Reasons why Hong Kong is Amazing


(and why you may not have known it).

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it. Maybe your life has been deplete of proper enlightenment of the world. Maybe whatever. For whatever reason, you’re just not in the know of how cool of a place Hong Kong is. Hong Kong is one of the most wonderful places in the world. This is not me spouting frivolous thoughts like bullets into the air hoping that they will hit any of you, dear readers;.. This is statistical fact. And now you’re saying, “Yeah, sure, where did you get this because this is clearly your own subjective –“

Ah, ah – <waves finger in your face>. Let me stop you there. It’s not at all my own subjective viewpoint, because others in the world feel the same way – the very same, in fact. And (double “in fact”), I’ll go ahead and list those people below:

  1. The people living in Hong Kong
  2. Me, my family, and all of my friends (**yes, all of my friends. If they don’t like Hong Kong or they give you some BS line that they’ve never really been there so they can’t make any of that sort of assessment, then they’re giving you a line of BS. That’s horseshit, actually, and we’re no longer friends,.
  3. People in the air flying to Hong Kong right now. If they didn’t like Hong Kong, how could they make the conscious choice to fly there.

 

Those are, of course, just a few examples, but I don’t want to just sit her and list examples of people who know HK is cool. I want to list the reasons why Hong Kong is categorically one of the coolest places on the planet. Here we go:

Language:  The folks here speak Cantonese – a beautiful dialect of Chinese. It has more tones to it than Mandarin does and many more tacit rules to it that have ever been written in any book. To some it sounds like people are yelling at each other, but they’re really just asking about the weather or talking about going for a dip in the harbor, or noodles, or cds, whatever. As a subcategory, I should really list kids – kids speaking Cantonese. You listen to Cantonese and you may think, “How in the hell do you learn this language?” And then you see kids all over the city spitting this stuff out like it’s the only thing they knew and you find that it’s some of the most mind-blowing stuff ever.

Grit: It’s gritty. Do you know what I mean by that? It’s full of the workers with their shirts off, sitting on the side of the street, smoking, wiping the sweat off their faces with stained rags. It’s full of construction and busses, tractors, industrial trucks running back and forth, beeping, parking on the sides of the street, rushing down the road – not waiting for the pedestrians down the way to pass. It’s subways running day and night, and side streets with small pockets of eateries awaiting the next customer. That kind of stuff. It’s amazing.

Transportation – wondrous transportation. Busses, MTR (subway), taxis, etc. You don’t have to drive. You can, of course, but you don’t have to.

Food – delicious food. A bit tougher to find what Americans call “vegetarian,” but the food’s great.

Boats – lots of them, and they look great out there on the water. Just adds a bit of scenery.

Proximity to other Objectively Cool Places – Macau, Southeast Asia, Mainland China, the Koreas, Japan, Taiwan. Yes, location is good.

Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Beyond, Donnie Yan, Siman Yam, Andy Lau: Watch some HK movies.

Sleeping Dogs – HK is the setting for one of the finest video games ever – Sleeping Dogs. I wish they made a second one, but I haven’t given up hope yet.

 

It’s one of my favorite places and there’s only one way to experience it. That’s all I got for the moment. We’re off to get some more HK in our veins.

 

 

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Samsonite


The suitcase opened its mouth.

“Are you really going to just ignore me right now? C’mon, Sammie! Of all the times we’ve gone through this, and you’re going to wait until right now to ignore me? We’re going on a trip for gods’ sake!”

“Not ’we,’ Henry. I. I am going on a trip. You are not.”

Sammie then turned from the closet addressed her bed. “Do you hear that Mr. Bed. Do you hear the suitcase in the middle of the floor? Oh, the nerve!”

“Oh yes,” said Henry. “Let’s begin to mock me. Yes yes, we always love when you patronize the fact that I’m a thing now, a heartless, bloodless, jobless thing . It’s not like we haven’t been around the corner with this whole human/suitcase charade in the past. You know what your problem is?” The zipper around its mouth turned and twisted slowly as the words came out of it and formed on its face.

“The problem is that you just don’t believe in yourself. You believe something else. You think there’s actually something to this whole life thing. You think you’re just going to get on the flight and it’s all going to go nice and queenly and I’m not going to make a fuss; is that it?”

It was the only green suitcase that she had ever owned – a Stillwell’s brand. But then again, Stillwell’s went out of business nearly thirty years ago. It was the only portmanteau she head aver considered borrowing (at that time you could borrow), but they owner said it wasn’t really selling off the showroom floor. The store was partly hers anyway and she wasn’t about to go in on any sort of negotiation deals. It was the end of the night, the end of her shift, and she was done. By the time her boss found out in the morning, she would have been long gone. She was quitting that job anyway – the next day, in fact. Said the they had an advanced managerial position ant the Piggly Wiggly down on Madison Ave. – the only Piggly Wiggly that was open in Savannah.

“Helloo!” Said the suitcase, flustered.

“Stop!’ Sammie said. “Okay, okay are you done? I mean I have been sitting here listening to you prattle your old zipper back and forth, and yet, you still look at me and give me that stupid silver, well….smile.”

“And you know what, Sam? It’s gonna pay off. Listen. I have connections, We’ve talked about this. We’ve talked about how much my connections are going to help you on this flight. You haven’t even gotten on the plane yet. How can you doubt me here? Look, let’s say. It was just you and me, and we were going to the airport and you were there having this breakdown on your own…And ~”


“It’s not a break down Henry, it’s not. You died on me back there, and now just because you can’t admin that, you …Oh, you just get me so mad!”


“It was an accident!” Henry shifted on the floor and turned to face her as she spun around the room wildly, flipping through various sets of clothing.

“Not working,” he said, intending to prod.

“Don’t care,” she added in the same tone as she crossed back to the chest of drawers on her side of the bed. She looked in the standing mirror which had stood there since their marriage had been good. It looked back at her as she rummaged through her underwear draw to find a few pairs which she placed neatly on the bed next to a stack of t-shirts, several pairs of socks, and even two new pairs of sneakers. – ADIDAS – It was a new brand, but something she had to try; they were 30% off, after all.

Exasperated at his voice, “Zip it!” She cursed at him. “You’re not going to convince me to take you.”

“You don’t know that,” the zipper folded. “Besides, if you know you didn’t want to take me, you wouldn’t be having this conversation with me right now.”

“I’m not,” she said. “Look, can we just not talk about this right now? The cab is going to be here in the next few minutes, and I have to have all my stuff together. Besides, it’s not every day that a girl in my position gets to take a tip to Disney World.” She turned back to the closest and let her fingers run over the dry wooden hangers making a clickety-clack sound.

“You know something, there’s something I’d like to do.”

“Oohhhh,” She turned back to him. She was well into her sixties, and still knew how to wield her smile – the same one that got his attention the first place, the when he was still human and didn’t play with the magic that got him turned into a suitcase in the first place.

“There’s something I heard, Henry. Would you like to know what it is?”

The portmanteau didn’t counter. It was finally her turn. And she let the time drag out. She let the old stained and worn portmanteau just lie there on the beige rug of the master bedroom – the one which had belonged to her uncle’s former college friend from Cornell.

“What?” He asked

“I heard that they’re going to be opening an new Neiman Marcus at Disney world. Did you hear that?”

“No,” he said reluctantly.

She gave hm him that look where she hates her hops one direction andante turned her head the other. “What do you think of that that? It said.

“Never,….” Henry started. “Never heard of it.”

“Why would you? Well… No reason you should, actually.” She turned back around the tone closest. “They sell suitcases. Samsonites. Supposed to be very good.” She allowed her hand to rifle through the hangers again, turning back to the closet.

Then she paused. “Very good.”

Clickety-clack.

An entry from a Tokyo Notebook


There’s a pathway through the streets of Tokyo which holds a heaping handful of dear memories for me. Japan is a place which lives in my dreams – the whole nation, the people, the make-up of the social and cultural bricks which have formed the Japan of now into what it is. It is an enigma.
In 2011 I took the bullet train south into the heart of Tokyo with a few friends. Although the memories are fleeting and it wasn’t a trip of heart-stopping moments, still, what a time we had. I miss it.
I have since located a small notebook which I apparently had with me on that trip. There is only one entry therein with documentation of memory. That memory is typed as it was written by hand.
To my friends then and now, may we have the same handful of opportunities to walk those streets again in the waking world.
-lp

September 27, 2017 – 11:54 p.m., somewhere on America’s coast.


 

Dec 31st, 2011

Woke up this morning & got out of the capsule. Time was 8:47. I called Fielding (in the capsule above me – 804). No answer.
Decided to go down to the 2nd deck and change. Fielding met me there after trying out the 4th deck massage chairs.
We got dressed & went to the ガスト across the street for breakfast. Then we took the train to Asakusa & went to the shrine there (雷門).We took some pictures & got some ice cream. A funny inebriated Japanese man came up to us & began chatting in English. He asked us lots of questions & told us he was 61 years old. We went then to Shinjuku to look for kiseru (キセル) – a Japanese style pipe. We finally fond one at Kagawa – a tobacconist in Shinjuku (the first place was Ikebukuro). We went back to the capsule Hotel & lock a ways (?).
Met up with Mason later. For dinner we went to a great restaurant called The Lock-Up. It’s a horror-themed restaurant where they scare you with the lights off every hour or so. It was a lot of fun.
We then walked around. They went to a rock bar & I left. Now I’m walking down the path at 明治神社 for the new year. It is officially 2012.

Poem – Wanderlust

About how
Very much I am sad
When I think of leaving
This place – another
Home of mine.

12/1 – This morning Fielding woke me up and I met Mason and Fielding in the lobby @ around 9:50. I tried out the 4th floor massage chair for a few. It was great.
The three of us set off & hit Shibuya Station where we got a group picture in front of Hachiko (Exit) crosswalk. Mason headed out & Fielding & I took the Ginza Line to Asakusa & the Tobu Line to Nikko. Once there we realized we only had around 45 minutes until the 咚昭宮closed. We took a cab – the fare was 780 ¥.
The walk up to the Shrine was gorgeous but daylight was fading & we had to move. The area we wanted to see (徳川家康) closed at 3:30. We figured we had some time. So we bought entrance fees (¥1300) & お守り. When we finally made it to the area it was freaking closed!
We missed it by three minutes! Alas, we had taken too many photos thinking we had sufficient time.
I went into the side temple & saw a ceiling painting of the nation’s longest (I think) painting with ink.
As we departed, we realized we had festival food to look forward to. We munched on お好み焼き &some desserts. It was great.
We walked back to the station & Kerrie called me on the way back. I wished her Happy Anniversary, Happy New Year! On the way back (as well) I found a small Mom&Pop craftware shop. I couldn’t resist & bought Kerrie a jewelry box & a small looking glass for her anniversary.
We’re now on the train back – we should be back in Tokyo at around 8:08 p.m.

~

Happy September


73266562            Another beautiful day comes to us and, wherever that day finds you, I send my hopes that you are happy, healthy, and smiling.

It’s been a while, and I’m trying to think what exactly I’ve been up to. Oh wait, I know, enjoying life.

The summer started in June and, before we know it, here we find ourselves again, back at it and ready to welcome everyone anew.

Parents just got back from a short stint in Scandinavia and have sent over some beautiful images of their travels. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to see, and one day I’ll get there.

Also, I have some strange desire to see The Visit. Actually, I just heard it was only rated PG-13. Never mind. If I’m going to see a horror flick, I want it to be something worthwhile. But here’s the thing, and I’ve been over this with many of my friends, good horror movies, in my opinion, are tough to find. Why? Well, because I think there is just too much either gore or shocker-effects in commercialized horror films. It’s hard to find a horror film that really just scares the snot out of you without shocking you from behind a door or something. Anyway, there’s that.

Writing’s going well, and without getting into all the sneaky corners, I’ll just leave it at that and hope that it’s good enough that you’ll believe me.

The summer was terrific and I’m thankful for all the family and friends I was able to spend time with.

All’s well, folks. Happy September.

Miss my family in HK


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It’s been too long. The last time Kerrie and I were in HK was in July of 2014. Yeah, a year ago, but still, it seems like yesterday. The trouble with being so close with people all over the world is that they’re all over the world. I wonder how big of a house I’d have to have to throw a house party with every single friend and family member I had.

Hmm.

Until Next Time


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That’s enough of Asia for one sitting, I think. It was China for three weeks, one week off, and then Japan for two weeks., yesterday at one a.m., we get back from a fortnight in Japan.

The one country in the world that I would certainly live in forever. Taiwan too; I could live in Taiwan. This time in Japan we travelled from Nagoya all the way down to Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kyushu. We took several students with us this time and finished off the last night with a Karaoke birthday party. Happy Birthday, Miguel.

Just got back on Friday at 1 a.m. Slept Friday. Work Monday.

<shakes head>

Good to relax. Until next time, Japan. I’ll miss you.

Short Stint in China – 大吉大利


羊年快樂
羊年快樂

You have not heard from me in about three weeks, right? ‘Tis true; I’ve been away. “Where?” you ask. Soul, China, HK, and back to the U. S.

Here’s the rundown of my past three weeks.

Time: 21 days

Locations: Seven

Countries: Three

Seoul – Wish I could have seen more here. But, I’m glad I’ll get to do that with Kerrie. The truth is we were in the hotel (a nice one) and working for two days straight before we had a little bit of time outside and in country. But, what we did see was pretty cool. Here’s a little snippet of that night. The bar was the major attraction of the evening.

Dalian – The next day we went to Dalian, China. It’s in the North of China. One of my impressions of the city was that it covered a lot of area. There was a lot of space, and things were full of surprises. On one morning, I had to step outside the hotel and see what was going on outside. I took a stroll and found something like these. You’ll notice the Convention Center of Dalian (a huge silver building, lighted up at night) which covered a lot of space. Overall, a nice town with good seafood.

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Beijing – The Northern Capital is a place you have to see at least once, preferably outside the hotel. I was happy to meet up with an old friend of mine. Rui took us up an down 王府井 (Wang Fujing) road and I was able to procure and purchase a pair of swimming trunks in under a minute. We had a wonderful Hong-Kong style dinner and then just a few hours to chit chat. So good to see her. Oh, and I tried scorpion. Tasted like a potato chip.

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Shanghai – We were in a beautiful area of the city. It was called the Bund. A usual spot for the foreigner, yet sadly an area where many people were trampled during the New Year’s celebrations. That seems like a nice lead into my next sentence. Shanghai – overall a pretty cool place. There are lights, nights, Chinese vibes, and a shit ton of foreigners who like to act like they run the place. We were only there for a few days, but were able to go out for a night or two and enjoy.

Shenzhen – There is a marketplace right next to the Hong Kong boarder called the Hu Luo Center. It’s just a large hollowed out building with shops filled in it from the floor to the ceiling. Once you’re inside, there are people trying to sell you everything from hats and wallets to manicures and faux crocodile handbags. Everything. They got it all, and it’s for a price. I’m not too big on the haggling thing, so I’m probably not the best kind of person to patronize these places. What did I start off with? Strawberries. My companions went on to purchase a whole heck of a lot of other things, but at the time I wasn’t really into getting anything. What did I really need?

I wish I could have seen more of Shenzhen, but we just weren’t there long enough to see some other parts. But, you know what? What we saw is what we saw and I was happy with it. There was a great pool in the hotel and I took advantage of it each morning for a nice refreshing swim. That’s really my only impression of Shenzhen – all I really have to comment on. The area of town in which we were situated surely wasn’t the best representation of the city, which itself is vast and filled with all variations of things that relate to things outside of the very Western-Hotel environment I was in.

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Hong Kong – Simply stated, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I don’t say this merely because I have very close long-time family/friends there, but just because of the way the city works, and how it’s basically very different from much of the Mainland. It’s a beautiful bustling port city with all kinds of activity going on every day and every night. The city and the denizens thereof have long attempted to establish a culture and social design of their own, separate from that of China.

I had some time to get out and be a part of the city. We went out and had some lunch, toured a beautiful area of Hong Kong called Sai Kong (known by many as the last garden in Hong Kong). The drive was green, plush, and without the ubiquitous traffic jams that are normally a part of this region of the world. Barbecue grills lined areas of the street, dotting the foreground of the coastline that followed us. After we were done with that, the day was falling and coming to a close. Wai Wai and I headed back to New Town Plaza in Shatin and stopped by a music store. We lamented the fact HMV had sold out or been replaced with another sort of generic cd warehouse. Whatever. I was able to get a 3-cd set of Beyond. Love them!

Finished off the evening and the trip by spending time at the Chan house eating 上海麵 and hanging with my people.

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Chengdu – this was my first time and I was happy to be there. The town was dark and full of a certain mist that I had heard is omnipresent in the city. Historically, Chengdu falls in a particular part of Chinese culture. One claim to historical fame is in the fact that Chengdu has never once crumbled since Ancient China. That is to say that many ancient cities are no longer, but Chengdu is still there. I think I have that fact correct, but I may be wrong.

Hot Pot is supposedly a big issue in Chengdu as it’s a part of Sichuan (四川省) province. And, guess what. It was the one thing I didn’t try. I figure I can get Shabu Shabu in Japan when I leave on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure the food is great. Oh, also there’s this other thing that I thought was weird – rabbit head. They eat that shit. Yeah, they throw bunny heads into pots of boiling water and gnaw off the meat! Serious. The people were great. The city was really pretty, what I saw of it, that is. Other than that, there was one last thing I had to see and I made it happen – me and the Maoster.

And BOOM – that was it. It was over. In the blink of an eye it was like it never happened.

Whoa! What an experience.

Life, the Orient, and everything after – love this shit!

Absence


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Absence

by

L.P. Stribling

A departure beginning with an embrace,

A frigid evening, a driver,

The black back seat, my own silence,

My own space,

 

An airplane ride,

Commotion, all things foreign,

The hanging smiles bewilder me,

Crossing miles, I’ve crossed cultures,

 

Days occupied with meetings,

Shackled am I underneath the formalities,

Of these business layers,

And at night, each night, all I do is miss you,

 

“It’s only three weeks,” they say,

“You can do that in your sleep.”

My head nods, my heart hangs,

Transcontinental flights, 13 hours away.

 

I’d go longer to see you.

Does my return begin the same way?

 

 

 

View from the Top


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We’re staying at the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai and what a view! There’s a pretty nice bar at the top. Lights are dim, red and there’s always some degree of fervor created by the patrons there. Tables are taken up and, with the exception of the one or two lonely empty seats, most bar seats are occupied under either a dimly lit table or the more contemporary snazzed-up bar proper.

But then there’s a staircase. It curves around from the just outside the bar and winds in a curve upwards to another level – the highest. From there is where the view is panoramic, and Shanghai at night is a sight to see. You get to the top of the staircase and have to exit the bar to an outdoor patio. It’s nippy, but certainly bearable. There are tables and even beds out pushed up against the outside glass – the only wall between the top of the building and what would be a long, but eye-pleasing drop to the still ebullient streets of the metro below.

In the center of the patio there’s a circular hot tub.DSCN1717

Yeah, beds and a hot tub. I’m not sure what kind of environment they were all going for here when they designed it, but, it looks like they were satisfied with it.

The view is great here. There’s the radio tower (the one with globes of varying sizes as it rises), and other beautifully colored buildings surrounding it. The area here is called the Bund. There’s a river here and commercial buildings, shopping, and entertainment all along it for miles. It’s a nice walk, if you  have the time.

Shanghai’s great. This is trip at present.DSCN1721

lp