to a window, hand over my papers and have the girl say "three o'clock, tomorrow." It literally took less than a minute once I was up there. While I waited, I chatted with an American FedEx pilot. Before he moved to Hong Kong, he was in Alaska for two years, so we had plenty to chat about.

After that I took the tram up to The Peak. I was there in time for the sun to set and watch all the lights come on. Sigh. It's really gorgeous up there. Enough to make a girl want to move...

Then last night I met a group of Couch Surfers (online travel forum/traveler hosting network) for a drink - there were three students - from Belgium, Ecuador and Spain - plus a lady on sabbatical from Spain and a long-haired Texan who makes a living testing pharmaceuticals on himself (i.e. they put him up for a week, feed him medication, observe him, he goes home with $5,000).

Everyone wanted to know how Shanghai compares to Hong Kong. I told them I like Shanghai but Hong Kong is way better. Why? They asked.

I could've gone through a gigantic arsenal of reasons, but instead opted for the brief composite: "Because this was never a Communist country."

The Ecuadorean and the human guinea pig looked at me sideways - like I'd said something unfitting for a group of multi-national, friendly, non-judgemental globetrotters. Oh well. Truth hurts.

Alright, I'm off! Hope I can find a reasonably priced plane/train/coolie to hump me back to Shanghai.

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