... my first legitimate post, seeing as I live in Hong Kong now... I am actually here. More to come later. There are language barriers everywhere, even with the brother I'm staying with, who is French. From what I gather (from speaking in person a number of times about it) we're having people over for dinner, so I won't be able to discuss a ton at length, but I certainly will tonight. We went to the market near the house and bought all kinds of fish and fruit and vegetables and I got to barter in Cantonese with the people. It was nice.
Maybe I will... my flight got in this morning at 7:30 am HK time (thursday) and it's now going on 1900 thursday evening. Upon arriving in HK, I had just finished about 25 hours worth of travel after being up and packing frantically all day Tuesday (my blood still runs cold at the panic that ensued despite my preparation).
However, after schlepping probably 180 pounds of luggage thru the airport, to the bus stop, onto and off of the bus and then a twenty minute walk to his apartment, then up three flights of stairs. After that, I washed my hair and face and was given a one-hour run down of basically everything, but in about five minutes: "Here's your key. Here are the air conditioners; these doors stay open to keep the wine cool, these stay closed; you head down this way and then left for a while, pass the whatever and that gets you to the bus station to get to the Subway, where you'll get off here and take..." and so on thru everything from banking to cell phones to wifi to unpacking. And then roommate was gone for work. I unpacked a bit, arranged things and decided to head into HK and do stuff. Got everything together into a small backpack I brought (satchel, perhaps), filled with Cantonese phrasebook, pad of paper, my address, American and HK cell phone, etc etc and headed to the bank. I had walked probably ten minutes before realizing I forgot my passport, which I obviously needed at the bank. Long story short, I eventually got into town with the help of a few very nice people with whom I was able to speak about directions in Cantonese (!), and when I decided to get off the subway a few stops early to walk the rest of the way, one of them said "No! No! This isn't your stop." I almost wanted to sit back down, but told her I wanted to stop here. Checked out a market I would later return to and finally found HSBC. Took a half hour; filled out some forms, they made copies of my passport and got some other info and I made a deposit and got a debit card! Sha-zam. Oh, and roomie got me a prepaid SIM card, so I put it in the spare phone I got today and was ready to go. I also have a subway card. I covered A LOT of ground today and just walked around and took the metro places.
Company has arrived and I'm sipping on an aperitif. The advantages of a French roommate.... more later.