07 January 2007

Happy New Year!

The net is still as slow as democracy in Hong Kong, but we'll give it a go.

The past 10 days or so I was off on holidays, and had the chance to enjoy the clear weather and a little more of Hong Kong. It has been a few months since I had more than the weekends off, and I needed a break. It's not that my work is terribly hard, it's just not very stimulating sometimes.

Let's see... With all my Christmas shopping finished early, there was no mad rush this year to get it all done. Hong Kong malls are always silly busy, but even more this time of year. I don't know yet, but I imagine it will only get worse for the upcoming Chinese New Year's. Yikes.

Everyone back home received their presents (unbroken) and I'm confident they enjoyed the uniqueness of them. Almost everything I found this year had some sort of local flavour to it. Even as a high-tech city, HK still has a lot of cool little items other than the usual big ticket gadgets you can find anywhere. Side streets are the best place to find unique or knocked off items, and it's fun to bargin, even when not buying anything, haha.

Christmas Day was very quiet, but nice at the same time. Mai and I stayed home most of the day. We had a very interesting web-video chat with my family in Winnipeg. It took awhile to figure out all the settings, but it worked well with Sykpe. It's a good service, and free, so I think everyone should sign up for it and learn how to use it. We opened our presents online, so it was almost like being home. A little odd, but funny/cheesy at the same time. My Dad also sent some photos of the snow, and I prefer pictures to actually being there. I don't miss the cold just yet. It's actually a little chilly here, so my upcoming trip to Guam should be nice. (More on that later)

Boxing Day was pretty much back to normal here. I think most locals had the day off, but you couldn't tell. Everything was just as busy as usual. Again we didn't do much, but in the evening we went to Tsim Sai Tsui to watch the crazy light show. I think I'm getting used to the neon-insanity here, because it didn't look as nuts this time. It seemed normal to me, haha. They had more lasers this time, but no fireworks. I'm still working on posting the video of the first light show I saw back in October.

The 27th was back to work for Mai, so I had another few days off alone. I slept in as usual, but managed to get out and do some things. I hiked up The Peak during the daytime, and was a bit dissapointed in the amount of smog, but not much we can do about it until China stops being China. It was still a nice view, but my new lens was somewhat wasted as even it's sharp glass can't cut through dense smog. I walked around some richy-rich areas, and up to the Peak Garden. For the effort, I would say there are other gardens in Hong Kong that don't require a long hike up the mountain and are much nicer. It is nice up there though, because you can look down both sides of Hong Kong Island, very different views.

Also during my holidays I went to the Hong Kong "Wetland Park." I should have known better by now, but I actually expected it not to be busy and full of squawking tourists. Despite the generous portion of "Please Shut Up" signs, the birds and other water creatures were fairly evasive due to the noise. I really don't understand why large groups of yelling and screaming people are allowed into an area that is advertised as a 'peaceful preserved bit of nature.' Ha! Next time I'll bring my earplugs. I could complain more, I could even write a letter, but this is just one more example of how mainland China is slowly turning Hong Kong into a polluted over-crowded Disney-eqsue theme park. Pretty soon Mickey Mouse will drive the buses too. I'm sure of it. If Donald Tsang would stop bending over for 2 seconds, he might realize that even the local Hong Kong people are fed up, not just spoiled synics from big ol' Canada.

So despite having another dissapointing adventure, I enjoyed my holidays. I've realized that the best things to do in Hong Kong are the ones that are not advertised, and they are usually free. It's back to school now, lets hope the kids remember me!

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