Sunday, March 27, 2005

28th is HERE!. I fly out tomorrow morning.. I am panicked...

That is me panicked. Its not a pretty picture..

I prefer to be relaxed.


This is me relaxed.

Now to get from point A to point B I must have several things that I am giving up inherently by undertaking this journey. I must know my surroundings, I must be comfortable in my surroundings and I must have stuff to do that I want to and to be able to stop doing them when I want to. When I am travelling I can not decide all of a sudden to stop travelling. (technically I can, but I ain't buying a ticket to come back early unless I am dying) I also do not really know my surroundings, if you consider the fact that I don't speak cantonese, mandarin and no noone in any part of HK/China.

There is a short-cut. It requires a lot of alcohol but after about 3 liters of beer or 400 ml of vodka I can be comfortable in pretty much any surroundings. However I don't like to drink alone so I will have to find people to drink with who will tolerate my fidgeting until after the alcohol requirement has been met and I can be comfortable.

OK.. anyways.. today, after I wake up I will need to do the following things:
pack, figure out how to shave my head while travelling, go to the library to give my china guides another 3 weeks before I have to return them, buy an ipod and transfer my music and lectures to it, get some passport photos for my china visa.

In any case, what did I do yesterday... Woke up at 3 as usual. Went to Dmitry's house and then to Blockbuster. I hate blockbuster btw. I left my card at home. Usually they would just let me use my driver's license, but this time they made a fuss. Apparently i fell out of their system for some reason and they refused to give me a movie. This is after I reregistered back in december for an account that also disappeared from their system. Bloody bastards. I am done with them. Only problem is that they monopolized the damn business. Five years ago there were 2 other video stores in the area, but both have since gone bankrupt. So basically I have decided that I will never take a movie out from blockbuster again. If in desperate need of a movie I will go to the library and get a movie there. In a few years the blockbuster business model will be obsolete anyways, with most people having digital cable with movies on demand. Many people just download movies off the net and never rent a movie. That might be illegal, but so should be driving your competition out of business and then jacking up the prices to $5/rental. If I find my membership card I will carry out a ritual burning ceremony while chanting to the gods of free movies.

So anyways we got a movie from blockbuster - 'from hell'. We went back to Mitka's house and along with Yuri watched the Simpsons and Arrested Development. Afterwards we tried to actually watch the movie (Dmitry rented it on his own account) but the cd was all scratched up and thus we were forced to drive back to blockbuster and get another copy. They can't even bother to have watchable movies for rent... Anyways, the movie was about London's Jack the Ripper and the detective that was looking for him. The detective - Johny Depp - apparently lost his wife at childbearth and became an opium and absynth fiend. His assistant, Hagar of Harry Potter fame, comes down to the opium shops and finds his boss whenever there is need of his uncanny detective skills. Depp gets conveniently timed visions that tell him that somebody has been killed. So anyways somebody is killing hookers from a specific group of hooker friends. The killer gives the audience the courtesy of killing the ugliest hookers first, saving Heather Graham, the hooker with a heart of gold, till the end. Quite predictably Depp falls for Graham's character and starts hunting down leads. In the end the killer turns out to be a deranged surgeon who was killing to protect the royal family from the transgressions of a wayward prince who fathered a child with one of the prostitutes and married her with the rest of the group of hookers present as witnesses. Now I like the movie until the end, but what bothers me is that they needlessly turned the surgeon/murdered into a lunatic driven by the scriptures of the Masonic Orders. He did not need to be insane, in fact his insanity deprives the movie of any thinking value. He could have just been a loyal servant of the queen acting under orders with the mutilations being just a cover for the completely rational murders of all the witnesses to the disgrace of a royal heir. In any case.. The movie is well filmed and might be worth a viewing... (6/10)

Anyways for now here is my tentative itinerary for my china trip.
fly into hong kong. spend 4 days in hong kong and get a visa to go to china. i am flying in at night so the fun starts right out of the airport. i will have to find my hostel at midnight in a foreign city and pray that the hostel has received the booking I made through a partner website.. Let the panic begin. Anyways day 1 I will go up to the Peak and wander through the streets of the city. On the same day I will have to submit my papers for the chinese visa and start going to travel agents to figure out the best way to see the rest of china. I will also take a trip to Lantau to visit the Big Buddha and maybe take a hike. If its hot enough I might even go to the beach to amaze the people of Hong Kong with my hairiness.
At present I want to see the following places outside of Hong kong:
1) Macau - ferryride from HK, but very different architecture and history. Mostly casinos now, but still interesting to see what remains of the portuguese.
2) Yangshuo - about 16 hours from HK by bus. A chill backpacker resort. Probably similar to Pushkar and the Goa backpacker beachtowns in mentality. Supposed to be really amazing scenery. So, I will drink beer, hike, meet interesting people (hopefully), ride a bycicle and take a ferryboat up to Guilin and come back. maybe.
3) Xian - the terracota soldiers and various other historical stuff. I will have to take a plane from Guillin to here.
4) Beijing/Great Wall - I was thinking of just doing a trip to HK/Macao and South China, but I can not go to China without going to the Great Wall. This will require a plane ride from Xian. Maybe I will be able to buy a cheap ticket over to Narita in Japan and skip flying back to Hong Kong. I have a stopover in Tokyo, so no real point doubling back to HK...

Plans are always subject to change, and this is no exception. The best case scenario is that I meet some cool people in HK who have roughly the same schedule as me and explore the country with them. The worst case scenario is that I will take a tour of all these places with a tour company. In all these cases I get to see China, and experience something that most Western people never will..

cheers,
the B

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