Hong Kong Revisited

This is truly the most beautiful city I have ever seen. At night, if you are high enough up the slope facing Victoria Harbor, the layers of lit buildings make the island look like a confused puzzle of lights and metal and cement. There is a small road above the louder downtown that everyone who visits Hong Kong should take. It is called Bowen Rd., and it starts above the Central/Mid-Levels districts in the west of the city and follows the lights and sounds to Wan Chai three miles to the east. Go at night, enjoy the running dogs and joggers, and once you get a mile or so down the road, you won't hear anything of the city but you will see it at its most beautiful. It also becomes the barrier between the city and the dense forest on some stretches, meaning you can see sky scrapers if you look one direction, and nothing but jungle and loud birds in the other.

I have been taking this road a lot because I am training for a half marathon, which is something I've wanted to do for some time.

Enjoyed Halloween last night. Compared to Isla Vista, it was less barbaric, but the amount of people was terrifying. I already had many beers by the time we headed to Lan Kwai Fong, the central bar district in the city, and as we turned the corner out of the IFC mall on Queen's Rd. in downtown, I thought we just had bad timing seeing all the people. But looking up the street, I couldn't believe it. There was an army. Police were screaming in Cantonese, a language I don't understand at all, little kids were dancing and yelling, and there was chaos everywhere. It took about two hours to go five blocks, and the barricades forced us to zig-zag up streets lined with closed kiosks and stores filled with crazy people and wide eyed cashiers. I have never seen anything like this many people, it was great.

The best seats on the double decker busses are always at the front of the second level, but one time I stood on the bottom surrounded by school boys who were loud and rude. They all wore white uniforms and most wore glasses, and their black hair all looked the same. They yelled and laughed until we stopped at a bus stop in front of a class of school girls in blue uniforms. The boys lost their voices and stared through the windows at them, unable to speak. One girl whispered in her tall friend's ear and they both laughed as a few people climbed on the bus. The doors closed and the bus lurched forward, making all the timid boys stumble back and begin to yell again as we left the girls on the sidewalk to wait for their ride.

We walked down an alley and heard music and saw red light coming from under a thick velvet curtain covering a back door to something. To get inside to the lights and the music I had to move a piece of rotted ply wood that acted as the door to the small patio that surrounded the curtain. Inside, a skinny man looked at us as we peaked our heads through and said, "Welcome back!" and I smiled, but we had never been there before. The club is called HOME, and its happy hour ends at 3am. Walk down Cochrane St. (or is it Rd?) near the Mid-Levels escalator and turn down the alley that has the Gecko Bar sign in front of it. No funny stuff, but nice people.

In Nanjing there is a beautiful lake, but to see many tourist spots, one must walk around it. It can be a long walk, but it is beautiful. The sidewalk is made of wood planks and trees line the busy road that follows walkers around the water. The trees are losing their bark, and the original, young color of the old trees is now obvious. The trees stand above strange plants that have long, dark green colored leaves with yellow splashes on them, the same yellow of the old, exposed tree skin. From the old dynasties, the original painters of these trees must have been very sloppy workers, for they forever changed the chemistry of the plants they worked above.

Been very busy. My apologies if anyone has checked this blog and found, over the past five weeks, that there is nothing new here. Life is rocky, and my schedule is nowhere close to understandable and thus posting is sometimes forgotten. I'm back in the thick of things though, and will send more abstractions soon! As the English of this city say, Cheers!

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