Thursday, September 30, 2004
So I got some sleep. About 10 hours, but still ended up fading by about 8pm last night. Which is why I've been awake since 5am this morning. Stupid time changes...
Hong Kong is pretty cool. However, the crowds are incessant and overwhelming, and the air pollution is ridiculous! My lungs hurt by the end of last night! In fact, we saw a lot of people walking around wearing surgical masks to block what they could of the airborne stuff. Ouch.
What did we do? Good question. We woke up, ate the breakfast provided by the hotel (not bad, and they had coffee thank Pan!), then headed out. Our first area of heading toidness, was the Temple of 10,000 buddhas. We had to get there by walking thru the most densely populated area in the world. Insane I tell you! The Temple was very ornate and wacky. We had to walk up something like 4,000 steps in 90 degree heat, 99.9% humidity, and lots of pollution. Felt good on the lungs. The steps leading up were lined with life-sized golden buddhas. I will come back later and refresh the details. I forget them all and the tour book is upstairs. Back to the stairs. I counted all them damn guys on the way up and only got to about 850 (I messed up and had to restart a couple time. That helped nothing). At the top was a large pagoda, and inside were the actually 10,000 buddhas (I was misled!)-miniature scale. We (me) counted those, and there ended up being the 10,000 as well as a bonus 2,801 or so. Crazy stuff.
Ah crap, I'm almost out of time here! I'll talk quick, and expand later.
We got dim sum-a local ordered for us. The people here have been very nice and very friendly.
Lots of walking was done-I think I'm finally melting away my baby fat!
Rachelle bought a jade pendant, though she had to get rough with the guy to get a good deal (stick and twist!)
More walking, then we took a tram up 450 feet to an overlook over the city. It would have been spectacular had the entire place not been socked in and covered with smog (and maybe some fog, but I doubt it).
Basically we went home then, tired, and sore and dirty. As we stumbled back, Rachelle said she was covered with 1/2 inch of grime. And she was! It was gross
Today we're doing some hiking and sitting on a becah while planning where we are going tomorrow (we are leaving HK and heading into China).
More later when my stomach isn't growling for breakfast and coffee
p.s.-Don't worry, I'm back to being caught up on sleep so I can start not sleeping again!
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
What's happened so far? Well let me tell you! I flew out of Chicago Monday morning and got to London Heathrow no problem. I watched 2 movies and entertained myself with sugar packets and oyster crackers. Good times. I grabbed my bag off the rubber go-around thing (so nice of it to show up!) and headed to customs. It was easy enough, but before they let me thru they made me sit down and eat fish and chips with them. Very strange. Rachelle met outside of customs (she had just flow in from Madrid. That's in Spain), and as I rounded the bend singing along with Montgomery Gentry, I saw her standing there giving me the cutest face! It was the: "It's about damn time you decided to start your damn trip that you started planning before me but here I've been gone a month and now your sorry ass dragged itself offa the couch, but I'm glad to see you because now I can give all maps to you and follow you around" face. Hugs and kisses, oh so cutesy wootsie get a room you silly Americanskis. We headed to the desk for stupid foreigners with no place to sleep, and the folks there helped us get a decently priced place near the city. They were a little cranky because it was late and they were the last ones there, yet all the same they made is sit and have tea and strumpets with them before running to get our train! Fun train ride, walk to the hotel inside the Hotel Wellington made me think of Johnny Walker tasting and Ulmer's hot pockets and so I walked inside yelling "PEEEAAATT!" But they didn't understand and called me a twit. The room was nice and we spent the next day walking around seeing things. Rachelle was slightly amused at my imitation of Chevy Chase in "European Vacation". "Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!!" Insert crazy laugh. However, the drivers in the roundabout were not amused, and on the third lap they were out for blood. We also saw the changing of the guard. THE MOST USELESS WASTE OF TIME/MONEY ON HOLDING ON TO AN IRRELEVANT PAST I'VE SEEN IN A LONG TIME!!! Wow. The band played a Beatles medley which I guess is cool and relevant? But when they broke out into "Livin' on a Prayer" we had to leave. Rachelle didn't want to go, she tried to run out and sing chorus for them. She didn't see the sniper with a sword (saw the 'w'!!) and handful of chips. More walking around, damn fish and chips on every corner. Not in restaurants, people wearing ties and talking clippedly handing them out. So strange! Fresh though.
Back to Heathrow (total time in London-20 hours touchdown to liftoff). We managed to get seats next to each other and the 11 and 1/2 hour plane ride began. It's amazing how a 15 minute nap will make you feel rested. Though when it ends with 8 and 1/2 hours left in the flight it's very anticlimactic. And watching everyone else sleep soundly around you...it sucks. I saw some mountains though. They were pretty. We were in the front of one section, so we had lots of leg room, pop up screens, and a baby next to rachelle that they placed on top of a shelf in a baby seat that straddled Rachelle and the kid's mom. Cool kid. I made faces and the little bastard for a long time. It aroused out of him THE most bewildered expression I've ever seen. It was a: "what in the shit is wrong with that guy!" face. But he liked it when I sawed and poked his feet with a plastic knife and put a cup on his feet. Rachelle and the mom weren't too impressed, because the mom was trying to feed the little guy who kept throwing my presents to him into Rachelle's food. Oops. But I outdid myself on that. As we were getting ready to land, a little girl 12 seats over was crying. I looked over, we made eye contact, I waved hello and smiled, she vigorously nodded no, and cried harder. That doens't even make sense. Who answers a 'hello' with a 'no'?
Hong Kong is very crowded and hot and humid but cool.
Come in tower, we've got a problem. I'm starting to sway and it's nt my intent, and I'm feeling a bit dizzy. Me thinks daddy wants/needs to go pass out somewhere. I hope I can make it back to the hotel room. If I don't, will Rachelle look for me or wake up in the morning, step over me and sell my stuff?
More later if I live
Sunday, September 26, 2004
In 12 hours my flight takes off from O'Hare airport (I hope. Please no delays!). I've been sitting around long enough and I've spent way too much money in the states. It's time to go broke overseas!
Aren't you excited for me? I am.
And I am very very tired. Too much running around finishing things up today-that's what I get for procrastinating! Feel bad for me!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I keep saying I have nothing exciting to report and, well, I still don't I guess. But our trip plans have changed (and I haven't even left yet!). We will no longer be going to Nepal. Thanks to the Maoists, the country ain't all that stable. They are bombing places, taking 'collections' from hikers, and causing general chaos. And they don't like Americans surprisingly enough. So we decided to do the smart thing and not willingly go into a bad situation. How's that for smart? Bet you never thought I'd do something like that, eh? Instead I will be meeting Rachelle in London as planned. But instead of flying to Delhi and then Kathmandu, we've got a 45-hour direct flight to Hong Kong. Now we will be getting 6 weeks in China instead of the planned 3. And I am fine with that. There's a lot to see there so as bummed as I am about Nepal, I'm excited about having more time to see China.
As an added blessing, not going to Nepal negates the need for me to bring hiking boots (at least I hope it does because I'm leaving them here). That lightens my pack, which is nice. My feet are also quite pleased. Why? Let's just say the boots are not nearly as broken in as they should be for 3 weeks of trekking. Or even for an afternoon hike.
Man, my bunions hurt!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Tonight it's the events of the last 30 minutes that need to be reported. I went for my late night Sexy Flanders fog walk (yes, I looked damn sexy in my dirty jeans and ripped flannel. And there was fog), and for the most part it was great. I found myself cruising down one of the streets of my childhood (how's that for cheeseball?), lost in my 'thoughts', Trace Adkins crankin' out "Rough and Ready" in my ears, my stubby little legs (thanks to the wedding last weekend I now have a complex. I'll explain tomorrow) pumping at ~6,000RPMs, oblivious to my surroundings. Which is how I found myself with a close up view of the upended ass-end of a skunk. Tail lifted. Scared/pissed off little wanna be raccoon. My inertia may not be much, but a change of direction may not have been quick enough in coming to avoid the noxious fine mist spray emitting from whatever demonic little crevice them damn things spray it from. Walking quickly became my version of a tomato soup bath, but it weren't enough.
24-hour convenience stores are great for many reasons; tonight was the first instance in my life I thanked the gods in the trees for the tomato soup contained inside the White Hen Pantry on Fairview Avenue in good ole' Downers Grove, IL. The clerk's face insinuated the overwhelming need his guts were feeling to evacuate the chili dog I saw him polish off as I walked in the door. It also spoke volumes as to the amount of fine spray shit mist I was unable to avoid.
Recipe for an anti-skunk bath:
13 mega-sized cans (don't you just love a baker's dozen? What can't they count like the rest of us?) of tomato soup
1/5 of Vodka
4-pack of Guinness
Don't worry, all will become clear in time.
Mix ingredients in a bath tub, stir. Slowly lower body into the mix wearing nothing but a body-wrapping hair net. Shiver and shake in the cold oozing sludge for 10 minutes. Withdraw straw from....and take a sip. If not spicy enough add more cowbe...tabasco.
Whoofdoo. Not a pleasant concoction in which to bathe. And FYI-whoever the hell suggested that as a fine way to eliminate the eau de skoonk had one hell of a sense of humor. Not only does the soup exacerbate the smell, but the tub gets stained and so does the carpet if you're not careful.
Screw it. I'm sleeping outside tonight
Tell me again when I get to leave and become worldly? Less than a week...
Monday, September 13, 2004
Why Columbus? Why not? One of my college roommates lives there. He works for Honda, and Honda put on this big gala on Saturday with lots of free entertainment. Like what? Well I'll tell you. Early in the afternoon we watched Brooks and Dunn perform (they had the sound cranked too high for the unfilled arena). Then we wandered over to see Wayne Brady and friends do a "Who's Line is it Anyway" type performance (funny as hell). Then we watched THE Ohio State University pull off another last second win against Marshall.
Columbus seems like a nice town, but there's too many OSU fans there. And they are not keen on you cheering against their team in a bar....but that's another story.
After the game we wandered back over to the concert arena to watch Jon Bon Jovi! It was a hell of a show! My friends and I debated back and forth the whole time as to whether or not Jon is non-heterosexual or is simply predisposed to prance. (yeah, he's married with a kid or more, but that is irrelevant, ok?).
FYI-don't follow up beer with whiskey cokes. I mean you can, it's just not the best idea.
After the concert we ended up at some dude's house to 'play some cards'. Instead my buddy's wife fed the dog a couple beers and we headed home. A good night had by all
Now I am back at the 'rents' house. I used the elliptical runner this morning. It's a good workout, just be careful. It is possible to get bucked off. Not that I would know personally, my friend from Niagara Falls told me. Don't ask, you wouldn't know him.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
My plan today is to do something other than eat, read, and watch tv. No, I don't know what that means. I leave tomorrow for a weekend with college buds in Indiana and Ohio. Another road trip! It's about time, it's been almost a week since the last!
19 days until I fly out....
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization
Monday, September 06, 2004
Mosquito bites all over your feet-bad news. Those were my lasting reminders of the golf outing last week (the reminders of mental anguish do not manifest themselves in the same way. They can be suppressed and ignored)
Speaking of bad news, I am still not used to humidity! I've been back here for over 2 weeks now, and it's still swamping me! To combat this problem, I've done a lot of sitting around and not moving. It helps slightly.
Joyousity-Last night I stayed up late (what else do I have to do!!) and was rewarded by Comedy Central-the played the South Park movie! I was concerned when I turned it on as to how they could 'clean it up'. Worrying was unnecessary, as they didn't! No cutting out of bad words of flopping peni! It was awesome! I love that flick. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Canada or Candianians. It's an irreverent romp that 'deals' with many issues plaguing our society today! How many shows have you seen that chronicle the love story of Satan and S Hussein and then has small kids break into song praising Brian Biotano for all his works of mercy and glory?
Yeah, I need to get some semblance of a life back.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004(0) comments
A lot happened, but I am not sure how much if any of it I should retell on here. A vast portion of my time there (as is standard) is slightly incriminating. I did have fun though. And I will put one pic from the night on here. Digital cameras are fun!