It was a late afternoon, one of those afternoons where you have the taste of lunch’s pastrami just sitting in your mouth, slowly growing more and more foul as it turns to gingivitis. It had been a slow day in the office, no visitors, no mail, no mystery. I always hated days like that, because you knew that somewhere something was happening that needed to be fixed. If only I had the motivation to get up and fix it instead of letting someone come to me.
I counted the number of lace crosses on my shoes as my feet sat propped up on my desk, staring straight up to the ceiling with those toes that so desperately needed clipping. I had played with my fedora for what seemed like an eternity. Every sound that passed in the hallway excited me, a possibility for a new case to be presented, yet each echoed away in silhouettes just as they came. I had counted the number of ceiling tiles 42 times when I heard the doorknob clink as it turned. Immediately at attention, I dropped my feet, pulled out my pen, and looked hard at the grocery list on my desk, slowly raising my head as my visitor came in.
She was beautiful.
Yet mysterious.
“Hello, are you Mr. Dixon Dills?” I slowly nodded my head at the anonymous figure at the door, wondering why she didn’t just read it off the door. “I’m Betty Belle, and I need your help…”

(Basically) Over

In just a couple more days, it’s back to band.
Quick story: So one of my little fishies calls me today and asks me(after I have a minor wtf is he calling me moment in my head) if we’ve gotten our music yet. Sorry, no luck this time…

This summer was, in the end, pretty generic. Fun, not as productive as anticipated, and way too short. I didn’t get to see as many ppl as I had hoped, mainly sticking to the same crowd AKA Willie(Thank you willie for never actually going ‘newhere!), Albie, Aditya, and so on. I definitely had hoped to spend more time with my friends, but you know how that goes.
On the otherhand, this summer has been very economic, which is good. I think the most I spent on a group outing was… 7.50 at laserquest. I’m so glad fun is cheap, assuming you do it right. Well ‘neways, back to now.
So a couple days ago, my sister walks in and throws a letter on my bed, addressed from the Jandas. Hmm… opening, I receive a birthday party invitation… on my birthday.

Dang, OOC.
Actually, I had known about this, as on a previous occasion, Jane told me that she was going to use my(and Andy’s) day to have her party, but really didn’t sink in. I don’t think there’s a law against it, but I’m pretty sure the court will side with me on attempted murder with intent to prevent an insulting celebration held by my ex-girlfriend.
Well, mebbe they won’t, but now I think about it, it hurts. Here *points at elbow*. Now to consider whether to go or not. And what present would be appropriate.

So my mom left last wednesday… which means party? I’ve noticed that since she left, several things have occured.
1)General quality of food/leftovers has been severely compromised. Ravioli, hot pockets, and chicken nuggets only last so long, for none of us actually care ’nuff to cook for real.
2)Consumption of ice cream has greatly increased. So at the before my mom leaves, we have a full tub of neopolitan ice cream in the freezer. About 3 days later when I go for my first run on it, I find myself contemplating whether it’s half full or half empty.
3)I feel like I’m in the only semi-okay Maculy Culkin flick ever. I wake up, and both of my sisters have deserted me with the cars to go to work. Being home alone certainly isn’t a bad thing(though in reality, our family tends to have little interaction, so it’s about the same), though it’s spookily quiet. And the A/C freaks me out everytime it turns on.
4)Not having to wake up at 830 for 4 hrs of SAT practice. Fun!
It’s been interesting.

So my tuba lesson this week was pretty… interesting. With both of my sister’s at work, my tuba teacher had to come to my house to have the lesson, but his motorcycle is totally busted, so he bums a ride with his girlfriend over. So for a good part of the lesson, we were working on the piece he assigned me: Variations on… Pop Goes the Weasel. Well, that’s not the exact title, but it’s the tune to. Oddly ’nuff, it’s a class 1 solo as well. ‘Neways, so I’m playing that, and then he’s like, “Dude, you need some performance practice. We need to get you a pianist, then have a recital where all your friends and my tuba buddies come and listen to you play this.”
Hooooly Crap.
I might have laughed if I didn’t know he was being completely serious. Well, I manage to dissuade him from that idea, and instead, now he wants to throws master classes at the band hall for all the JET Band brass kids every other sunday. He definitely needs to calm himself.

So a couple days ago, some of the guys came over to swim(except for that loser kid who goes by “Chief”. *shakes head* what a loser), and jason brings along his Harry Potter book so I can read it(as he, along with every other person in the world, finished it in the 1st 2 days, and had his copy available). I’m like, “Cool, I’ll bite”. I soon came to realize I was a victim of peer pressure. See, I didn’t really want to read it, but everyone was doing it.
It sounds worse that way, doesn’t it?
‘Neways, if you either a)haven’t read it and don’t want spoilers or b)don’t give a care about my review/speculation on it, don’t read the next paragraph. Or the rest of my post. Which is basically the same thing. …yeah.

So this book was pretty typical for a HP book. Nothing happens for 600 or so pages, and everyone is happy and not worried, and then rising action / miniclimax / complication / climax / falling action happens in about 50, all while HP is like, “sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, we’re screwed!” Past the expected slow/lengthy start, this one was just weird. I realize how much Rowling tried to tone it down, but HP needs to keep his pants on(forgive the expression). After that first scene where HP catches Ginny and Dean(Dean Thomas=trumpetguy.reverse), I was like, “Dang, that’s crucial”. While kids may be immature enough to just kind of gaze over it and adults may be mature enough to underemphasize it as well, I couldn’t take it. True, the boy’s like, 17 by now, but that doesn’t mean we have to hear about it. Pretty pointless diversion, seems to me(unless Ginny gets, like, strangulated by Voldy or something in #7). ‘Neways, so at the end, we got the typical monologue b4 the big fight/kill as Dumbledore is like, “You can kill me”. Pretty pointless as well. Thank goodness for Snape having some initiative. And the end was not suspenseful at all. Breaking up with Ginny is meaningless, as he’s made his feelings quite clear and the minor separation won’t save her, and his promises for 7 don’t have me jumping out of my seat. And as hard as she tried, it wasn’t dark or sad. Sorry. Oh, and personal theory: I think that Snape is some triple agent or something, and Dumbledore may have planned to have himself killed by Snape, just to throw a bit of support for Snape’s efforts. Dumbles seems to be the only intelligent character in the book, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt(Wondering if ‘neone will care ’nuff to comment on this theory…) End.

Almost Over

Dang. Crucial.
In about a week, it’s back to band.
It’s awfully sad how quickly the summer has gone. It’s been fun, but it’s been a blur. I swore to myself I was going to slow this one down and have lots of fun, and I have(had lots of fun). But it’s still gone.
With everyone with various commitments, it’s been hard to actually gather ppl together(since I’m not a big fan of the late night par-tay-ing), but it’s been managed. I wasn’t nearly as productive as I had hoped, but that really shouldn’t come as ‘ne shock. Everyone has plans at the beginning of the summer… then realize we’d rather sleep. Fair tradeoff, I’d say. In ‘ne case, more specific news…
So my mom tells me a couple days ago that she was going to make an emergency trip up to Toronto. Apparently, one of my mom’s best friends from college(whose son I got to become pretty good friend’s with) is in pretty bad condition. She had breast cancer a couple years ago, which they had removed, but recently, she’s collapsed several times, and they think it’s spread to her brain or bone or something. In ‘ne case, my mom is going up to see her for about the next week. Please pray for her.
In a sort of guilty fashion, we’re taking advantage of her trip. See, if you don’t know, Canada has the best food. Ever. Hands down. Way better than the US. Well, mebbe the cuisine was better in China, but you know what I mean. In ‘ne case, when my mom goes up there, we demanded she take the big suitcase and pack as few clothes as possible, just to stuff more food. Gonna be awesome. Par exemple…
Crunchie Bars- Can’t really explain, there’s this sweet, hard, spongy part in the middle and covered in chocolate. Awesome.
Wine Gums-Imagine, like, gummy bears… in different shapes… and harder… and better tasting. That’s Wine Gums. Awesome.
Corn Pops- I know they have corn pops here, but the ones in Canada are better. The ones here are like, flattened ovals, but the ones in Canada are like, spherical crunchie chunks of sweetness. Awesome.
Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies and Aeroroot- Canada makes the best cookies too. Awesome.
Coffee Crisp- It’s a coffee flavored chocolate bar. Beat that. Awesome.
President’s Choice Peanut Butter- Possibly the best peanut butter ever. It’s like, organic peanut butter with the chunks and separation, but better than ‘nething here. Awesome.
All-Dressed Chips- Hard to explain, but they’re the best flavor ever. Awesome.
Ketchup Chips- They might have these around here, actually, but they’re awesome. Awesome.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a thousand things, but Canadian food is just better.
So yesterday, my mom took me to go listen to a speaker from Yale talk over at Strake. Quite interesting, actually. Saw Neville(and his dad with a shaven head; it was weird. Can you imagine Neville with a shaven head? There’d be brains popping out everywhere! Can you imagine Neville reading this right now?) and Michelle Maurin there; always good to know I’m not weird. Well, mebbe I am weird, but I’m not weird alone. In ‘ne case, it was quite interesting. I must say, the speaker was very good, for I’m feeling the distinct pull to try to get into Yale, though I’ll do more research and discover whether it was just elegantly planned rhetoric or if I’ve found the one person in the world who isn’t a weasel(on a similar note, I’m reading “Way of the Weasel” by Scott Adams, the guy who draws Dilbert, again, right now. It’s hilarious; I suggest it to ‘neone who like Dilbert). College planning is definitely coming up(as well as massive scholarship undertakings by the direction of my mom). Btw, again, I’ll throw in another shameless plug: try using It’s a great scholarship finder.
So the Harry Potter phonomena has struck again. That book is way too popular and much too hyped, but I guess I’ve been sorta influenced; while I didn’t await it at midnight or rush out to get it asap, I wouldn’t mind having someone lend it to me *wink wink nudge nudge* since pretty much everyone I know has finished it in the first 2 days. Ridiculous.

Reflecting on a Blur

Honestly, I can’t really ‘member what happened last week.
Had library duty on Tuesday(though not Monday, thank goodness) as usual, which sucked, as usual. Shelved a bit, then had the wonderful chore of shoveling kitty litter into balloons to be used as juggling balls for an upcoming event.
My partner at library duty quit because of that. Double sucks.
I finished up painting the downstairs last week after suffering through more Family Feud. Have I ever mentioned that daytime television sucks? Either a meaningless talk show(endured about 5 mins of Oprah one day, then turned it off), soaps, news(actually watched that one day, more on that later), or dead game shows, which sadly came out at the front of the pack.
But about news, I watched all that stuff about the bombings in England. Terrible stuff. Them terrorists seem to be doing a good job of keeping us off-balance, because for all of Bush’s “efforts” to fight terrorism(I’ll avoid delving deeper into that so I don’t offend ‘neone), apparently the international community didn’t see this one coming. With the Olympic bid and G8 running… that sucks. For what it’s worth, condolences to ‘neone affected by this.
Continuing(but not forgetting that), by finishing downstairs means the tough work comes. This part involves very tall ladders(2 story ones) and what my mom supposes to be scaffolding to paint over the staircase. I’m so gonna get myself killed.
SAT practice continues, and it’s been interesting. I’ve managed to do pretty well, but I’ve been listening to some of the stuff ppl are saying(and reading a book right now, actually, that says the same) that Testmasters and PrincetonReview are giving these crazybutt strategies for them to use. Par exemple…
Apparently just about everyone is saying something along the lines of “Don’t read the passage; just go to the questions and then go back to the section you need and get the answer”.
You might think it’s one of those things that may sound really stupid upfront, but ends up being in reality a brilliant technique, but I’m willing to 2nd guess that.
Let’s think about this; they say it’s better to take a shortcut. I’ll admit, shortcuts can help if you’re pressed for time, but honestly, if you’re willing to go through the effort to go to classes or read a book about this stuff, you’re probably smart ’nuff to at least have time to read the passage once through. But past that, there’s so much more to it. By reading the entire thing at once, you actually pick up a lot of things like tone and connotations and such that can help you when it comes to answering those section ones. Even those dinky “This word means” can get a lot from understanding the whole passage instead of 2-3 lines. What if the author used those 2-3 lines as complete sarcasm? Oops, looked like some idiot picked the opposite answer. Continuing, I’d like to cite an example of stupidity from the book I’m reading.
“Since the SAT includes easy, medium, and difficult questions, on which type do you usually spend the least amount of time?” They say the correct answer is “difficult questions” because your time is better used on the medium and easy ones. Okay. Let’s think about this.
Imagine the days of pain behind us in Holycross. You’re working through a test, and there’s a question that’s like, “2+3=”. Easy(I hope), so you answer and move on. Then theres one like, “3X+4Y=15, 5X+4Y=25, solve for X”. Might take a second longer, but it should be pretty easy. Then the test continues with an ooc question that requires you to augment a 5X5 matrix.
Which would you spend the most time on? The one you know you got right or the one you actually need to work out?
I find it very interesting as well that the book I’m reading often uses the words “Most students”. Well thanks, but if I’m going to spend my time reading your trash, I really hope it applies to me. ‘Neways, ’nuff of that.
So I guess my hilight of the week was getting my RPG group together. Quite an adventure, actually(hahahahahaha…), but there isn’t much to tell. At least, nothign that most ppl would care about.

Painting and Such

Firefox is still being a pain, so I’m stuck using IE again. The horrors…
Well, we’ve finally started my mom’s project to repaint most of the house. We’ve had it for awhile, so I guess it’s time. Started with the dining room, which I managed to finish in a day. Yellow, as my mom has always liked her dining rooms. Definitely gives a different quality to the room.
The rest of the bland walls on the first(and hallways of the 2nd) will be turned blue. While I’ve managed to avoid ‘ne major accidents so far, I feel that Mr. Roller and Ladder will conspire to get rid of me. Painting is at least an interesting diversion from wvr other unproductive stuff I would be doing. In reality, it doesn’t take that long, and my mom isn’t particularly strigent about the schedule about it, simply reminding me that “eventually, it all needs to be done”. It’s going to take quite awhile, still, with all the random walls and stuff, and we’re supposed to do 2 coats. On a side note, I got a chance to “watch” Family Feud while painting today. That show sucks. I thought it’d be like, 2 families beating the stuffing out of each other in a game show-Jerry Springer like fashion. Instead, I get to “enjoy” the stale wit of Richard Kairn as we figure out what the most common idiot answer is. Fun. Sort of.
So I had gone in for SAT practice 4 days in a row this last week, and for sure it’s too much. That 4th day was heck. Fortunately, I think I’ve managed to gain a bit of consistency. But ‘neways, the real story. So I woke up that 4th morning with a terrible crook in my neck. ‘Membering how the last time that happened that it had simply been a flat pillow, I looked to adjust my arrangement. My 2 pillows that I stack(much more comfortable, for me at least) seemed no lower than usual. I made some small changes for the next night, not feeling particularly better when I realized another possible source. As we all know, test-taking sucks. Tests suck… and it’s uncomfortable. After sitting for 3 hrs in a plain room, hunched over a booklet and answer document, your body hurts like heck. Especially your neck. Problem solved, though I feel that it’s going to be a recurring problem this summer. Only 3 times a week from now on, thank you very much…
I had my tuba lesson on Sunday, which was quite interesting. While my mom usually sits in on them, she hadn’t this time, and my teacher was in an… interesting mood. See, he had just gotten back from Louisiana no more than a 1/2 hr b4 I arrived on his motorcycle after it broke down the night b4. While normally a 5 hr drive, it was on the fritz, so every 10 mins, he’d have to cool it down for 2. In ‘ne case, he was midly POed, so we blew through my assignment, moving from one to another without a care, all while he cursed many foul terms I dare not repeat under his breath. The ultimate moment of… interestingness came when I was having trouble on a particular scale drill. So he’s like, “This is just an A scale. Play it! It’s easy, it’s like” *insert gesture*. “Forgive the expression. Play it.”
Btw, the gesture… reminded me of Derek’s story of Mr. Fin… and the soap… and the graduated cylinder.
Went over to the Janda’s last night for dinner with Truby(who happened to give me a ride in her very spiffy motorized vehicular device). Had Hot dogs and hamburgers over a very interesting dinner conversation. Perhaps I’m overstating the difference, but Janda-waving-his-big-heavy-baton is very different from Janda-who-spouts-on-about-disney-moobies. Very interesting dinner, followed by one of the best Disney moobies ever: Emperor’s New Groove. Even though it wasn’t based off a traditional tale(as far as I know) as many of the most successful Disney flicks are, and it doesn’t quite have the whole singing-musical deal as the others, it’s one hilariously awesome moobie with quite a few interesting moments, as was pointed out to me. After that, headed over to Starbucks with Truby and Jane to hang for a bit and talk, which was just as interesting as usual.
Oh, congrats to Jane for having a new cousin.
Well, today is the 4th of July, and frankly, I’m not quite feeling the festivity of it. I’m not too sure what I was expecting, seeing as I’m still a Canadian citizen, but I don’t think the feel of it has quite caught on. Trees in the backyard obscure the fireworks that are pretty much the same as b4. I honestly think having the 2000 celebration so early relative to when I came here really ruined the rest of them after that. I mean, that one was pretty flipping awesome, and I haven’t seen ‘nething close to it. I’ve abandoned my fantasies for pyrotechnics, though I know many who will cling to it year after year. Seems a waste to spend so much money on stuff you plan on blowing up ‘neways.

Summer… stuff

Well, my firefox cookies aren’t right or something, and Blogger can’t seem to get this right, so I’m using IE right now *shock* *runs away*.
So ‘neways, let’s see… my mom got me started in this thing called “Exam Club” run by TestMasters. While usually they do classes, etc etc, this way, I (well, my mom) pays less than half of that and I get to go in and take tests on my own time(apparently it lasts until I graduate). It sucks.
See, the nearest location is in Bellaire, so its a 1/2 hr drive just to go out there… where I sit in a room with some other ppl stuck to the same fate for 3-4 hrs and take a test. No monitors nothing. So the fact that I’m doing this basically on my own will makes it worse. The upshot is that I’m doing pretty well already, so it’s not like I have to do a lot of other work to study up as well. I guess it’s something to do this summer.
In other news, I managed to watch an entire season of DS9 this week. I know, I have a lot of spare time. Even with the SAT practice.
Yesterday was Aditya’s b-day party. Headed out to LQ with them and played a round. Didn’t do that bad for not having gone since jr high band(at the least, I beat everyone else of our group). LQ is one of those really awesome things you just don’t get around to doing. So sad. On the otherhand, it’s 7.50 for less than half an hour, making it way less economical than a moobie, which we all know is a big rip-off as well. *shrugs*
Headed back to his place where we hung for a bit, playing games, etc. We watched Mystery Men, a hilarious moobie that I had already seen, but caught a couple more jokes I hadn’t b4. Btw, if ‘neone knows what “Zei gezunt” means, plz tell me.
Ate the richest ice-cream cake I’ve ever had too. It was soo good, but I know I just lost a couple weeks off my life.

In ‘ne case, I’ve definitely hit the summer roadblock. It’s that point where you’ve got so much free time, pretty much everything is boring. Playing games, watching DS9, chatting online, surfing the net, etc is all great, but you just don’t feel like doing it. Even worse is all the stuff I should be doing, yet I don’t feel like, though thats not new. It’s like, I know I’ll enjoy watching DS9 or practicing my tuba, but I just don’t feel like going through the effort to do it (Of course, I know many who are plagued by this laziness all the time, so mebbe it isn’t so bad, but still). And then there’s the awful dread for things like library volunteer duty and SAT practice, yet once I’m through it, I realize it’s not that bad. *shrugs*
Perhaps something exciting will come up for me to do(if ‘neone has ‘ne ideas, I’ve got lots of time).

Another Week of Summer…

Well, I’m still up, anxiously waiting till midnight to see my SAT II results on (jerks better put it up at midnight…). This is crucial stuff, I gotta know…
Found a recording of the Blue Devils’ Channel One Suite on their website,, if you want to listen. Very interesting, very exciting stuff, though I can distinctly see the tuba part being not so exciting. This is one of those times I wish I hadn’t switched away from trumpet… it’s gonna be awesome.
Well, today has been highly uneventful, though yesterday was a blast. Woke up around 8 to go with my sister, Emily, Julie, Evan, and Ian to see the LotR exhibit at the HMNS. Definitely interesting, very well worth it. Quite interesting to see how they do the “hobbits are short” trick(no, I won’t tell you, go to the exhibit!). It’s pretty ridiculous how much work and money and stuff they put into making the entire moobie. Almost makes it seem like a waste… We got done around noon(and Emily had to come back ‘neways), and since Evan and Ian weren’t doing ‘nething, they came over to hang out all afternoon. Played a bit of Magic, watched a bit of Dilbert, and played A LOT of counterstrike. My eyes hurt so much, but I kept going, passing through several map rotations. Unfortunately, now Ian is seriously hooked, and I’m scared. They both had to go home before nightfall unfortunately, for they have both left this morning to go to Cello camp(Evan) and UM Army(Ian). Sad, though I did get DS9 season 1 from Ian. I know I’m a loser.
So summer’s been interesting. There’s always this confusion of interest, whether to actually be productive, or numb my mind or something on the computer. Guess which is winning? Fortunately(other than today), I’ve managed to keep a somewhat reasonable sleep schedule, getting my full time from about 11 to 10. It feels so good to be getting all this sleep after school ended… and they say you grow more while sleeping ‘neways, so there’s no conflict of interest. Except for mebbe my mom. Reminds me of when my aunt was talking about my cousin’s sleeping habit… “If you miss breakfast, okay. If you miss lunch, I can put up with that, but when you start missing dinner…”
Oh, and due to the apparent lack of interest in Dixon Dills’ story, he has died. So sad. Interesting what happens when you have spontaneous writing(though I’m sure a lot of you do it all the time on those in-class essays…)
I really want to see Batman. ‘Neone got ‘ne quick reviews for me to determine whether it’s worth wasting a moobie coupon on?
Still another hour or so to go until I can check for results. Time for some more Enemy Territory…

I’m Back…..

I’m actually sitting on an airplane as I write this(well, actually, as of now, I’m in front of my computer reading the blog I wrote out on paper on the plane because I felt there’s WAY too much to ‘member in one sitting.)

So Hong Kong. Well, the flight over was fine if you consider a 3 hr flight followed by a 2 1/2 hr delay on a plane followed by a 15 hr flight fine… Got into Hong Kong at 9 or something at night(basically a 24 hr trip). And for all the reading material I brought, I only read(and managed to finish) 2 of the books, both of which I had already started… I know, go me. Don’t ask how I managed to kill 15 hrs past sleeping. And I didn’t sleep that much. *shrugs*

Hong Kong, which in Cantonese i’s pronounced somewhat closer to “Heung Gong”, though white ppl and white languages will never grasp it =), is a super modern, international city. It’s all high rises, offices, appartments, etc. Very crowded, 7 million ppl on a small amount of land I can’t ‘member the numver for. There, land is gold, Apparently on most of the land, it’s illegal to build houses; it must be an appartment or something. Everyone uses public transportation, as only about 10% of the population has cars. But ‘neways, geography lesson.

Hong Kong is made up of primarily 3 parts: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories. HK in its entirity(sp?) is made up of some 200 islands(can’t ‘member exactly), but only about 10 are named and have public transportation to.

Kowloon is mainland HK, adjacent to China, which it is basically “owned” by(though not run; HK has its own government and everything). It has most of the hotels, residential, entertainment, shopping, etc. The main street, Nathan Road, stretches some 2 miles long, and most of the business centers on this road. Oh, note on how crowded it is: our tour guide kept mentioning how ppl lived in the “rural” areas. “Well Kevin, if HK is so crowded, how are there rural areas?” Well apparently, the “rural” areas are just as built up as the main city with appartments and shops and restaurants and stuff. Mebbe she meant “residential”. *shrugs*

Hong Kong Island is… well, the island. To get there from Kowloon, you can take the famous “Star Ferry”, the subway, or the “No More Excuses Tunnel”. Story ’bout that: so, in the old days(past the 70s or something), the only way across to HK Island from Kowloon(where most lived) was the Star Ferry. Well, it only ran during the day and shut down during Typhoons and stuff. As such, workers and kids could get an excuse from work/school by blaming it on the ferry. After the tunnel was built(working 24-7), ppl no longer had excuses for tardiness or absense. In ‘ne case, on HKI(I’m getting really lazy with these names) is the more industrial/commercial part. Along with the resort-like area. ‘Neways, from Kowloon, you can look across the (body of water which I can’t ‘member the name for) and see the Skyline of HK. It was really incredible with so many buildings and so many lights(see, in HK, there appears to be a big competition for the tallest building, so it keeps getting bigger and bigger and…). In addition, at 8:00 every night is a laser show form the buildings of the skyline. Not so spectacular, but interesting. Elsewhere on the industrial side are Aberdeen and Victoria harbors. In Aberdeen harbor are the boat ppl, fishermen for life. These are ppl who have basically never stepped off their boat. Funny story, some of the elders are so isolated from society, they actually believe if you take their picture that you might steal their soul(OMG, Willie is the devil!). On some of the boats are generators with TVs and fridges and everything. Unfortunately, with all the pollution, the fishermen have to go out farther and farther to fish, several days away. As of the 70s 80s however, HK law has required all kids to go to school, robbing away the youngest generation. Becuase of this, only the elderly are really left on the boats as the kids figure out how much easier life is on land. Apparently, it’s predicted that the boat ppl will die out in some 10 years. Sad.
Continuing, on the otherside of the island, away from the hustle & bustle of life is a resort-like area, mostly left untainted by human influence. Maintained in almost perfect greenery, it was actually pretty spiffy and an incredible contrast to the other side. There, private land can be bought, and there were actually a couple houses and some townhouses there. There were beaches and barbeques too at places like Repulse Bay(not named cuz of the quality of the water, but that pirates were once there was drove out by the British). The place wehre ppl live is called “Stanley Village”, with the famous “Stanley Market”. Nice place.
Up on HKI is Victoria Peak, formerly the highest point, before the government chopped off the top so they could build more tourist stufff up there. To get up there, there is a winding road, or the something-icular tram. Basically, there are 2 trams over 1 track(splits in the middle for a bit) that use each other as counterweights. Genius. Up there is a shopping complex, trails, touristy stuff. You can watch the lights of the HK skyline light up as the sun goes down. Quite nice. It’s also very odd, for you can literally look out one way onto a humongous city(10000X more urbanized than Houston), then walk to the otherside and see greenery and water to the horizon. Crazy.

The final part of HK is the new territories, other islands linked to HKI by a huge suspension bridge, much like the Golden Gate Bridge. There are the airport and the in-the-works Disneyland:Hong Kong.

As I said before, in HK, land is gold, so who doesn’t want to be an alchemist of old? Sort of? If you didn’t niknow, HK is naturally very mountainous. To fix this, the government has gone under the very expensive project at cutting down mountains and pouring it into the water, called “landfill”. Much of this “reclaimed land” is pu to use to build more and more, for HK is still growing and crowded. Harbors(like Aberdeen, Victoria) have shrunk significantly from landfill, and often, hotels with waterside views will often find itself obstructed by another building built in front of it from landfill. Sucks. That’s why living on higher floors is more valuable; the view is valuable, and in some places, truly enchanting.
Another odd part of the growth of HK is “Feng Shui”, literally “Wind Water”, symbolically “Luck Money”. The art is just a way of positioning things for maximum luck and money(Chinese are very superstitious if you can’ tell). Natrually, everything is built to accomodate this art. Some buildings have holes in them for it! Along with other funny designs, it makes architecture in HK truly unique. And don’t screw up, because apparently, 1 building had 1 bad angle, and it never did so well.

Weather in HK is quite similar to Houston, humid and hot, though it rains more.

Well, got your geography lesson, here’s some history. As you probably know, HK was ceded to England during the 19th century as a part of the Opium Wars agreement, only returned to China less than a decade ago. As such, there is a hilariously large British influence there. Double-deckers roam the streets. English words appear above the Chinese translations, not the other way around. They drive on the wrong(nope, it’s not just left, its wrong) side of the road, of which all still have British names like Nathan and Kimberley. Oh, and my favorite, on the subways, whenever you get on or off, a voice says, “Please mind the gap.”

So as for my personal experience, I stayed at the Miramar Hotel on Nathan, the crucial road on Kowloon, right in the middle of “downtown”, in walking distance of everything. Oh, and everyone walks everywhere. That, or public transportation for long distances. The streets are always crowded(except morning; Chinese life seems to go from about 11 to midnight. Most shops and stuff are open really late) with businessmen, vendors, families, etc. Over by us were tons and tons of shops and malls, a shopper’s dream. You could even buy legit(really) VCDs(like DVDs) for about $19 HKD(1-8 against the USD, making it about $2.5US) Everything was cheaper. Even an ice-cream cone at McD’s was about $2HK/a quarter. Food was really cheap too, for a full, real Chinese meal for my entire family could cost mebbe $25US. Oh, and teh food was to die for from buns in the morning(Pineapple custard, BBQ pork, mmm!) to noodles and wonton to fried rice… it was great. I have never had Chinese so good(10000X than in Houston; mebbe 10X better than Toronto, but that’s still a lot). ‘Neways, there were tons of vendors on the street too, wehere you could get curry fishballs on a stick or waffle balls or bubble tea, all something like $1US. Incredible. Open air markets were also plopped down right in the middle of the street with clothes galore. I ended up buying only one thing, but it was worth it. In one of the department stores, we found prescription goggles. Although I wasn’t sure of my exact prescription, I got a pair pretty close for $10-12US.

So there you go. If you want some more personalized answers and experiences, drop me a line; I’ll be sure to ignore you =). Just kidding…

Don’t really want to write right now. Not sure if ‘neone really cares though. Okay, poll.
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