Friday, December 5

Hello from far away

Hi everyone!
This week flew by - and not just cuz I was on a plane for 15 hours of it. I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to tell, and I should actually be posting more often so I don't forget them all. Today was the day I went into China. China is dirty. That is my biggest impression. The buildings are strange - if it weren't for the laundry hanging on nearly every balcony, you wouldn't be able to tell what was housing and what is an industrial building. In both China and Hong Kong, it seems that one can gain no information about what is inside a building by looking at the outside. Lots and lots of buildings appear very run-down, including all of the places I've been (except maybe the hotel we're staying in, it's hard to say cuz you don't get a very good view of it from the street cuz you're always dropped off under an enormous overhang). Both of the offices I've had meetings in looked a little (or a lot) sketchy from the outside, and were ridiculously fabulous inside. The one in China today was ostantatious, even. The whole thing looked like a designer was let loose in a very high-end Pier 1. Everything was "Chinese"y, in a very trying-too-hard kind of way. Like a Chinese restaurant in America. The office I was in today had dorms for their workers (and a gym and game room and restaurant) and "VIP suites" for, well, people like me, I guess. We got the grand tour, and were repeatedly told that we should come back to stay in these suites. After the long bumper-to-bumpers (people here are not very concerned with lanes of traffic) ride back to HK this evening, I was inclined to agree that we should have stayed. Seems that lots and lots of people work and stay in China during the week, but live in HK, so the ride back was an hour and a half longer than the ride in. Also, different people have very different ideas of hygiene and personal space, which was evident when we were waiting in line for customs to get back to HK. "um... yeah, lady... that's my butt you're you mind? you're stinky" Which begs the question: isn't HK technically China now? So why do I have to go through customs and the boarder patrol to get back and forth? Hmmm...
At least I didn't get detained for having SARS. They scan your body temp here when get off the plane or cross the boarder, so if you have a fever caused by something else, you're kinda screwed as far as I can tell.
Tomorrow I leave for stop: home.
Hope everyone is doing well!
Lots of love from the other side of the world!


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