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Four Days; Four Metropoleis

Suddenly we were in Hong Kong. The airport and the emigration process were easy, efficient, and metallic. All around us, money flowed with a furious intensity. In no time we had turned our Baht into HK$

10 Honk Kong Dollars

and were purchasing Octopus cards. Octopus cards are a kind of universal proximity card. Our primary use for them was to ride the MTR, the spotlessly clean, efficient, and devastatingly metallic subway/light rail system of this fine city.


Using the Octopus card, one can not only ride all over Hong Kong on trains, but they are also able to buy snacks from vending machine, pay for your purchases at the pharmacy or 7-11 (Hong Kong is full of 7-11s), take a boat ride across the Harbor, and all simply by smacking your wallet down on a yellow landing pad. One can even visit any of the strategically located octopus inquiry pedestals, and slap down your wallet to see you transaction history and current balance. The most unbelievable thing about the octopus card is that when you are done with it, you get not only your 50 HK$ deposit back, but also the money you had placed on the card! Unbelievable.

Mong Kok

Much of our time in Hong Kong it was raining hard. The rest of the time is was threatening to rain or misting fiercely. This is not to say the the city was not a beautiful sight to behold. This is to say that we spent a lot of time dashing through the rain in and out of shops, restaurants, and tea houses. Hong Kong was a time for getting things together, refueling our minds and bodies, and purchasing much needed provisions for the upcoming journey into the heart of China.

Natalie Teaching Woody.JPG

A List of Important Tasks Accomplished in Hong Kong:

Umbrellas — purchased

Woody’s Health — verified by physician (no charge; the man liked asiaheeling.com)

Pants Which Were Terribly Filthy After 11 Days in India — cleaned

Terrible Plaid Shorts — jettisoned

Colds — Discovered in both Scott and myself

Strange Chinese Medicines — averted

Inordinate Amount of Cash — spent

Very Tight Pants — purchased

Tap-water — consumed with relish

Replenishment of Spirit — achieved

Internet — found readily available

Savage New Calculator Watch — purchased from fantastic Pankisani fellow

Ability to easily communicate with the US — present

A good Direction

Our time standing on the doorstep of China was a much needed interim in the savage adventure which is (oh dear and valued reader don’t worry) is about to continue with renewed savagery. I found Hong Kong to be a very livable city. So much did this place appeal to me, that at times I found myself considering working and living there for a piece of my life. But as always, I stand by the mantra, of it is not so much where you are and what you are doing, as who you are doing this thing with. And Scott, having lived in Hong Kong for his study abroad experience, was a most knowledgeable and capable guide, with many charming friends.

Us at Little Sheep.JPG

For deeper insights into our time in Hong Kong, I fear I must refer you to the gallery, where you will no doubt enjoy our rather large chunk of Hong Kong photo-documentation.


  1. Josh Hirner | June 26th, 2008 | 8:11 pm

    With regards to the mysterious chemical pictured in the soup ad: it’s 5-hydroxypiperidine-2-carboxylic acid. A quick search reveals that it can be found in a particular legume, Leucaena glauca, which is apparently native from northern South America upwards to the southern US. Other than the fact that cyclic amino acids like this one are sort of interesting from the perspective of using them to make pharmaceuticals, I have no idea why it would be in your soup. Happy trails to you.

  2. Dad/Mark | June 27th, 2008 | 11:52 am

    Thanks to Clark and the students in his lab, we have confirmed the chemical is oxyproline, a variant of the amino acid proline. Clark’s student from China said it is very common to have soups in China fortified with various health-promoting extracts.

  3. Diane Heditsian | June 28th, 2008 | 12:24 am

    Have the Chinese reverse engineered the iphone? Can you get me one cheap?

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