Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chasing the Sun across The Pacific (Hong Kong)

Kristin and I woke up at dawn to attempt a visit to the "Full House" house before boarding our plane for Hong Kong. I have been very skeptical about this visit from the start, mainly because the significance of this house is lost on me, not being a fan of the show. 3 unattached bachelors raising a bunch of girls in the homosexual capital of the U.S. sounds like groundbreaking material today, but apparently these dudes were straight and their ringleader was a widower. This was the early 90's, a completely different century. These were the days of TGIF I suppose, when TGIF was more a weekly event than a restaurant with a 40 page drink menu. I had attempted numerous angles to nonchalantly convince Kristin that our visit to this sitcom mecca was a waste of time. I would casually look up from my laptop and mention, "Did you know that the house was only used for the opening sequence, and the show was filmed in front of a live studio audience, on a set? I had no idea...weird" She would not budge. She was an ardent supporter of this cause, and as a good boyfriend I reluctantly caved to her wishes.

To call this journey a disaster would be an understatement. We did not make it to the house. We almost did not make it back to the airport. The Bart rail system decided not to cooperate, a car malfunctioned, and as a result, all we have to show for our 2 and a half hour journey is this picture.

Some random neighborhood

We had to wait about an hour for the broken car to be moved, so that we could head back to the airport, so that we could catch a shuttle back to our hotel, so we could get our luggage, and then get back on another shuttle to the airport to board our flight. These were frightening times. We were stuck in the middle of San Francisco with a rail system that was only moving in one direction, which happened to be opposite of our desires, and we had numerous connections to make. I cursed the Olsen Twins and their television brethren.

We made it back to the airport in time to board our plane. With the full house debacle firmly in the rear view, Kristin and I moved on to tackling our 14 hour flight. We had booked two seats in a row, 1 aisle and 1 window, with an open seat in the middle. We wanted a whole row to ourselves, and figured with a little bit of monitoring and moving seats around, that we could make it happen. We checked the flight weekly to make sure that no one chose the seat between us. We were sure that we had scored a great victory until a friendly Asian man sat down in seat 21J, right in the middle. This was a bummer at first, but proved to be a blessing in disguise. We probably spent 5 hours talking to this intelligent, funny, and kind Hong Kong gentleman. He gave us the ins and outs of Hong Kong. How to get around, how to save money in Macau, trading stocks in China, and much more. He was a management consultant for the Hong Kong government, and had been so for 30 years. He had witnessed the transition from British to Chinese control first hand, which I found extremely intriguing. We had some interesting conversations, and we always find some of the most rewarding experiences are simple conversations across cultural boundaries. Ivan Chan was his name, and if you are reading this Ivan, I am glad that you sat between us. It was an absolute pleasure.

14 hours is a long time to be in a plane. We were both full blown gila monsters by the time we landed. Dry breath, sodium swell from the 3 zero-nutrition meals, waddling like desert lizards from being too cramped for too long, we were quite the sight. We basically boarded at 1:00pm on Monday, and arrived at 6:00pm on Tuesday, strange time issues, and the sun never went down.

After taking a gorgeous train ride from the airport, through Kowloon, and into Central Hong Kong though, a taxi took us to our hotel, The Metropark.

H1N1 is a really big deal in this area of the world. Half the people on our plane wore surgical masks, and basically all of the employees at Hong Kong airport were wearing these masks as well. When we checked into our airport, the front desk clerk took our temperature before giving us our room key. They have this infrared laser gun that fires a beam onto your forehead from a few feet away, and it takes your temperature.

Anyways, I am pretty beat. Kristin is already sound asleep, and I am about to do so as well. Here is a view from our room and pool. Good Night.

View from desk in our room


  1. Justin and Kristin,
    You are too funny!! Holden and I laughed out loud as we read about your first adventures on your trip. We are still debating whether or not they really did take your temperature at the hotel.
    Hope you get rested. We look forward to seeing Asia with you online.
    I agree with your comments about the most rewarding experiences may not appear to be good at first. God is working in our lives and if we look hard enough, we will see him in a man named Ivan Chan! Who knew??
    Love, Aunt Cathy and Holden

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