is that possible?!?!
As I type it, it's hard to believe that I've been here for 2 months already!
My apologies for the lack of posts recently. Things are definitely picking up at work lately and there hasn't been much new or exciting. The good news is that the smog has been cleared and we are expecting some bright, clear and sunny days over this next week or so as China hosts national leaders for the APEC conference. The government has shuttered the factories and given the people the week off in an attempt to paint the city in the best light. There's obviously been lots of working going on to beautify the city in advance of this conference. I can only imagine what it was like while they were getting ready for the Olympics!
I spent this last weekend in Hong Kong to renew my visa....and it was everything I needed it to be. I suppose it's not a bad rhythm to be in....a visit to another city every 30 days. I'm thinking Shanghai at the end November. Anyone want to meet me there? And then, of course....it's back to the States for the holidays!
This trip to Hong Kong provided me with lots of time on my own to wander the streets. It's still pretty warm and humid here so I did retreat regularly to the comfort of my hotel, but I did find myself in some great spots....like the middle of the protests! Yes, right smack dab in the center of it. When I got there it was the middle of the day and things were quite peaceful. It sure did seem that many of the protesters we catching up on some sleep. I've got to say, walking through and reading all of the notes and signs you get a much better sense of what's going on there. That these people are willing to uproot themselves and their regular routines to stand for what they believe in is pretty moving. The whole encampment was extremely well organized. There was a recycling center, there were little shops where you could get supplies/food/water, there was a small study room where they would go to sit and do homework or simply catch up on their outside lives. While it doesn't seem likely that the government is ever going to give in, I do hope that these protesters are heard and that their sacrifices were/are not in vain. #umbrellarevolution
Hollywood Road (yes, really) is known for it's collection of antique stores....many were closed on the sunday that I was there, but that's ok....I wasn't planning on shipping back pieces of jade or stone buddha heads. I did manage to find a few touristy trinket shops and was able to nab a brass Chairman Mao statue that is sure to look good next to my Statue of Liberty collection (HA HA HA). In the middle of Hollywood Road is the Man Mo temple. LOADS of incense in there....to the point that it was getting tough to breathe. Either way, glad I popped in there and got a look.
Oh yeah...and I decided to try out the subway system. Wasn't nearly chaotic as I expected....quite easy to manage. And super cheap!! Granted I was only going a couple of stops...but it was $0.58 each way! Was I the tallest person on the train? Sure was!
Today I had a mission....to get a hair cut. I haven't seen too many barber shops in Beijing....and I figure that it's just easier if the barber speaks a little english. The Mandarin Oriental hotel has a legit barber shop...and it's been there since 1963. Was it a little pricey, sure. But it was fantastic. Freddy, my barber, and I talked about why he liked the weather here in Hong Kong better than the bitter cold of Beijing. He then made some crack about how "all English people are boring" because of where they live....well the british gent in the chair next to me didn't find that so funny. Anyway, if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong...check this place out!
Last thing...I need new clothes. I joked often before I left the states that this adventure would be the greatest weight loss plan I'd ever participated in. Well, that's proving to be true. I've lost a good amount of weight and most everything I own is starting to fall off of me. I know...it's a tough problem to have. I found the local J. Crew today....and had a little too much fun. Let's just hope that I don't put too much of this weight back on once I get back!
I'm heading back to Beijing tomorrow....and already dreaming of my return to Hong Kong.