Subject: Daze Between
Date: Friday, February 04, 2000 6:26 AM
Day 2: Hong Kong, China: February 4, 2000
So far, so good, at least I haven't yet spent all of my world travel money... yet. It appears that some of it may have miraculously survived yesterday's debacle at the airport bar. Actually, that wasn't yesterday. Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up to the start of trip, the day before today, which one would logically assume to be the 3rd, as today is the 4th. Such is not the case.
Day 1: San Francisco, California: February 2, 2000 (Ground Hog day)
I leaned over to pick up my meticulously packed backpack I was to burden across Asia and the Pacific for the next 3 months and I nearly got a hernia as I strained to lift the behemoth beast. "How could it be?" I incredulously thought to myself. With utmost regard to space and weight considerations, I had limited myself to only the barest of essentials for this trying journey. I considered hollowing-out my toothbrush and ditching the underwear. "Hmmm," there had to be another option. After much agonizing, I reluctantly made the painful decision but consoled myself that I could buy another 6-pack of beer when I landed in Hong Kong. At Krissie's house, she and I performed pre-airport bar drinking calisthenics. In this magnanimous state, she selflessly offered me a prized possession and absolute travel necessity. Space and weight considerations be damned, I had another travelling partner, Krissie's cohort, Constitutional Ken. "Who the Hell is Consitutional Ken," you ask. CK, as he is affectionately known to many, is a double-amputee Ken doll who's original head has been upgraded to a colonial-era-styled wig head. For his forthcoming international diplomatic missions, Krissie fashioned a loincloth to protect his modesty as well as the sensibilities of foreigners. I felt honored to be chosen as the caretaker of one of the few double-amputee, colonial-era Ken dolls to travel the Pacific Rim. I vowed not to disappoint them.
Soon I would be leaving the security of a familiar culture and friends. Time spared no sympathy, so we accelerated the drinking at the airport bar. My friends Todd and Nikolai ordered the final, final, final rounds of drinks and placed a copy of "Robinson Crusoe" in my hand- I dared not venture why. Despite my inebriation, I was still decidedly apprehensive about the adventures that awaited me. My three boozing benefactors escorted (i.e., carried) me to the departing gate and lovingly pushed me down the gangplank to the waiting airplane. By following the sounds of the screaming baby, I managed to find my seat and we debated awhile before I defeatedly drifted off to sleep. I awoke to darkness as the plane touched ground- 2:00pm California time, according to my watch. The stewardess announced it was 6:00am February 4. "February 4?" Obviously, the plane had flown through an air pocket in the space time continuum and February 3rd had been entirely bypassed! Damn, those were some strong drinks!
Day 2 (reprise):
Sporting a "F:)CK yeah!" baseball cap and my finest baggy hemp trousers I caught the subway to Kowloon and busted out CK for a photo op. Judging from the astonished reactions of the locals, I surmised that CK's modesty-protecting loincloth must have come off. It hadn't- go figure. I prudently put him in my pants pocket, where I caught him stealing peeks over the hemline, and decided that we had better move on to downtown Hong Kong.
In the more cosmopolitan area of downtown Hong Kong exotic foods abounded... a pile of red fishy things to my left and a mound black fishy things to my right. Confronted by these enticing entrees, I decided to be daring and headed into McDonalds.
While cruising the merchant's district, I noticed that the people always obligingly waited for crosswalk signals to be green, regardless if there were any cars- a truly nightmarish Orwellian vision. Big Brother must have been watching them. Why else would they just have been standing there? In an impetuous act of American brashness, I defied the crossing signal and set foot in the road. My brazenness affronted the horrified onlookers and I immediately realized the gravity of my mistake. I had torn the social fabric that tied their society together. I thought to myself, "You fool, what have you done?!" I nervously looked around for the plain-clothes police officers whom were no doubt coming to take me away. Visions of corporal punishment decreed by a stone-faced magistrate raced through my mind. I scurried to the other side of the street with CK guarding the flank.
We have somehow made it to this cyber cafe, but they are on to us; I can feel it. It's CK and me against the regime. Under cover of darkness, we're now off to our hotel room, which strangely resembles an economy-sized college dormitory room. If we should be so lucky, we'll lose our determined pursuers in tomorrow's New Year parade.
Kung Hei Fat Choy,
Hong Kong Phooey 2000-02-05