HONG KONG LOOKS BEST WITH YOUR FACE PRESSED AGAINS
Trip Start Dec 15, 2002
18Trip End ??? ??, 2003
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For a formally trained Canadian student, the learning environment at HKU is a wacky departure from reality. In my reality, students arrive at class promptly (alright, fairly promptly), sit quietly (alright, semi-quietly), and pay attention (alright, quasi-attention). A teacher controls her class with an iron fist and does not tolerate any shit whatsoever. Not so at HKU. In my three days of school, I have not been in one class with atmosphere even approaching silence
Another difference: because the students are timid about using their second language in the all-English classes, they rarely talk. Q and I, as the resident type-A English speakers, have turned into regular Dave Andersons, and the 'interactive' environment often becomes a two way conversation between us and the professor, with dozens of local observers
Enough about school, which has just been an interupption in my otherwise dipsomanical lifestyle. Example on that point: last night, after a failed attempt to go see the HK movie "Infernal Affairs" (a film proving the eternal good cop - bad cop struggle is apparently universally translatable , notwithstanding the Chinese addition of a terribly unwitty title) we headed out to the club district in an area of HK called Wan Chai
Verbose product of the day: Aussie Shampoo. "Saturate hair with water. Massage shampoo deeply into scalp and roots. Drench with water to rinse. Repeat." Saturate? Drench? I think I may have found my calling...'Product Directions Author'
Sunday, we took a break from the bottle and 15 or so students went to the south side of the Island to check out a beach at Repulse Bay. This supremely rich area is home to HK's kingpin, Lee Ka Shing (who bid a couple hundred thousand $HK for a license plate: 'HK 1"), and to a property that listed a couple years ago for $900,000,000 HK (even with a generous exchange rate, that's still almost $200 grand Canadian). Eek. Hundreds of beautiful, decadent palaces lined the cliffs over looking the sea, the complete antithesis to the crowded scene on the opposite side of the island
Unfortunately, the to-do list is still miles longer than the done list, but I'm slowly working towards remedying that. I've been here 10 days and I have yet to go to the top of the Peak; I'm hopefully going to go tonight, if I don't get otherwise 'sidetracked'. I officially planned my first travelling trip - to the Philippines the week after Chinese New Year - which gives me something to look forward to over the next couple days. The most fun I've had over the past couple days has been taking the bus through Central HK for one reason or another. I have already claimed the front row, upper deck seat on the bus as mine, and spend a good deal of the bus ride with my nose smooshed against the window, staring up at the unbelievable buildings and light shows. My favourite building is the HSBC Bank; it's not very tall compared to some of the other buildings, but it resembles the evil lair of a Supermanesque villain. It looks like they built the building without building the 'box' around it - you can see all the inside framework, 30 or 40 stories of stairs going up, even the counterweighting for the elevators on the top. Inside is an 11 story atrium, crisscrossed by escalators. At night, the top of the building lights up like a disembodied landing pad for an alien mothership. Right beside it is the famous Bank of China building which collapses upon itself section by section until one corner reaches up to be the highest (manmade) point in HK; that is, until they finish the final stages of the International Finance Center II, which will overtake that title. This city is so amazingly cool.
Ok, off now to hang out with some other exchange students. I'm going to try to convince them to go up to the Peak - talking about the buildings got me very excited.
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