Jan 17, 2008

The Far East

I’m back!  In the few weeks that I was in Asia, I’ve visited Hong Kong, plus a few cities in mainland China, including Lo Wu, Sihui, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. It was amazing, and in some parts, incredibly humbling, but overall, a fantastic trip.

Way high up in the sky

Hello, Hong Kong!

This is my mini-me in the Far East.  She’s adorable.  She’s 4 years old and follows me everywhere. Apparently, she wants to have long hair, wear makeup and nail polish, and dress just like me.  I’ll try my best not to be too skanky :P  She was with us for most of our mainland travels.

I made a fruit platter for the family in Hong Kong. Guava, dragonfruit,
and those little orange things are called Sihui Gold. Sihui Gold is delicious!

I love the color of the dragonfruit’s skin and how it’s polka-dotted on the inside.  I was really disappointed, though, that mangosteen wasn’t in season in Hong Kong!

In Guangzhou

She has many poses!

An intense fountain

Well, this looks relaxing!

Feeding fish

Super intense!

View from a long bus ride in the mainland.  Every time I see this photo, I think of the Zora Neale Hurston quote, “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing…”

To the countryside we go! This is Sihui.  A lot of it is still very rustic, but to me, that’s the beauty of it.

The streets are literally trashcans. People have no qualms just dropping trash anywhere.

Parent letting her child do #2 in the middle of the street.  NBD.

No matter how many times I’ve been here, some aspects of people’s living situations still shock me.  Don’t feel too bad for people who live like this, though.  Some have a choice to get out, but they don’t, because this is home and all that they’ve ever known, and I should point out that I was told many times that this is actually the good life compared to life in the Maoist era (a lot of the middle aged and elderly people still talk about the dark Mao ages and rationing like it was just yesterday).

It should be noted that only a very small percentage of people in the village still live in these kinds of houses.  The photos of the village below is actually very rare in Sihui now and are on the brink of extinction.  It’s mostly populated by elderly folks who’ve likely lived there all their lives.  When those elderly folks start to pass, this village and its house will likely be demolished and turned into highrises or sorts, and/or shopping centers, and the government will probably just reimburse their next of kin.

Most people now live in more modernized apartments with running water and electricity, and some of them live in really nice mansions.  Literally, mansions, and they’re all decked out with gates and elevators and all (hey, material and labor are cheap here, so you might as well go all out).  The children in the old photos below, now middle-age, are very well-off now and live in such mansions.  They wanted to move their parents to modern apartments, out of this village, but they refused because they wanted to stay home.

The kitchen


The condo we stayed at in Sihui. This piece of land was literally a sludge of mud when I visited six months ago.
It’s amazing how much can be done in such a short amount of time.

The motorcycle brigade. There are way more motorcyclists than car drivers around here.

I was really fascinated with this fossilized apple core.

Am-minals!!!

Onto the food… Pig brains, for hot pot

Fish heads, fish head hot pot is a really popular thing here

Of course I couldn’t eat any of this on my diet, but it’s still fascinating

Delicious dipping sauce

This isn’t the run of the mill hot pot that you find in your local Chinatown; this is real hot pot

No electric rice cooker!

The lack of an electric rice cooker helps create this crunchy rice crust at the bottom. It’s like a rice chip. Delicious!

Various meatballs and other meat product-kabobs

Alright, back to the high life in Hong Kong!  The view from my hotel.  They advertise on top of buses too.

I met up with… KATHY and we went to a… DESSERT BUFFET!

At first, we said we were going to grab one of each thing and share so that we could get a taste of everything

Yeah… we soon discovered that the sharing thing wasn’t going to work out.

Whatever this yellow fruit/berry thing is, it was delicious

Everything was so tasty!

I could’ve sworn there was a full shot of rum and espresso in that thing!

There was cotton candy!

And a chocolate fountain!

Me: I’m going to grab a plate of fruit.
*comes back with plate of fruit covered in chocolate sauce*
Kathy: I didn’t realize that when you said you were getting a plate of fruit, that it was gonna be covered in chocolate.

The fruit was right next to the chocolate fountain!!!

My dad told me about a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant right across the street from the hotel, so we went!

Going back home

Hello, San Francisco

And we’ve landed

The first thing I did when I got home: Make a big bowl of mac ‘n cheese. The white stuff in it is the rind of brie cheese.  Mmmmmmmm. Yeah, I totally did. What? :P

For some reason, I’m feeling incredibly happy and full of love for everything tonight, despite the stresses of grad school applications, GMATs, and work. Like, I’m happy and full of love for everything in a I-want-to-invite-all-of-my-bestest-friends-over-so-we-can-dance-wildly-and-sing-in-our-underwear-to-happy-indie-folk’ish-music-and-hug-and-laugh-while-sober kind of way.  Or maybe I’m just incredibly jet lagged.

BTW, does anyone have a twitter account? Twitter is a microblogging site that lets you make short updates up to 140 characters long and you can make updates through text messaging. I made an account when I was bored in HK. Sounds like it could get addictive to me…. Let’s follow each other! :)

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