Ok, here's part one of my Hong Kong trip. I took a lot more pictures here because Hong Kong was a much easier city to navigate, with signs in English and everything, and there was a lot to see.
When I first got to my friend Claudia's apartment, I laid out all my money and things I had. The lions are Hong Kong, the blue old guy is Korean, and the ones on the right are Japanese. Then I have my Korean train card and Korean Air frequent flier card, my Japanese train card (green), and my Hong Kong train card (lightning). It made me feel very cosmopolitan.
At the market. There were a lot of Westerners, and a lot of people who weren't Western. The clothes there you couldn't try on, so you would just buy whatever you thought looked good. I didn't buy any clothes there, but I did buy some clothes at other places without trying them on, and so far I've had pretty good luck. At this place, they would start offering prices before you even expressed interest, which made me feel crowded like they were staring and watching me. Another friend of mine said that it's a problem sometimes when Westerners go to the markets, because they aren't necessarily comfortable bargaining (I wasn't, I let Claudia do it.) so they pay the high price given. But that isn't the real price, so if a seller thinks they can get such inflated prices, they'll start adjusting them, and the native people can't afford to shop anymore. I felt funny bargaining with people who had less money than I did, as if I couldn't afford their prices, because it made me feel like a cheapskate. Anyways, this market sold everything. Underwear, ipod cases, jewelry.....Later we went to a mall full of little boutiques where you could probably only fit a couple of customers in at a time, and it was so crowded you couldn't move at times.
One day when Claudia was at work, I went off exploring. I walked around for maybe six hours total, in shoes that hurt my feet, trying on clothes that didn't fit and buying 3 for 2 earrings. I found this store, and went to the English language bookstore so I could buy a book so I would have something to do when I sat down. These escalators were amazing. They didn't fall into the normal stacking pattern, but they crossed the entire atrium, and some of them skipped floors to get you places faster. Escalators in Hong Kong are really fast, too. You have to pay attention.
I took a rest outside.
I dunno. I saw these things every now and then.
So, apparently, this is a corner under a highway where all the voodoo ladies gather. They had these clay sculptures of tigers or something, and if you hate somebody you go to these people and give that person's name and Chinese birthday, and they smash the sculpture, and it's supposed to bring bad omens to your nemesis. I think.
Claudia took me out for dim sum!! I didn't really have any idea what it was before; I'd only heard of it. All it is is a bunch of little dishes served with tea. The menu was huge; this is only a different part of it, that was separate. The fifth column from the right is serving shark fin.
The tea. The tea kettle behind the one in the picture is hot water, which you're supposed to use to wash your plates beforehand. Claudia said she didn't see the point and thought it was a pain and tried to get away without doing it but people yelled at her a different time, so she did it for me.
Fried carrot balls, and shrimp dumplings.
Spicy cabbage and sweet dumplings.
There were PSAs everywhere. I began to think that the government was running out of money paying for all the advertising space. They were about the most random things, too. I saw one urging employers to pay their employees on time.
This is a tram urging people not to get pets as an impulse buy.
We went to go see the Symphony of Lights, and on the way stopped in the mall to buy some shoes (ya know, in Hong Kong, and all). I snapped this picture of one of the panels of the mall directory. Look at how many tailors there are!
The place we watched the show from was kinda like Hollywood's Walk of Fame, so here was a statue of Bruce Lee. There were so many people taking pictures of it. All the other tributes were of people I didn't know about.
The skyline! It was a really foggy night.
I guess it kinda made the lights look cooler though. The ones we could see. There was really hokey background music.
I'm not sure what this was for, but it was a display on the way back to the station. Something about wishing kids to grow up healthy or something. I forgot. It was pretty though.
I'll post some more later.
Today was clean-the-teachers-room-day at work, so everyone moved the desks out of the teachers room, removed the floor wax, took off dirt scuffs with little sponges, waxed the floors again, and moved the desks back in the new seating arrangement for the new school year. Now I'm a part of the third year teachers group instead of second year, and I'm next to my hyper teacher again, diagonal from the science teacher, but across from the really funny PE teacher who fixed my chair today. Now I'm next to some low shelves, and the PE teacher and I moved the boxes on them forward a little bit so we have a stretch of elevated "desk" space, and I put some books on there, and my collection of free standing furry duck pens that teachers have given me as a running joke, and today on the way home I bought a little pot of flowers. The rest of the teachers were quite upset at out new-found square foot total of space. My hyper teacher next to me could probably use it more, since she is so disorganized, and her papers pile up and up so it's impossible for her to find anything, and she always flips though them frantically without even looking to see what she's looking at before going to the next paper in a panic if she's in hurry. But actually, maybe more space would make it worse. Maybe all she needs are bookends and folders. Being around her like that has had the opposite effect on me, so that to compensate I become very calm and quiet, and spend a lot of my time organizing, as if I could somehow cancel out her mess. The other teachers think she's crazy.