Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Hong Kong

This morning I decided that I would go to a local attraction called "The Peak." I had no idea that HK is as hilly (or possibly mountainous) as it is. Before leaving Singapore, a friend had told me about this train that takes people to the top of one of these hills. Its very popular and offers spectacular views of the city. I have to say that the view was pretty spectacular, and my friend was right about another aspect of the experience as well. He told me that the tram ride up and down is VERY steep. I tried to take a picture from the tram to do the grade of the hill justice, but I just couldn't. So here are some pictures from the experience:

Keep in mind that these are GIGANTIC skyscrapers, and I am above all of them.

And the tram I rode in on...

And this is the building that tram drops visitors off at when they reach the top of the peak. This is also the building from the top of which I took the previous pictures...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Out of Sequence Photo

While I would prefer to keep my blog in time order (if not necessarily completely up to date), I took a picture yesterday in Singapore, that I will now post in the midst of my trip to Hong Kong. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I wake up early to take Benson out and feed all the pets. This process usually begins at 4:30 with P.J. beginning to beg for breakfast, followed by between a half hour and an hour or me trying to ignore her while she enlists the other animals to beg and make noise as well. Between 5 and 6, I get up, take the boy out, and slop the hogs. At this point I have two options... I can get back in bed, and sleep until who knows when (and feel not so good about myself) or I can start my day. So start my day I usually do. This involves taking the train to the Esplanade station, walking through the underground link to the City Hall Station, and having a cup of coffee at the 24 hour Starbucks there before walking to Raffles Place where I will have more coffee with friends at 7:30.
This past weekend was the F1 race in Singapore. The race is run at night on city streets. This is a huge undertaking, closing the streets, setting up seats and fences, and then taking it all down again. So yesterday morning I am making the walk from City Hall to Raffles place, and realize that the trip might be more complicated than usual, since all of the fences are still up. With some difficulty, I made it through the maze, and along the way, captured this scene, which struck me as kind of amazing for some reason.

Hong Kong

Erin and I left for Hong Kong this morning... at 6:50 a.m., meaning that we had to get up at 4 a.m. to get ready and get to the airport. On the upside, my jet lag from my return trip to the States was working in my favor. I went to sleep at 8 p.m. last night, and felt relatively refreshed when the alarm went off. The flight was uneventful, and we took an amazingly clean, modern train from the airport to city, and then a cab to the hotel. We have been here just a couple of hours, but I did discover a fun fact: Starbucks in Singapore have Equal but not Splenda, while Starbucks in Hong Kong have Splenda but not Equal. Amazing, right. Also, here they have actual cream for the coffee, unlike some small island nations, that shall remain nameless, that only have whole milk.
Not so fun fact: HK may be even more expensive than Singapore. We had noodles and dumplings at a local place today, and it was $86 HK. Not as expensive as it sounds if you don't know the exchange rate, but still pricey by my new standards of local cuisine.
Below is a picture from our hotel room window here. We are right on the harbor.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back in Singapore

I arrived back in Singapore late Saturday night. Erin was waiting for me at the airport, which was lovely. Upon arriving home and greeting the pets, I collapsed into bed. I woke up early Sunday morning, and met some friends for coffee. I spent the rest of the day with Erin just relaxing at home, listening to music and catching up on Project Runway. We had a delicious dinner last night at Skip's (lasagna... my favorite thing he makes), and by 10 pm I was back home and unconscious.
I was up early again this morning, heading into the business district for coffee with friends, and it occurred to me that I had missed Singapore while I was in the States. Of course I missed Erin and the kids. That I knew. But I also missed my new friends, and parts of my life here. And then I went to Starbucks, got a coffee, dropped my stirrer in the cup, realized it was too short for the cup, had to stick my fingers into the steaming hot liquid to retrieve it, and silently cursed this city.
The trip to the States was enlightening (and bittersweet). I knew it would be strange to go "home," because I don't have a home there. I am a guest everywhere I go. And I have been having a hard time adjusting to life here, with no job yet, and lots of time on my hands. But something unexpected happened. I realized that I had forgotten what I came here for, the goals I had. I said if I didn't have a job, I would spend my days working out, reading and learning. I Have done very little of any of those things.
So once again, when I am faced with a difficult situation in my life, I remember my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies... and I remember that Raymond K. Hessel should start becoming a veterinarian now, and I should stop waiting for things beyond my control to happen to start living my life.