Friday, January 07, 2005

Hong Kong

Ok, so I've been a bit quiet on here lately. I made it back to LA, did Christmas and the seeing old friends thing, worked the Tournament of Roses again, read books, watched USC kick the sh*t out of an overrated midwestern team in the Orange Bowl (I can't decide if I felt more triumphant when we took the first turnover back for a touchdown or the second... or when I heard the TMB playing Tribute in the background of Stoops' post-game interview). You know, the usual.

But right now, I'm finding it hard to believe that I'm sitting in a coffee shop with "free" (as long as you buy something, you can camp out forever) high-speed internet access listening to "Unforgettable" (just one example of the stellar music selection they play here) in the middle of Hong Kong. Well, technically I'm on the Kowloon peninsula in the middle of the Tsin Tsai something shopping district, but whatever.

My flight got in at a quarter to six in the morning, and the drive into the city has to be the most surreal half-hour I've ever experienced. I was led to a bus, on which I which I was the only passenger, and driven through the dark along well-lit roads, surrounded by nothing but lit-up skyscrapers, and saw almost no one. It looked like all this civilization was just empty. Then we passed the harbor, and you couldn't make out anything but the random patterns of lights on shipmasts, not the ships themselves, and that didn't really help to bring me back down to earth.

I got to my hotel around 7 a.m. and, not surprisingly, my room wasn't ready. So I stowed my backpack there and started walking around the city, up through Kowloon park, where I passed through the occasional plaza full of old people doing tai chi (or is it kung fu?). There was the occasional runner, and lots of people walking through on the way to work.

Now I always want to arrive in a city at the crack of dawn. But I'd like to shower first... I've got till 9 a.m. to chill and wait to check into my room.

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