Jan 7, 2005

So the vacation was great, so great that I'm having a hard time kicking myself back into work mode. Or it could be the jetlag and flu I picked up on the way home. My sleeping patterns have been all shot for the past week.

When I was younger, trips to Hong Kong were pretty repetitive. I'd basically follow my parents around all day, every day, except maybe for the days I stayed home and watched TV. We'd have breakfast at home, and then maybe drop my Grandma and mom off to wash her hair. My dad might go to the factory to handle some business with my uncle or Grandfather. We'd have lunch, go shopping, tea at the Kowloon Club, maybe go shop some more, have dinner, go home watch some TV, go to bed. Something like that.

The last few trips have been pretty cool though. My Grandma gave me the keys and enough "lai see" for me to get around. I got a cell phone so I could call whenever I got lost, which wasn't too often. The MTR's incredibly efficient and easy to use, and the taxi's are actually not very expensive compared to North American taxis. I got to wander around on my own and hang out with friends from Toronto.

Times like these I wish I had more time to spend with old friends.

As luxurious as it was to have a maid do the laundry, having breakfast ready in the morning, and awesome food for every meal, part of me is glad to have full control of my laundry, a warm room (man, hong kong winter nights are cold, they don't seem to believe in insulation there) and the option of not eating like a pig is rather comforting now.

I was in Shanghai when I saw the news on CNN about tsunamis hitting Indonesia. At the time they were still reporting casualties in the thousands, which already seemed like a disaster. A few days later I was having dinner with my aunt and uncle and their friends, all parents of east coast prep school and Ivy League kids, talking about their friends who precariously escaped the flooding at Phuket, saying how fortunate we were to be dining at a nice restaurant in Hong Kong and not having to deal with the aftermath.

It's sometimes disturbing to think how life can be so great for some people, yet so dismal for others. I felt guilty that entire dinner, although no one else seemed to disturbed (although some of them were concerned about the waterfront real estate in Hong Kong). But at the same time, emotional socialism seems cruel at best. Should everyone constantly be downcast and mourning? After all every day, I'm sure somebody, somewhere is having an awful day.

So I think at any time, a day of mourning for some may be a day of celebration for others. One shouldn't be jealous of the other, for God gives and takes away. My New Year's resolution is to be positive for a year. So I think it's great that the Canadian government is matching donations to the Canadian Red Cross, but only until January 11th, so hurry!

Quick summary: I left California on December 17 (arriving in HK on December 18). Stayed in Hong Kong most of the time, but took a short trip to Shanghai from December 26 through 29. Stayed in Hong Kong after that until New Year's. I left Hong Kong January 2, stayed in Tokyo for 1 day, hosted by a Canadian friend and her Japanese students, who acted as our tour guides. Left Tokyo and arrived back in San Jose on January 3rd. Here's the trip photos.

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