May 28, 2004

Hong Kong Day 1

A very long flight... five movies long! Finally got to see Lost in Translation and The Station Agent. After 24 hours in transit, I slept like a cinderblock.

I woke up at dawn and took a walk around. There were people doing tai chi in the parks, people practicing singing and dancing, lots going on. I'm staying in Sha Tin, a new town in the New Territories. At the center of the city is a huge indoor shopping mall, a train station, and lots of high rise residences. If we were going to build the US all over from scratch to be less dependent on cars, this is the way to do it. One of my hosts, Harrison Yang, guided me from the hotel by train to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, site of the conference. The train system is very slick here. You buy a card and put it in your wallet. When you walk up to the turnstiles you simply put your wallet on the sensor and it deducts the appropriate fare. No need to pull out the card.

I had lunch with the department chair and the IT faculty...a combination of dim sum and main dishes. Much better food than our the SDSU faculty center!

They've set me up with an office on campus so that I can get work done in between things. I spent some time getting tomorrow's workshop finalized and then we were off for a whirlwind tour. First stop, Mong Kok, sort of a cross between Times Square and Blade Runner. Everyone walks very quickly here and when a sudden burst of rain came down the streets were jammed with people with umbrellas moving at breakneck speed. We walked through the Ladies Market, several blocks of stalls selling everything you could think of and a lot more. Then on to an indoor Computer Mart jammed with all kinds of toys. Then back into the car to the harbor where we hopped a ferry so that we could look back at the skyline on Kowloon. Every night at 8 there's a light show with lasers poking the sky from the tops of the buildings.

And from there we had a terrific dinner followed by a walk through Temple Street. More street stalls and fortune tellers... a feast for the eyes. It was getting close to 11 by now and time to get to bed. I felt amazingly unjetlagged all day, but as soon as I lay down I was out cold. I'm going to be here for a total of 6 days and I'm looking forward to it more than on most of my trips. There's an energy here that I haven't seen in Europe or at home. This is going to be a great trip!



At 9:48 AM, Karl said...

I'm glad Hong Kong is treating you well. It is an amazing city. I'm feeling quite jealous/nostalgic reading your posts. Thanks for piggybacking others to Hong Kong with you.


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