Sunday, August 31, 2008

Macau

On Friday, I went to Macau. Apparently, it is a similar set up to that of Hong Kong, but instead of being a former British colony, it was Portuguese. A bit of the Portuguese influence remains – in the signage (written in English, Portuguese and I assume Cantonese) and in some of the architecture – but like Hong Kong, it seems to be almost entirely Chinese in nature. Getting there was a pleasure. I took an hour long ride on a jet-boat ferry, which was remarkably smooth and quiet.

I had a window seat, and was able to watch the hydrofoil ferries going back and forth at pretty incredible speeds.



I read in a guidebook that I should get a look at the ruins of Sao Paolo

and the old Portuguese fort that happened to be across the street. While there was not a whole lot to see at Sao Paolo (only the front fa├žade of the cathedral and a small bit of foundations remain) the fort was impressive.

There was no doubt that it is located in the most imposing spot on the island. The ground there was higher than any other on the island, although some high-rises, like the Grand Lisboa(seen here at the business end of a cannon), were considerably taller – and vastly less tasteful.

The fort was bristling with turrets and what seemed like the original cannons. There is a lot more to see, but that will have to wait, since I was only there to get my work visa validated. It was a beautiful day to see a new place, and I can’t wait to return.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

I don't want to start this off on the wrong foot. First, everything in Hong Kong seems to be bite sized - the cars, the fridges, even most of the prices. So, by the standards of the surrounding area, I guess the apartment is not too small. It also helped to get all my crap off the floor. The living area is enjoyable and fairly well lit, and the bathroom is not too shabby. The kitchen is a whole different story, though.



Here is the stove, oven, and microwave (scratch those last two). It's a two-burner gas range.




Here's the cute little fridge.


And here's the interesting and seriously confusing washing machine - no dryer.


The people in the home goods store must already be getting tired of seeing me, although I am a pretty good customer by now, having been in three times today and two yesterday. It seems I can't get through one part of my day without needing to go over there again. They seem to have everything I need - wardrobe, shelves, dinner ware, towel, soap, etc. This place made all the difference in my room.


Before:


After:


Oh, and of course, there was an enormous blowout in my luggage, whoch fortunately held up until I could drop my bag safely inside. i am none too happy, but at least I was able to pack wisely and keep the nicer things from getting ruined.



News on the trip to Macau (Macao) tomorrow. Now, it's bedtime.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Getting into Hong Kong

Well, I just got into the dorm and it is small - I would have written that in caps but it seemed couterproductive. pretend I said "small" really loud though... It consists of three bedrooms - each with a lockable door, and a common kitchen, living, dining, and bath. But it is free.

The flight was actually nice - aside from the dry throat and the chapped lips. We landed nearly 40 minutes ahead of schedule. The views out were either incredible or gray, and seemed to switch randomly from one to the other. I had a full three seats to myself - enough to "stretch out" and have a snooze - but enough to leave a crickin my neck upon waking. I probably got about five hours of sleep - which was not enough as my body is screaming at me to take a shower and go to bed. The bus ride to the office was also pleasant.

Than I had to get off the Air Con - equipped bus and hike along in the humid hotness to the office. Not a big deal, but my first implression was one of tired dazed sweatiness. impressive. I am looking forward to a shower and a nap - or a zonk - we'll see what my body has to say about things. Pictures of the flight and day 1 will follow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

here i go!

It's nice to be able to access the internet in an airport (Toronto Pearson). I don't know why the US airports don't have free wifi like those in Canada and Hong Kong - and I assume most other countries as well. I'm sitting here waiting to board my plane; it's right outside the window - and it's big(I found this particular image on the interweb - but it is the same plane)
Getting up before 4AM has its advantages - namely a serious lack of traffic and the opportunity to watch the most incredible sunrise from below, through, and above the clouds - oh and there is no one else up that early, so the flight was nice and roomy. Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishing - I appreciate it.

After the first leg of the trip, I am already a big fan of Air Canada, the flight was short, smooth, quiet and the staff were very polite. the plane seemed very fresh and technologically advanced. There were individual monitors in each seatback with menus and on-demand content, but the content couldn't be accessed - probably because the flight was so short. I hope the content is accessible on the longer leg.

There will be more news from Hong Kong when I get settled into my "place".

Day 1 - last day before the big trip

I just gave windows live a shot but this seems a lot more accessible as a blog. It's easier for me to use.

Gotta get packing for HK now but I can assure everyone that I am 90% excited, 5% nervous, and 5% tired. Not bad odds I guess.

If there is anything that you'd like to see or hear or read about, let me know.