Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And now for something completely different

A lot has happened since I first arrived in Hong Kong 5 months ago. Met some great folks, worked in China mainland, climbed a little in HK, had my pack with new camera and passport stolen, fell in love, and lazed on sunny Thai beaches. All in all not a bad 5 months. I guess the biggest adjustment has been being able to hear different english accents. Now I can't exactly place northern or southern yet, but it took me a good 2 months to fully understand what the heck the english ex-pats I've met here are saying, but a few beers and a couple of late night karaoke sessions later, I think I can understand them, even Irish John.

The most difficult aspect of retaining any Cantonese is that it is only spoken in Hong Kong. Go to mainland China and Mandarin is spoken. A week of saying nee how (hello) in mandarin and I forget how to say Jo sam (good morning) in cantonese. Then when I went to Thailand for 2 weeks all went out the door. But like anywhere in the world a smile is always recognizable.

Just a month ago evenings were spent at the bbq pits on the beach cohorting and drinking a few cold ones with some new found friends. Now the pits are empty and I have resorted to a new addiction. Watching Deadwood. Dad would have loved this show. It really doesn't get too chilly around these parts, however the flats are built for warm temps. There is no heating and all floors are tiled so it gets a bit chilled on the feet and the hot water only lasts about 4 minutes. That being said this is my first winter in Hong Kong and have yet to experience a summer. Which I am not looking forward to 100 degrees and 80% humidity. I experienced it in brief in September, which was the first time I had armpit sweat drip down my leg. Hopefully I'll be stateside for the hottest bit of '09.

It's been nice to get back into cooking fine meals most nights.

For the longest time I had wondered what in the world a blog was. Well here I am now creating one yet still the word blog boggles me. I am hoping this will give me the opportunity to share some of my exploits, misadventures, minor epics and aimless wanderings with those closest to me. As I sit here with eyes crossing staring at the screen I am listening to the South China Sea's ebbing high tide lap against the rocks and creamy dreamy sands outside my flat in the small town of Mui Wo. Personally I like to call it (as a friend of mine coined) Mui WOW! If you ever make it out this way I think you'll understand why.

I arrived here in Hong Kong September 5, 2008. Eagerly looking forward to a short working stint. With only a one-way ticket I was accepting the unexpected, as I often times do. The months preceeding Honkers found me in the middle of Colorado gallavanting through the Rockies with orphans from Chicago and Baton Rouge. On one of these adventures the rains seemed to never cease. We had been tent bound for 2 days, when on the 3rd day I had had enough of the tent sores, similar to bed sores but we had no lavish beds, and set out to find the perfect zip line set up. I discovered a boulder gully 150 feet wide and went to work with the webbing and ropes. After an hour I had created a backcountry zip line. Testing it first with my pack, then being the live guinea pig stepped off the edge. The tension was just right to maintain forward momentum at speeds bordering nutzo, yet the slack, perfect for a soft slow down to the top of a boulder the size of a hobbit hut. So in the drizzling rain I ran to fetch the 9 boys from Chicago. We spent the rest of the day taking turns yipping and screaming, flying and zipping across the boulder field 20 feet below. I doubt OSHA would have been satisfied, but what do they know about backcountry hooligans partaking in some shenanigans.

Returning from that trip I had a phone call that changed my course. A small experiential educational organization based in Hong Kong rang me up. We spoke and after 45 minutes was offered a job in the most densely populated area in the world. Just a small change from living on Cross Creek outside Minturn, CO. With South East Asia now at my fingertips, I bought that one-way flight crossed the Pacific and didn't look back. I told friends I'd be gone anywhere between 3 months and 3 years. And so began my wanderings in Asia, and getting paid to boot!