Saturday, June 02, 2007

beijing -> hong kong

phew! finally taking a big breath after trekking around for a week. i've landed in hong kong after finishing out my short stint in beijing. a couple final thoughts...

- there's a hustler on every street in beijing. it feels like nothing close to communism... it's hypercapitalism. everyone is out for a buck, including this student that ended up doing double duty as tour-guide / salesman. it worked quite well as he was excellent at both and i was looking for an original souvenir :-) this is a shot from the "forbidden city" which was nearby the hyatt i was staying at.

the funky food stories go on as i had dinner at what was described as one of the "most famous" sichuan places in beijing. it consisted of some pretty tasty stuff along with a fish served in a vat of oil (must have been a gallon) along with frogs, pig's feet and congealed pig's blood. i ate the frogs (think 'triplets of belleville') but passed on the other more dubious stuff citing my pseudo-vegatarianism.

here's another shot from the forbidden city. this one is of an older gent doing street calligraphy with a long brush. his elegant scribings were ignored by many who walked by who trampled across the characters. this type of indifference/rudeness was quite common in mainland china, everything from people talking loudly on cellphones in elevators to cramming into subway cars before the people on the train who are trying to get out have time to step out.

beijing was really interesting, but i was happy to leave it behind me as i boarded another air china flt to hong kong saturday afternoon...

as i stepped off the plane, it was easy to recognize what a different place hong kong is than mainland china. it smells different (read: better), looks very high-tech, and people are serially connected with their mobile phones. when going through immigration, one woman didn't get off the phone until the agent was in the process of stamping her passport, she apologized weakly and hustled along. in LAX immigrations you will get chided by the quasi-police for so much as pulling out your mobile phone in the waiting area...

outside of the well-appointed airport, the next thing you notice is the stifling heat. oh lord am i a wimp after living in LA for so long. it's nearly intolerable, something like 90 degrees F + 100% humidity. needless to say i'm chilling out in my hotel room right now after sweating my head off while walking around town this morning. here's a shot from window of the lovely grand hyatt hong kong:

and a shot of the city from the restaurant at the top of the excelsior hotel where old friend alex roberts and i had brunch:

and aleboh:

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