Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Hong Kong Trip

We took a three day holiday to Hong Kong this week.  With the help of a student, I used a Chinese website to book a very discounted, under booked flight from Zhanjiang for just a few dollars more than the cost of the bus.  So instead of a 9 hour bus ride we had a one hour flight that landed us there in time for lunch.
We headed to a favorite Indian restaurant and had a yummy beef dish plus some vegetable curry, rice and naan.  We requested spicy, and it was rather nuclear.  I forget the name of it, but it comes in a color similar to molten lava that is just beginning to cool.  We liked it!  It made our noses pink and our eyes moist.  We ordered extra beer, not because we needed it, but because we wanted some.
One of the things we like about Hong Kong is the chance to eat stuff we can't get in Zhanjiang.  We had Whoppers at Burger King, Subway sandwiches, a Starbucks breakfast, and Sausage McMuffins with egg.  If you think that going to the Asian food capital and eating American crap is gauche, too bad!  We get plenty of great Asian food where we live.  We did have one good Hong Kong seafood dinner, though.
The second day, after making sure that our spicy lunch from the previous day was thoroughly driven from our systems we headed to Lantau Island.  There are some cool things to do and see there, and we opted for the cable car ride up to the Po Lin monastery and giant bronze Tian Tan Buddha.
We took the subway and train to the cable car base and queued up for about 45 minutes to get on.  I can't imagine what it must be like on weekends.  The ride is a lot of fun, 5.7 km of breathtaking views. Or at least they are breathtaking if the day is crystal clear.  It was partly cloudy and a bit hazy, so we managed to hang on to our breath, but it was still cool.
Seeing a big line of people behind me always gives me great satisfaction.

High priced souvenirs.

We got off at the top where there is a "village" which is really a bunch of restaurants and souvenir shops.  This is where we had our Subway sandwiches.  Very Zen.  Souvenir shops at religious site are nothing new in the world.  Most of the items they were hawking were either tasteful religious items at a premium price or lower end religious items at a price that was more than one should pay for such geegaws.  There were also t-shirts and Bubba hats with images of the cable car and the "village" on them.  I didn't look too closely, but I did not see any I ♥ Buddha shirts.
We saw the Buddha.  At one time it was the largest bronze sitting Buddha in the world, but the Chinese decided to build a bigger one, in fact they are a Buddha building binge.
For an extra 30 Hong Kong dollars we were able to go into the base of the statue where there is a lovely gallery of calligraphy and paintings.  This fee is an "offering", but in return you get an ice cream bar and a bottle of water.
We left before the crowd did, and rode the cable car back down. We headed into town to do some shopping.  We usually stay in Mongkok, which is the electronics selling center of town.  It's always busy at night with people crowding the streets and shops shopping for all things electronic from cameras to smart phones. The new iPhone is out, and there were some enterprising folks on the sidewalks hawking what appeared to be the new thing.  Maybe. I don't know and really don't care.  I have no desire to part with that much money for one of those toys, but I can tell you that dangerous number of the citizens here walk around plugged into some device, eyes glued to the screen while walking into each other.
Hawking iPhones.

I did have a woman pulling a small suitcase on wheels cut in front of me while yakking on her phone.  She ran over my foot, and even though it caused the case to bounce and lurch, she was blissfully unaware that she had even done anything.  It didn't hurt.  Since she was headed for a bus stop, one can assume that she doesn't drive, which is probably for the best.
One task that is always on our list of things to do in Hong Kong is to buy baby formula.  Our friends back in China with babies insist on it.  Chinese people do not trust baby formula that they purchase on the mainland, including western name brands.  This is due to the fact that in 2008 rat bastards adulterated milk by adding melamine to it in order to give false protein readings and make a few extra bucks.  Hundreds of thousands of children were sickened and several died.  There are still instances of this happening.
Purchasing milk powder and formula in Hong Kong by mainland folks was becoming an epidemic of sorts.  Hong Kong residents were finding that milk prices were skyrocketing and formula was often unavailable.  The Chinese government placed serious restrictions on how much milk can be brought in, with 2 big cans being the limit.  Penalties are severe, and all luggage is electronically screened.  We each bring back 2 cans every time we go there, although we could bring back a dozen each and still would have people wanting.
We took the bus back to Zhanjiang since cheap flights were unavailable, and on our way out I saw this sign outside a police station warning nice old ladies about underhanded sharky women who try to sell you get rich schemes.  In Hong Kong milk is safe and the police are here to keep nice old ladies protected from land sharks.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Click the pix for larger picture.
Aging with dignity.

My lower back has been doing nothing but causing me pain and grief since returning to China.  Too many hours of sitting in trains, planes and buses took its toll.  I also moved to a new apartment, I'm spending more time sitting at my desk. And dammit, I'm just getting older!
I went to my old standby pain specialist who delights in tortuous pinches and pokes which provide instant relief once his painful ministrations subside.  Not much help there.  I decided to visit the acupuncturist.
He guided me to a room where I submitted myself to having my pants pulled down to expose half my ass, and then having needles inserted into the tight muscles in my lower back and buns.  
He then attached these to an electrical pulsing current that caused involuntary twitching akin to the dead frog kicking leg experiments in high school biology class.
All the while a four year old girl watched round eyed from the doorway.  She was more than a little frightened, but my hairy white bum had her captivated like a baby deer in the headlights.
I've had this treatment before, and like before it was quite effective at both relaxing my back and relieving the pain.  The cost was 35 RMB or about $5.75.  At that price I think I'll make this a regular thing. 

It's horrifying, but I can't stop watching!