Friday, January 22, 2010

Traveling Fleets

January 21, 2010

I woke up dreaming about Beijing. The novel I have been reading keeps on talking about how amazing it is. Shit… so I’m on the opposite side of the world… Does this mean I have to find a way to get there?
A little later that evening…
So, I wrote an email to my friend that I met in Kowloon the first week I was here (the Chinese elevator guy, named Wei) We had been writing brief hellos to each other through email since the day he left. My letter basically explained how the book keeps on bringing up Beijing and how awesome the street pancakes are and how wonderful the life can be. Aside from a mere proclamation, I also said I hope we continue to keep in touch. Wei replied…. That he wanted to buy me a ticket to come up and stay, granting me the chance to agree/disagree with the teachings of my beloved novel. I had many questions to be answered. Did I want to entertain the possibilities with this guy? Should I let someone volunteer to be responsible for me in another city 900 miles from me? Was I sure of what kind of situation I was really getting myself into? I remembered the attraction between us, but I also recall spending only a couple hours with this man. I definitely don’t want a romance… that’s not what this trip is about. But, how can I pass up a free trip to Beijing! I called him the next day and told him that I wanted to come just as friends which I believed it not to be such a remarkable request considering we’ve only met once anyway. He agreed, and the ticket was booked.

January 22, 2010

The events of this day pretty much sucked all the way up into I got into Beijing at midnight. I was out of Mui Wo by 10am and tried to make sure everything was right and ready to go. Wei booked the flight for 545pm in the afternoon, so I was thinking I had plenty of time. The course of the day after this point of poor planning resulted into me missing the ferry boat at 10am, making me late to the visa office before they closed for lunch. Two hours later, I got the bus that had to drive through 5pm rush hour resulting in me missing my flight by 10 minutes. Luckily, somehow without getting discouraged, I worked through each hurtle and got myself out of the country somehow, and on the next plane at 7:30pm with a small fee of 100HKD.

(it’s times like these though that I deeply doubt my abilities to be successful. How the hell does anybody miss all three important parts of a journey, in one day nonetheless!!) And, it’s always just when I think that I’ve got it all handled. Man, if anyone, or source, or energy, or God can tell me what the fuck I can do to remedy that… please spare me the stress and embarrassment!! Sheesh!

Moving on… Wei picked me up at the airport and took me straight to a coworker’s going away party at the Party Place. Ever heard of a 3 story karaoke hotel? Yeah, me neither. Chinese love their American sing-a-longs, haha, Welcome to Beijing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happiness is a Warm Gun

January 19th, 2010

Ninety 18 year old Chinese girls came today. It was a nice break from the 3-6 year olds that came the two days before. Well, I take that back, they were great children, but they were also energetic and indisposed. Particularly, when we started digging into the beds. The idea was to let them plant a couple of bok choy seeds, but the second I turned around I came back to find all of the kids were searching for something to put in their mouths. Half of the kids were digging for earth worms, trying to eat them, and the other half already gobbled their bok choy seedlings and had nothing to plant. (haha) Either way, I was excited for a more mature audience. The girls were a delight. They were so happy to get out of class and away from the books and were even more excited to hang out with me, a smiling, English-speaking peer from the United States. This, I loved.


Sharon invited me to meet the Mui Wo crew at a barbeque on the beach that night. The kids were so lighthearted and sweet. A blonde boy from UK, bearded kid from New Zealand, a British Japanese beauty named Iko, Lauren the absent minded but also very beautiful white girl, Corinna (Sharon’s tall and talented roommate), and her boyfriend, Alex. The beach had benches with pits in the middle, available for late night shenanigans of the fishing village to have a drink and light up. I only had one beer and had to get back to Jenny’s for some rest, but was happy to have a night out in town, a change from going to a bar all the way down in Hong Kong’s wooptie- doo drinking district.

Monday, January 18, 2010


January 18th, 2010

So, Jenny works as a teacher for young scholars all over Hong Kong, inviting school programs to spend a day at her home, they come to help her plant her garden beds, return the goods back to the Earth, and mindfully extract only what is essential to consume. This week she is hosting over 200 school children from all over the islands, teaching them to be a part of the food process, rather than just the consumer. She has allowed me to come and help with her camp in exchange for accommodation and meals, very much similar to Peter and my relationship, only this time I get a little more interaction with other walks of life, rather than sitting in from of a computer screen…I can actually practice what I’ve been preaching.
I admitted to never planting a garden myself, “Well, that’s what you’re here for!” was her reply and I spent the early hours of each morning taking a crash course on how to sow the seeds, for the afternoon would be the time I would turn around to teach it.

Weapons of Good Health

This morning marks the first morning of my gardening adventures. Ark Eden is run by Ms. Jenny Quinton, her two Philippino house servants, and Sharon, a beautiful Chinese girl, whom I’ve come to adore greatly through my stay. The outfit advocates P Coil, self sustainability, and permaculture; recycling, reusing, growing, and replacing resources in the land we live on, rather than ignorantly destroying them.
P Coil is a lifestyle manifested off the idea of what the world would be like without oil. They don’t drive cars, use plastics, water heaters, electrical appliances, or gas to survive. Although it sounds a little archaic, these hippies swear that they will be survivors of the inevitable Apocalypse when the world finally manages to deplete itself of resources. Jenny has some friends of this breed; luckily she only considers the life. She doesn’t overkill it.

Self sustainability is essentially two aspects 1) being productive 2) never visiting Walmart for stuff you think you need. The ideas work out very well when it comes to food, Great Value brand is pretty much poop anyways. Only… now, I feel compelled to share the only notable example in which I disagree... soo, instead of using laundry detergent, these people go pick the buds from the soap nut tree, dump them in the washer, and hang the clothes out to dry. No chemicals, no store, no machine. Unfortunately there are just some ways I’m not convinced. Although my jeans feel much crispier, I don’t know if I enjoy finding splinters in my ass from the soap pieces and nut shavings stuck in the fabric, as well as having to wait four days for my clothes to be dry. Just some things….

Permaculture is these two things combined… developing a community, environment, and pseudo-social structure intended to harmonize human beings with the earth.

Zombie Autopilot

January 16th, 2010

After not falling asleep until 5am this morning, the afternoon felt a little hazy, but the weather was beautiful enough to pull anybody out of a funk. I didn't come alive until about 11am. I poured myself some tea, rolled out the yoga mat on the porch, and laid in the sun to feel more like a human, less like a zombie. At around noontime, I decided it would be best for me to shower. But, then quickly learned that a shower wasn't going to work out since the little stream that comes down from the mountain to fill up our hot water tank chose not to trickle today...Consequently, making a bath impossible and suddenly, the hangover much worse.

Peter said my options were to boil a kettle on the free burner and bathe out of a bucket orrrrr... huff into the city once again and find a yoga class with showers, gym, or spa to go to, and basically pay for a hot rinse.
I picked yoga, naturally and went to a really wonderful class of Hong Kong island, and afterward enjoyed a rain shower head and wall full of body jets. yesss.

As if I didn't have enough hoorahs last time I journeyed for a drink, I stopped in Lan Kwai Fong again, but made sure to maintain my weariness of British bastards in sports jackets. I found a bar that looked mostly Chinese and sat quietly.
Not even 10 minutes there, I met a French guy. This man should really have been on the list of no-goes, but he seemed unusually less arrogant than most. Ferrick, from the UK was maybe about an inch taller than me, blonde, significantly less hairy, and probably the least typical French dude ever. We shared a few beers, met up with a energetic married couple from Spain and had a couple more beers at the JW Marriott Hotel. (oooh ritzy) And, definitely rang up the room tab, just having too much fun, chatting and bullshittin'. We laughed up tons of fun, and I'm talkin' weird, kindred spirits, best-friends-from-another-lifetime, newlyweds type of fun.

I attempted to exchange my contact information with all of them because they were such a delight, but when the pens came out and the numbers were written, I realized I had nothing to reciprocate. The only relevant information I could give was my name, and possibly my email address.
Other than that, I was a one night stand.

The similar scenario resurfaced, deja vu from the night before, and the Saturday before, and so on. I'm always blabbing the same excuses...

" well, I don't have a phone because I'm only here for a month. no, I can't give you my address. "
"yes, it's true, I fly back across the world very soon. Maybe we can meet again in the states?"
"i mean, i could give you my US cell number, but would that really do any good now would it?"

With all that said I'm sure I could find a way to reconvene if I really wanted to. The truth is...
this mysteriousness is a strange and powerful feeling.
So, I have a little red notebook full of wonderful travelers or fellow Chinese... that.. I will always remember.
and, they... may never see me again. I suppose that's the life of a solo traveler. I just share a couple of laughs and beers and leave off into the darkness... I'll just be that one American girl that you met in Hong Kong one night, that you downed Whiskey shots with, and asked yourself where in the hell did this chick come from? And even though, I'll tell you the truth of just about everything... you won't believe much, and doubt that I can make it back by myself insisting of finding a better way, knowing that I will be okay, instead of just letting me take off into the middle of the night. But then, suddenly, I jet off abruptly, telling you there's only 10 minutes until the last boat departs and I will ride off towards the ferry pier to disappear into the hills of Lantau without a phone or an address. And, either you will remember me or forget, either way... that will be the end of story.

I will probably write about you in my blog, and wish I had a photo of you, like I always do, to go with every wonderful meeting. And then I'll move towards my pillow, leting the words take responsibility for my carelessness, dreaming it away. Goodnight.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fairies Kick Ass!

January 14, 2010

I spent the morning working on articles for Holistc asia and helped Peter plant fruit trees by the creek and collect wood for our fire pit. No water pressure today so I was dirty for the evening. Besides that I had a bed to fall into that night I truly felt like camping, even down to the smell of smoke lingering in my hair and the dirt underneath my fingernails. I was so tired by the end of it, I didn't even care, but hopefully the water will be back tomorrow so I can wash myself, and my sheets, respectfully.

Peter wrote an awesome poem about our day.. it was about getting dirty, giving back to the land, enjoying small delights, walking around in the gulleys, and ending his rhymes with something about fairies kicking ass. YeaH!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


January 12, 2010

What a beautiful morning!! And Peter is in great spirits, too. He said that he's mourned his loss of love for two days too long now, it would be very un-yogi-like to continue and allow it to linger. The gray period has passed, and the sun is smiling. :D
We had a couple pieces of stale rye toast and a fresh Pomello off of the tree, had a funny conversation about American politics and headlines, and how crazy us Americans truly are, especially from the outside looking in.

After breakfast, I showered and geared up. I couldn't wait to get out on a hike all the way up the peaks of South Lantau and down to the fishing village of Tai Po. I planned the hike to take me anywhere from 3.5 to 5 hours resulting in a 7-9.5 km walk.

I hopped on the bike and rode it down the hill and around the mountain on the other side of the Ferry pier, stopped at the Mui Wo market and bought a batch of cherries, bottle of water, and an Asian pear. My adventure started at around 11am at the Nam Sham campground. The sun peaked high in the sky and by noontime I was ontop of my first summit.

A little gay video I made before my camera died and I got lost on the top.

I followed an extremely narrow and steep path lined with rocks and boulders, and had to stop and wait every so often to let the wind gusts pass and not blow me off the course. The first leg of the trip challenged my stamina in ways I hadn't experienced before. I didn't realize that I was potentially going to walk the entire east coast of Lantau island on a summit, despite any feelings of vertigo or loneliness. I also didn't know that the trail would take me at least five hours, perpetuous climbing with jagged rocks and slippery moss. I was in for it, unknowingly. The bottle of water ran out halfway through the trip and all of the trailheads were written in Chinese, certainly not blatant enough for me to decipher. Not to mention, all the way up to this point in my life I've been working with a fantastic sense of direction, always forgetting the map or what it said, as well going around in circles and showing up late to things due to always getting lost. I suppose this will be one last time I was going to give my survival skills a chance to rise above patterns of habit.
A mixture of questions clouded my mind. Should I be out here alone? Can I physically make it over this bluff? And, more importantly, am I even going the right way? The peak at Sunset Point was a bit further than my video footage and equally as breathtaking, but also tremendously treacherous, or so it felt so, being that I was alone.

Then, I saw Tai Po through the thicket, and at this point calculated about an hour and half of walking back to civilization. 4:04 pm.
Liberation. Once I knew I was headed home, I seemed to take more frequent breaks, and sit at every available rock to soak in the scenery. I started inviting the violent wind gusts, instead of running from them. I enjoyed the breeze running through my hair. I liked the loose gravel and slippery rocks, weaving in and out of the thick bush and open plateaus. Screw being scared of being out there. I was in for the tackle. This was my time. I was seeing Hong Kong from a different view, a very high one at that.

The bus ride back was long, but I felt so wonderfully accomplished and way more confident in my navigation skills. Success!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

These Bullets are Harmless

Jan 10, 2010

It's Monday and there's not too much on the agenda.
I digress...

At this point in time, the weather is still shitty and there is not much anything better to do then to invoke literary inspiration, let it marinate for an hour or two over lunch, and then regurgitate it immediately while it is still steaming fresh. I'm now 95 pages into a beautiful book, and I can't wait to get further. This is my plan for the remainder of the afternoon.

"Blonde Lotus" by Cecilie Berg is basically a woman's account of her own emergence into the Chinese culture; first, by fucking her way in, taking freebies and any type of Cantonese speaking male. Then, finagling her way through hotel night stays and weekend retreats whichever way she could get them. Luring men in and waking before dawn, getting up and out before they ever noticed. She lived like this for a few months, recounting every blunt rolled, man fucked, and house raided. Then, by actually engaging in the culture, studying, and moving onto more respectable endeavors, she learned and developed her ways towards becoming a Chinese scholar. And, got rid of the one night stands.
God, I love this book. Not only does is the woman gritty and remorseless, but she is also extremely honest about what she was after. Not saying that being a touristy slut is the way to get to the top, but there are certainly a number of risks you take and lack of responsibility that comes when you are a visitor in someone else's world.

The more and more I liquidate my own emotions and experiences into words, the more the apparent and interesting humility of a traveler becomes.

Ultimately, I am not reading this book as a guide to Chinese sluttery, but rather as a testament of the wild nature of traveling, and all the kinds of wonderful adventures that are possible. I suppose I'm taking the more nature-oriented route... Instead of hotel stays and intoxicated encounters, I've found myself spending hours on top of tropical mountains and green hilltops, having an affair with Hong Kong's warm sunshine.

I wrapped myself in a blanket next to the oil heater in the living quarters, getting deeper and deeper into the read. At around 9:30pm, Peter rushed in with a somber look on his face. He had a rough night tonight. On the way up the hill to the house, he said he cried. I hope I can be of some friendly support to him, even though I don't know what being heartbroken feels like. I've only known him for about a week at this point so I doubt my 22 years of experience on this earth can give him the right kind of advice. I made some pasta with broccoli instead. The dinner was a little tense, as I just kept on reminding him that we were going to have fun together regardless. He was desperate, sad, and apologetic for not being a better host, puking his emotions out all over the meal, and not barely touching his plate.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Body Mechanics

January 9th, 2010

I covered the BYOB West Kowloon Promenade Festival event for Holistic Asia. It was a privilege to participate in the 54 Sun Salutation challenge, and be apart of the event. The organization reminded me of some of the grassroots interest groups at Florida State, invoking creative ways to manipulate recyclables into functional works of art, and still celebrating how much fun it can be. They invited all kinds of exhibitions; music, art, architecture, yoga, and dance.

Here's a small blurb from my article for the event.
Located at the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, beginning on December 4, 2009, the park’s open spaces has allowed impressive exhibitions, ranging from a 30m equilateral Pavilion made of paper tubes, to an entire wall structure resurrected with toilet industrials, and a boat made out of plastic pipes. The organizations’ efforts tackle social questions about cultural identity, particularly addressing what the future has in store for art and architecture in Hong Kong. By inviting exhibitioners to reveal their own creative ways to make the city greener and more beautiful, BYOB’s efforts have showcased ways to manipulate recyclable materials and resources into both remarkable and functional works. Such innovative ideas provoke even deeper ethical questions; what are we doing to impact our city, what is happening to our wastes and recyclables, and how we can come together and find creative ways to redefine their uses. As simple as reusing plastic water bottles for plant potters or creating a wind chime out of aluminum cans, the possibilities are endless.

Find me a George!!

I went out to dinner afterward with two Yogis from the Russia and the UK that also attended the BYOB challenge. The couple has been traveling all over the world for 18 months now, and are still going. With $5,000UK and one backpack, they told me they're just huffing it, getting to and from places by foot and train, aside from their flights they have to take across islands or continents. We discussed Mozambique, Somalia, Nigeria, Jordan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, each in quite wonderful detail as well as all the different types of Indian curry, where to find it authentically, and what to do when rushed by an African rhino.
Their spirit was incredibly infectious and inspiring. George was full of stories, never allowing for a dull moment of conversation. Where as Corsica, the Russian girl, was stoic. She sat quietly and let her partner do all the talking, but still stayed present in the conversation, which is more than I can say for most girlfriends along for the ride. Every so often she would interject, and advocate the 'simple but lavish life' of travels. She also mentioned how she didn't leave her family and friends behind, she just left the house and the car, the income, and so forth, explaining what immense leap of liberation it is.
So, I'm just not sure at what point in life I will find that similar peace and liberation within, but I know one day I'll have a Corsican revelation and decide that I too have had enough conversations, enough jobs, and enough money. One day, I will too just shutup, and leave.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How am I Stacking Up (an indulgence of introspection)

(forgive me for this post, it's a little on the internal side...)

Whether it be amongst comrades or fellow luddites, or the guitar player at Ol' Zen's bar in Kowloon, or even more intimately with the friendly morning conversations over Masala tea with a wonderful man opening up his home to me for a lifetime experience. There's a lot to be said about these minor encounters.
Back at home, I often found myself mostly struggling with distinguishing verbal and emotional sincerity. Mostly, I spent nights butchering my behavior, pining over what I should have said or done, or meant to say, laying in bed at night writing in a journal of all the things that I wished would have came out, and scribbling down neverending jibberish... irritating the incalculable question: of how many times in life will I miss the actual significance of the mere wonderful moments. How can I recollect them all?

Is there ever too much introspection?
Here, I've created a space on the internet to indulge myself. Sometimes I feel as if these words may be received with less merit as if I were a non-fictional writer, just articulating the very nature of events. But, who can account from this human experience better than I, the person experiencing it. I always feel the need to ask myself...
is my life nearly that interesting?

Coming back from the night on the ferry, I put this song on repeat. A tear or two. How beautiful to put into words... life's gamble. That there isn't any crispy realization to the events occurring, it takes time to digest how much you've laid down, and how long you've actually been bluffing and purging out false realities.

And, there's times like these that you can see your life from across the planet.

Lonely thoughts, huh?

Man, I would have loved to lay my head on a familiar shoulder, of someone I care about, and share this experience, the time spent in someplace unfamiliar. But, I suppose it's the unfamiliarity that brings you to such conclusions.

Building the stacks of experience.

Fire in the Hole!

Original Post re-edited as of Janaury 10, 2010

January 8th, 2010

It was time to go back and venture the city. I haven't fired my drinking gun for at least 4 days now and was due for some kind of liquid company, probably whiskey.
So, even though my excursion to the city was set to end in a drunken draw, I made sure to attend a yoga class first before I did anything else. After Dickson's yoga, which wasn't anything special, I found my way to a tiny tattoo parlor, run by a petite Chinese girl who specializes in feminine style work. I suppose it's important to mention I didn't make any set city plans following the yoga sesh or before the drinking time. Tattoo just seemed like an obvious addition. So I consulted and was quoted. ....We'll see what kind of design she comes up with and whether or not I will really do it. (...........TBA)

PARTY TIME (Editor;s note: I was scared to reveal the truth of the story,, but it's been wearing on my conscience since.

The true accounts of this entry have been edited on January 10, 2010)
No more holding back.

I made it to the happy hour district, the notorious Lan Kwai Fong. The time was about 5:30pm, and all the Englishmen business professionals were out and about in the sports jackets holding oversized Guiness glasses. There seemed to be a scarcity of both Chinese people and women, but the tremendous amount of young men obviously didn't detour me from the pint I was relatively craving. ;)
( also interesting to note I hadn't yet come across one single American person, other than Aaron and myself. (Eh, ponder.)
Moving on, I sat down at a sidewalk table at this place at Bit Bit's and had the largest and cheapest San Miguel on tap they could give me. Three young English guys and one frenchman parked right next to me, and asked to borrow a chair. One gesture led to another and I was taking whiskey shots with them by the end of it.
I then found myself seated in a cabby right next to Michael __whatever__? on the way to Wan Chai for a Thai sauna. Oh boy... there are only two types of sauna places in Hong Kong; one involves naked women who also give 'deep tissue massages' and the other involves gay men 'probably doing the same'. At what point in the whiskey extravaganza did that arise as a good idea! I quickly came to my senses and told him that we probably should just find another pub to have a beer and forget about the massage idea. Totally enraged and faster than you could say, Fire in the hole! Michael unveiled his true identity, that he was actually an extreme asshole and better yet, a raging hater of all American women and absolutely despised the very presence of them (us). For the next two minutes at a traffic light, Michael ____? preceded to imitate his so-called idiocy of young US girls who proclaim to be free, FUCKING STUPID AMERICAN GIRLS he said OH I'M SO FREE, LOOK AT ME, SO FREE while bopping their heads around, falling down in high heels and puking in pub toilets. Normally this kind of banter wouldn't bother me, as I am the first to agree and use the sorority girls at FSU as a perfect example. But, this wasn't a conversation making fun of college girls... this was a bash! And he was all this in particular to me!
So, I attempted to brush it off as an general insult and not one directly in my face. We got off in Wan Chai, bickered about our next stop, got one last beer, and hailed another cab to get back home. The can ride was quiet. I leaned against the opposite window.
Out of nowhere, Michael what-ever-his-name is grabbed my shoulder and pulled me towards his mouth. I pushed away and he grabbed me tighter.
At this point in time, I reared up with adrenaline and kicked him against the side of the cab.
STOP THE CAB, NOW!!! I turned to Michael ____? (fucking asshole) 'well, how ironic Michael whatever-your-name-is... you allegedly ventured out of town with... no, WAIT! go figure AN AMERICAN GIRL! and look, you invited me into a cab that you, yourself went and hailed. I hate to be clouding your intellectual space with my half wits of an American brain, you're a fuckin asshole. FUCK YOU.

and turned to the cab driver, politely asking him to let me out the door. Two seconds later, I hailed a different cab to take me back to the pier. what a fuckin moronic dick brained fuck bag.
(minus the fact that telling him off was quite liberating, I admit my drunken actions also bring me guilty of being an complete idiot, too.) that could have ended pretty badly, like something you may see in a plot sequel for the movie Taken 2, or some show like that.
I will wake up in the morning and try to wash off the shame.
tsk. tsk.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


January 7th, 2010

I looked at the window right when my eyeballs could let light in and took note of the greyish light shining through. Before even rolling over, I immediately grabbed my computer off the night stand and checked the weather report. Rain, rain, rain and 27 degrees celsius. Shit.
At around 2pm the weather cleared enough to take a jog and survey the sites a little more, making mental notes of what areas I wanted to explore thoroughly when the weather was better. I still managed to walk up the side of a chinese cemetery and take pictures of Lantau Bay.
I made Peter dinner. Obviously Asian stir fry veggies and rice.
Go figure.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Clay Pigeons

Jan 6th, 2010
(catching up in time measure, now consciously switching to the present.)

The country life. Ahimsa, non-violence. Absolute solitude. The house breathes, the wind hisses through the trees, and the ground bellows beneath with all the wonderful things that spring out from its soil. Now that I'm here, I feel very much a part of it. I'm not worried that the toilet is outside, or there is no water pressure, or that the doors to the house are made of iron and paper, or that my bed is made up of a sheet and a sleeping bag, or finally, that maybe the Chinese never really considered privacy when they built their villa homes, and I can hear Peter snoring and the sun blindingly wakes me up from my window in the mornings.
I invite it... all.


Regardless of my reserves, I am so excited to boil a pot of water over the wood burning oven in the outhouse for a cup of green tea. Peter tells me he is jet lagged and needs to sleep until at least 11am. This is fantastic news because I was hoping to go on a hiking exploration of the property anyways. I find a small path that leads me across the creek that runs parallel to the sidewalk and up to the other side of the valley. It takes me all the way and over the hill, perfectly positioned for a clear view of the entire Mau Wo bay. I walk back to the villa to find Peter wandering, yawning and waking.
Peter is a fragile man. Sensitive, loving, tall but frail, he has worked throughout the life with the very minimalistic and honest intentions. He is an interfaith minister, Australian civil diplomat, psychotherapist novice, permaculture supporter, vegan, gardener, father, son, website and print media manager, mystic, and a bicurious male who is also at the end of a hetero heartbreak resulting in his post mature reevaluation of sexual preference. He reassures me that there won't be any tension between us. Without knowing this already because of the pure fact the age difference between us is how long I've been on this earth... he mentions that I could also humorously consider the fact that he may no longer be into women at this point anymore... anyways. (face writhe, little smirk... ;?) SO. Aside from his obvious quirks, he is open minded and nuturing, allowing for a potentially wonderful co-existence to blossom between us the next few weeks.
I imagine we will both learn a lot from each other.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Ammo

I spent the morning doing laundry and re-packing my stuff. Jenny Quinton, Peter's neighbor on Lantau Island planned to meet me at the Mau Wo ferry at 11:50am to take me up to his house.

I was happy to meet her and excited to see my new home for the next 4 weeks. Peter was on his way home from visiting his family in the UK and wouldn't be arriving until the evening, so I had the day to acquaint myself with the area. The ferry over to Lantau Island was much smaller than the Kowloon boat and wasn't shy about diving head first into wake, sending myself and the other passengers all over the seats... quite a fun ride might I add.
When I walked down, I noticed the immense amount of bicycles parked at the docking station. The roads were so narrow and the town was so small that there really was no use for vehicles on the island anyway. The walk up to the house took about 32 minutes from the time I met Jenny, to the moment we opened Peter's front door. Passed the flats and smaller houses, a road cleared and turned into sidewalk. Winding and whirling on a small concrete path, the greenery thickened with ripe vines, and the trail ascended into the hills. A small stream run off trickled down closely to the sidewalk as plemello trees, ginger lillies, and Mother-in-law plants grew up from the moist shrubberies. The climate that day was very similar to Florida's humidity, aside from the fact that the mountains weren't very visible due to the smog.

That little white spec would be the house I was living in.

As we strolled higher and higher up the hill, each house was probably at least a quarter of a mile away from each other, and we passed four neighbors until Peter's house, the last one at the tippy top. His villa in particular is probably the most beautiful. Typically, the Chinese country houses have three floors. The storage room and the bathroom are outside on the first floor, with the living room and bedrooms divided by screens in the main quarter. There is only one spicket for the wash basin outside as well. No sink area, dishwasher, stove, etc, but there was a couple of free range burners seated on a bench in the courtyard for cooking.

I had time to poke around and survey what I was getting myself into... still a couple hours until Peter would get back.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention about today... so I got a little lonely before Peter got home and walked down to Jenny's house seeking warmth and reassurance. I found out very quickly how a heated home could feel so cold. Jenny was zipping past me, yelling at her children, stopping only to just acknowledge my presence, then, moving on. Either way, I spent my first afternoon in Lantau waiting on her doorstep, with their puggle, Bella, a cup of tea, and a book instead. This was way more comforting than hanging out at Peter's where I wasn't even exactly sure what was accessible or off limits yet. At least I knew Jenny's doorstep was fair game. Nevertheless, I stole the book out of their rubbish bin outside and pocketed the novel after 15 pages read. I am happy to say that this book has become my so-called bible so far.

Domestics and Diplomacy

Jan 5, 2010

It wasn't that ChungKing was so bad to me this far, it was just that it had the potential to be tremendously worse if given the chance. And then, I started to notice the signs. Typical scenario: I'm moving through the halls towards my room, Indians tapping me on the shoulder, "Yes, miss (nodding) copy watch, copy handbag here for you, Miss. Yes." No eye contact. "Ok. Hash cookie, Miss? Ah Yes, for you."

Haha, maybe any other time? I may have considered it.

Nigerians, huddled together on the opposite ends of the hallway, scanning and searching seemingly plotting, and about to go for a tackle. (Chinese swear that Chungking is the only place in HK, you can find a terrible representation of Africans.) Standing there, I can't top squirming and fixing, getting rid of the eyes all around me. I can't wait for the elevator any longer and duck into the stairwell. Walking up 5 flights, I swear there is blood on the wall at the 3rd rail, but this is the only and last time I will acknowledge the possibility of whatever substance it is.

I stayed out the entire afternoon that day, just so I wouldn't have to go back.

Thank evening
At around 7pm, I finally got a hold of Aaron to plan my escape. I went back to the room, wrapped up everything in the backpack, and took the ferry over to Hong Kong island. Aaron's apartment was in Aberdeen on Tin Wan Pai Road, Hong Kong island. I didn't finally get there until about 10pm, and had absolutely no clue where I was because I was so dead-beat tired and completely passed out in the cab for the 30 miinute trip.
His apartment reminded of something that I may have found in Tokyo. Or, from what Tokyo seems like in the movies. It had an extremely contempo, modern, futuristic feel to it. Super clean, white, boxy, with coffee tables made out of glass,and lots of windows. The couch wasn't that comfortable. It was a firm rectangle box with fabric.
But it didn't matter to me, I could have slept on a rock at that point.

Skyscrapers for Target Practice

evening of Jan 3rd, 2010

Aaron and I paraded around the city, running up and down the pier in misty weather. Most of the day was overcast and the sky began to come down into the night, but the immense lights from Hong Kong island still gleamed through the fog. We had a couple beers at a ritzy hotel on the water and decided to go downstairs into the mall to get french fries. At this point, I admitted to only eating Mcdonalds for breakfast and sushi for dinner for the last two nights because I didn't know how to approach the Chinese restaurants, Aaron agreed that Mcdonalds' Hong Kong shrimp burger was the best in the world, and there is absolutely no need for shame... after our snack, he walked me back as I vowed this to be my last night at the hostel and let Aaron know I would be knocking on his door tomorrow.


First sight was pure intrigue. I was standing at the crickety elevator in a line, stepping right up only to be squeezed in like herded sheep. I made sure to have my ipod engaged, one bud in each ear to dispose myself of awkward elevator silence. I kept my head down, bobbing to the Dodos, listening to an impending soundtrack for the next four hours to come. I look up just to readjust my hat and catch the eyes in a stare from across the room. Hence, my first encounter with a Chinese boy. But, here we go again, a gut wrenching feeling down in the pit that there was no escaping the reality that I would at least know his name, if not more. We boarded opposite elevators and got off on different floors, only to end up trailing off to the reception desk 20 minutes later, at the same time to pay for another night stay. How ironic it was inevitable that we would be spending the time together.
And the story goes as follows... introductions were made, beers were opened, and a flurry of bars ensued. Well, actually just one bar, but we walked and talked a good ways just to get to it. I learned he wouldn't be staying in Hong Kong for too long, and began to see this wonderful night as an apparition or merely a good omen to traveling success. I couldn't imagine finding such an immediate connection with someone so early in my trip...

We held hands most of the night. Hueng was his name. Instead of entertaining the thought of future meetings, I kissed him to remember him.
He was on a plane back to Beijing in the morning.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Intention behind the Strike

Jan 4 2010

The combination of jet lag and the night before sent me into an immobile morning. I tried to make it out of the bed at least three times before noontime, got some water and rolled back over, not actually getting out until around 1pm. I suited up for a new day and decided I would attempt to re-wander the path Aaron and I had explored, but this time, with a camera. I got as far as Austin Street and lost my whereabouts, so I ducked into Kowloon Park once again hoping it would bring me clear to the other side of the block and back to Nathan Road.
I stumbled upon a Kung Fu competition taking place right in the center of the park. The participants were a mixture of Shaolin 5 Animal and Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioners. Wing Chun deals with self-awareness, rooted, and balanced movements. When I saw the older people performing this particular style, I loved how graceful and poised each movement was. I also loved how incredibly focused and in shape these elders presented themselves. The other type, Shaolin Kung Fu, exhibited many different aspects of body movement and positioning, as each performer used in this category used a different prop, motion, or technique to reveal their mastery. This competition ranged from various ages starting as young as 10 or as old as 40. The young boys were fast little boogers, and I was especially impressed with one boy that twirled a bamboo stick at least twice the height of him.
I even got to jump up and show a little bit of my skill, too bad I couldn't understand the announcer and went the opposite direction just about the whole time. It was fun, nonetheless.

Seizing the Fire

A past recollection of events happening to myself in Hong Kong even though the trip that is currently happening. I hope to regurgitate every event hence far, revisiting certain and thoughts and fears that accompany the fire within.

Sometime between Dec 31st and Jan 1st, 2010
No New Years Eve kiss but I bet $100 HK dollars I was drooling instead. At about 12am in somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, I was 4000 feet in the air, laying against an airplane window situating comfort, dreaming of the new year ahead. At about 12 hours into the flight, I lost circulation in my knee caps, but the excitement kept the blood flowing throughout the rest of my body. My only regret thus far was having no one beside to share the pleasant pain.

Jan 1st, 2010
The plane touched down at 3:32pm. Hong Kong airport was tremendous with long terminals, express conveyor rails, and electronic vending machines around every corner. I was happy to see English accompaniment on every Chinese sign, and found my way to the bus transit. Somehow I got on the right doubledecker CityBus, N21, which takes you from the airport to Tsim Tsai Shui, southeast side of Kowloon. The bus ride took about 45 minutes crossing over the Hong Kong bridge, passing by residential high rises that had to of been well over 40 stories high, bringing me from Lantau Island to Kowloon.

At 5:30pm, I checked into a guesthouse at ChungKing Mansions. I booked the night online in case I didn't find Aaron, my mom's client's good friend from Florida who apparently escaped a couple months ago and spontaneously moved to the island in October. He understood the unfamiliarity of a brand new place alone and assured me he would help me get acquainted. We discussed that I would contact him from the airport to meet up with him on Hong Kong island which turned out to be a lot harder than was imagined, so I just continued on without his assistance, in hopes I would still find my way.

At 7:22, I started to cry. I sat down on the bed that the hostel. The white sheets were stained and the mattress frame was fit for a midget. The floors were sticky and damp and the walls were cracked with mold. The hallways smelled of body odor and dirt, and it was obvious the men at the reception desk were completely unconcerned with the well being of themselves or others. After I finished almost regretting my decision to travel independently, I wiped my face, and went back to the 7th floor and demanded a cleaner room, a properly sized bed, and wifi. "I sorry madam, I sorry, here, no problem." And, they brought me to a cleaner (at best) room.

Jan 2nd, 2010
I woke up and went straight to a yoga studio. Pure Yoga was located on top of the Peninsula Hotel building and was a beautiful facility. After an incredible Hatha hot flow class, I was able to use their showers and blow driers, and started feeling a little more like a human again. At around lunchtime I contacted Aaron and met up with him for sushi. We walked down Canton Street and found a strip of bars and restaurants. Afterwards, we took a tour of the streets walking a loop around the seaport and Ocean Terminal. I quickly discovered that Hong Kong people are completely obsessed with shopping, considering the copious amounts of malls and stores that are built on top of each other up and down the streets. Apparently a rich city as well, many of the Chinese girls sported a plethora of designer clothes and accessories.