…There’s a juice stand in one of the busiest parts of the city that is 24 sq. ft. The rent? $30,000 per month…The night after I stayed at the printers’ plant, I couldn’t find a hotel room on the internet to save my soul, other than ones for $400, $600 a night. Trevor, a HK native, has a group of about 100 friends that are connected by an app called Whatsapp, so he put out a message. He got about 10 replies and I found a room…Sign on a bus: “No matter how far you go, remember where you are from.” This could refer not only to geographical, but occupational…Hong Kong is vertical; they have just filled in a big section of the bay down by the convention center for more high-rises…The 3 most expensive cities in the world for real estate and rentals are London, Tokyo, and HK; a 1000 sq. ft. condo here is like $800,000…Food is actually cheap if you eat at local restaurants; just had excellent sushi meal for $15.00; dinner last night (slices of smoked duck in broth with rice noodles for breakfast, was $7…weather in summer here is hot and humid, but unlike Rome (“Dog Days”), the city stays as crowded as ever…Streets are actually pretty clean, although there are sewer smells; the city is growing too fast…There are tons of shoe stores; been wearing my Sanuk surfer shoes the entire trip…What they call “hot coffee,” or HK coffee is strong dark coffee with canned milk, v. good…Yesterday I had soup with noodles and slices of abalone…I’ve got the subway figured out; you buy a card that you swipe upon entering — when you exit, you swipe again and it knows how far you’ve gone and deducts appropriate amount; subway system is brilliant: clean, trains run frequently (every minute at rush hours), are clean, air conditioned. I got so I felt pretty clever making my way around…Had glass of iced coconut juice yesterday while roaming…
I’m determined to lighten and downsize my luggage. Searching for a carry-on that will pass any airline’s muster (22 x 14 x 9″) and has both wheels (a godsend in cities) and backpack straps. Have thought of adding my own small pneumatic wheels for non-paved roads. I don’t want a zip-off smaller backpack because I always have my own LL Bean college backpack with carefully selected items. I’ve got to stop bringing twice as much stuff as I use. I knew one guy who used to cut off the handle of his toothbrush. My friend Allan travels frequently to SE Asia with just a small backpack (no wheels) and buys pants and a shirt upon arrival. No sweating it out at baggage claim, and first through customs. The lightweight cargo pants with zip-off shorts work well in warm climates. Shirts with pockets are totally useful. I’ve got a neck pouch on a string for passport and airline tickets at airports. Travel is an art.
My 11″ MacBook Air is a total joy and now a permanent part of my travel gear. The most beautiful piece of technology I’ve ever owned. Yo Steve!
Saw great show on TV last night: The Fat Man in a White Shirt. Great cooking show. BTW, I don’t like Anthony Bourdain (whose writing I like) dissing Alice Waters. He hangs out with uber-chef David Chang and they both think they’re awfully cute and play the “hipper than thou” card to the max. On this episode, the Fat Man was in France butchering a pig, making cheese in the alps, and gathering wild herbs in the woods with a brilliant chef.
Well, I’m off to the airport for my 1:00 AM flight to home sweet home. See what happens when I have some time to kill?