Sat 25/08/12 00:46
I may add more if I have time though

As you might have guessed, I’m back in Dubai and have been for about five days. It happens every time I get back from a long vacation that I tend to ignore the blog. I don’t know why exactly, but it just seems to make sense to me that it happens. It probably has something to do with burnout, or maybe just getting back to my regular life doesn’t leave much time for other things, or maybe I just don’t want the vacation to end.

I think that this may be my final entry for the summer, though I must admit there is more that I could write. It’s just that it’s so close to the semester starting and I need to prepare for my classes that I doubt that I’ll find the time to actually think about what has transpired for just over 60 days. It sure went fast.

Sun 19/08/12 08:16
and the last day of my trip 🙁

It’s nearly 8pm on Sunday and in less about two hours I’m going to be heading to the airport for my 130 flight back to Dubai. It’s been a long time coming and although I don’t really want the summer to end, I knew and expected this day would come, so no whining and man-up.

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

I headed for the top of a mountain that overlooks the city this morning. It’s kind of a big deal touristy thing that I had to do. I did Google the route and pretty much knew where I should go, but I ended up getting lost, not bad lost, but lost enough that I decided to take a taxi the rest of the way. The problem was the stairs that I had to take, I mean Google maps doesn’t show hills in map mode, so I had no idea that I was going to climb about 1000 steps. The funny thing is that there were outdoor escalators for going down but not up. I’m dumbfounded.  By the time I was at the top of the stairs I was literally drenched in sweat, but the good thing was that all the people around me were too so I fit in.

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

The taxi dropped me at the cable car that carries passengers up to the top of the hill. Like I mentioned, this trip is a must-do trip for tourists, and the cable car is a must-do as well. I got to the observation deck and started to take massive amounts of photographs. The problem is, is that I didn’t take many with me in them, and after a while there are only so many photos you can take of a city. It was so pretty though I didn’t want to leave. I noticed that there were people walking along a sidewalk below, many were drenched in sweat, and others where wearing workout clothes. So I decided that I would go that direction on the way back.

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

The path wound around the mountain next to the observation platform. Every sort of person you can imagine was using the path, there were walkers, hikers, runners, dog walkers, and every other kind of person so I fit right in. I don’t know the distance, but I’d guess that the trail was about 5k, but it was asphalt and level so the distance went very fast. I wasn’t through when the trail ended either, in fact I was just getting started. I headed down another path, then another, and eventually I was getting close to my hostel, maybe 15 km from the peak… though that’s just a guess. I’m still sore tonight, so it may have been even further than that.

Sun 19/08/12 06:48
Did the usual today

Like I seem to have from time to time today was a kind of “throw away” day. I don’t know what else to call a day that I don’t really do anything significant, or have expectations to do anything. I guess I did have the idea to go up on the top of a mountain to see the city, but I didn’t do that. I though about visiting the biggest Buddha around, but I don’t know, it really doesn’t inspire me. So yeah, there are things that I could have done, but nothing really special.

It took all of my effort to actually get out of the dorm room for dinner. There has been a huge change in people in the dorm today and I felt odd being there this afternoon and as a result I just kept to myself and watched a movie. Tomorrow is my last day here and maybe not doing anything today will be a good thing. Possibly I’ll be more motivated to get up early and head out to do the final two things that I mentioned earlier. If I don’t I won’t be upset though. In the end I did manage to go out and take more night photos. I’ve taken so many the last few days I don’t know if I should even post any of them… why not?

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

My plane leaves Hong Kong at 130 in the morning, Monday morning, so tomorrow, Sunday I’ll have a full day then leave the hostel at about 10 pm.  Should be a perfect time too I’ll get to sleep on the way back and get to Dubai at about 7 in the morning. I’m not really looking forward to returning to Dubai though since it means it’s back to my normal life. Fortunately I’ve got my Winter vacation planned and unless something very strange happens I’ll be in Australia for Christmas and New Years… which should be pretty depressing.  The other days though hopefully will make up for the actual days that are holidays. I’m hoping that I’ll get to do some snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Fri 17/08/12 23:46
More like a half day

Yesterday I headed over to Macau, China just to see what it was like. I honestly didn’t know very much about it except that gambling is huge and that it is somewhat independent from China. Unfortunately it appears that’s about all there is to the place. I had hoped for something more, something incredible when I stepped off the ferry, but what I got was an Atlantic City kind of feeling. You know what a gambling city looks like in the daylight? It’s kind of depressing. There is a level three typhoon warning in effect as well so it’s cloudy and windy.

Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com   Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com

The ferry left Hong Kong at 11:55, much later than I wanted to leave, but I got a late start to the morning. I didn’t think it would matter because I wasn’t planning on doing any gambling and as far as I knew there wasn’t much more to the place than to gamble so I figured I’d be there maybe 6 hours at most. Total time to get to Macau, including passport control and ferry ride was less than two hours.

Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com   Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com

When I got off through customs I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending a lot of time there. It was a first impression as if I had been seeing Atlantic City for the first time, concrete, lots of concrete and dirty. There was more to it than that, but that was my first impression and to be honest, still when writing this the next day I still feel that way.

Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com   Macau, China on a day trip. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com

The city is laid out much like Las Vegas in that there are huge blocks between casinos and streets, so it’s not really a walking-friendly place. I walked around taking photos for several hours, and finally went into a casino, the MGM, to try a little gambling. I figured that there was always a chance that I could get my vacation paid for… yeah, that could happen.  I lost as expected, but it was fun and I decided that it was time for me to get lunch and then head back. I like to gamble, but I’m a terrible gambler. For me it’s the thrill of the chance to hit it big that I love, so I nearly always take too many risks. At least I’ve figured this out and have learned to not gamble very often. The last time I think I was in a casino was probably 16 years ago, though I’ve played poker with friends.

Hong Kong streets. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong,  Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong at night. Ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation. Kennethcurtis.com

I got back to Hong Kong probably about 730 and felt like walking. By then it was night and the way this city lights up is very pretty, as I hope that some of the photos that I’ve posted show. It seems that there are a huge amount of neon everywhere, and it makes for a decent walk. I didn’t expect it to take me two hours to get back to the hotel though, and I was pretty sweaty and tired when I did. One thing that I haven’t mentioned in any post that I’ve meant to is that I’ve rediscovered Slurpees from 7-11. The first one that I had in who knows how long was in Thailand and since I think I’ve had at least one a day. Sometimes, like last night on my walk back from the ferry terminal, I ended up having three. I know that is excessive, but they are so cold they’re perfect when I’m overheating from a long walk.

Thu 16/08/12 09:08
Other than that, just a wandering day.

I moved from the guesthouse that I was in to a hostel across the harbor this afternoon. It didn’t take that much time but it did happen in such a way as to make it difficult to do anything big today. That’s okay though because the only big thing that I need to do is go to Macau and I think I’ll do that tomorrow, that freed me to wander the business part of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

My idea was I was going to wander myself back to the other place I was staying. The reasoning was that I couldn’t get lost because I was familiar with the one part. So for about four hours I just walked along getting a feel for Hong Kong in general. I know I’ve made comments about the amount of people, and I stand by them, there are too many people here. What I haven’t said though is I’m starting to understand their culture, the way they interact with each other, and how they deal with the lack of space. To give you an example of what I mean about “space,” I don’t think that I’ve been anywhere to eat since I’ve been here that I’ve had a full table to myself. The thing is, is it’s like being in an elevator, you don’t talk to them, they don’t talk to you, it almost seems normal to me. There are other examples but I think that one give an idea of how they have adapted to the huge number of people here.

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, Ken Curtis' summer 2012 vacation. kennethcurtis.com

One other thing that I told my self that I wanted to remember was that I think this is the first time I’ve ever been somewhere where I wasn’t the fastest walker around. Seriously, if there is one thing that everybody I know makes fun of me for is how fast I walk. This evening though I noticed a little girl (as in short girl) staying up with me, and at the same time a guy passed me. Now you have to understand that just doesn’t happen to me, but since I’ve been here it happens quite a bit. I have occasionally been passed when I’m tired or carrying a heavy backpack, but in all the situations that I’m thinking since I’ve been here I have been walking my normal speed. That may also explain why I see very few obese Chinese here.

Wed 15/08/12 22:35
but at least it’s a day in Hong Kong

I don’t remember the last entry I made but I think it was yesterday morning. I guess, if I wasn’t so lazy I could go look, no it doesn’t really matter. Anyway it’s been at least a day since my last entry and I don’t really have much to talk about. I decided yesterday to head to the far side of the harbor to maybe take a tour, but that fell kind of flat. I ended up back in my hotel at about 9 and watched movies until about 2 in the morning…

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com

The idea was to get the day photos of the buildings that I saw during the evening the night before. Good plan. Afterwards I would cross over and take photos on the other side, maybe go up the tram to get some photos from point overlooking the city. I also decided that it was too hot and humid for me to walk like I usually do so I had planned on taking one of the double-decker bus tours around the city. Unfortunately the one that I wanted was extremely expensive to me, and I took a tour with one of their competitors. The price on the side of the bus said, $50 so I had my money ready as I boarded, the driver told me that he didn’t have change and waved me to move on. I went to the top deck wondering what just happened, but kind of feeling like I just scored “the golden ring.” The total tour took about 20 minutes as it went 10 minutes into the city and 10 minutes back to the boat terminal. What a waste of money… umm, wait.

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com

Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com   Hong Kong, ken curtis' summer 2012 vacation, kennethcurtis.com

There was a though that I’d just pay the money and go with the other bus tour but at the last minute I decided to go back to the hotel. It was about a two-hour walk back and with the heat I was starting to get tired and a little bit irritable.  Have I mentioned that there are a lot of people in Hong Kong? I mean seriously, there are more people here than I think I’ve seen in any other place, even more than in Beijing. There are so many people walking around that I figure for every ten steps I take going forward, I take ten steps trying to avoid or get around someone else.