The China Serial

shantou.jpg The following is Brian’s rambling account of a trip that he went on with friends a few years ago. It’s serialized for your attention span…

On Monday, July 9, 200_, 11 Canadians and 9 Americans set out on the adventure of a life time. This is my version of what happened.

The plane ride was LONG. We had quite a send off from our office as we travelled by shuttle van to the Halifax airport. We flew from Halifax to Toronto, changed planes to Cathay Pacific, an oriental airline, from Toronto to Anchorage, Alaska and then on to Hong Kong. Midway over the ocean I was feeling pretty trapped. We played musical seats, stretched and watched dumb movies. My attempt to leave caffeine behind left we with a headache. My first attempt at chopsticks. Very bad. Smooth entry into Hong Kong. Landed there in their early morning so the airport was mostly empty (at least the part we landed in).

Passport control, customs, went pretty easy but soldiers in uniform walking around with small machine guns certainly got our attention.

We met up with Dr. Phil (not ‘the’), our leader for the trip, and the rest of the team. The U.S. group made it in before us. We then boarded a bus and went in to Hong Kong – Kowloon, actually. The new airport was pretty and it was huge. No more landing between skyscrapers. They built an island and then built the airport on top of the island. Pretty cool. Driving in
was great. We came into Kowloon on Nathan Lane. It was early morning and it was already wall to wall people and traffic. Signs, shops, people. Oh, my!

We arrived at the Lodge we were staying at. Air conditioning! Thank You God! We walked around downtown and found a ton of little shops selling everything and anything but mostly the same things. We found McDonalds. Pretty much a universal experience. I exchanged $10 US for $75 Hong Kong dollars. Sweet. Later I bought a pair of shorts to wear for next to nothing in US $. We slept for about 3 hours in the afternoon and only woke up because they called us down to supper. VERY interesting supper. I was more sleepy than hungry so didn’t eat much. Little did I know that what was in front of us there was quite the healthy feast compared to what was coming.

We went down to Hong Kong harbour at night. Very pretty monument to man. The skyline across the harbour was impressive and beautiful. One tall building kept changing colours from bottom to top as we watched. The exterior neon lights would change and appear to flow up the building. Took some great pictures that totally did not turn out. We walked back, long
walk, and stopped in a 5 star hotel to use their bathroom. We didn’t get kicked out but they weren’t real glad to see us either. Everyone was out that night and the sights and smells were intense. On the way back we walked through a couple outdoor markets. It was like going through an X-rated Dollarama. Food, still alive for the moment, was laid out on some tables with great vats of cooking oil steaming all around. Lots of seafood including squid and shrimp and crabs looking for a way off the table. When a police officer rounded a corner into the market we saw a great empty space suddenly appear in the market where porn sellers had been. Somehow in the blink of an eye several venders managed to just ‘disappear’ as if by
magic. I’m pretty sure they rematerialized after the policeman left. The market was amazing though with all the stuff, all the people and all the bartering. One of our team, Rich, was the barter King. He could get someone to go from $60 to $10. I tried and they just laughed at me. I
could get them to go from $60 to $55. Sigh.

We got to sleep at midnight. Up early the next morning to another meal Of new foods. We loaded the bus and we were off to the border of Hong Kong/China. My breakfast wouldn’t make the entire journey though!!


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
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