Current events snapshot: Mid-Autumn in Hong Kong

It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival today and Roman and I are lucky enough to be in Hong Kong for the celebration!

I’m by no means an expert on the holiday, but I know it’s based at least in part on moon and harvest festivals and is tied loosely to the equinox – the occurrence of the length of the day and night being equal somehow allowing the goddess of the moon to be reunited with her lover, a famous archer who lives in a palace on the sun – for this one day in the year. Romantic stuff and I love it! 🙂

The holiday is celebrated with many traditions, among them eating moon cakes, parading with lanterns and moon gazing. We didn’t have any cake or lanterns, but we did get to enjoy a splendid view of the moon above the city this evening, before heading back down to check out the festival at Victoria Park. Check out that view! (image should be clickable for a closer look)

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Current events: recharging and recalibration

Hello from Hong Kong!

So I nearly but didn’t quite finish blogging about Cambodia while we were in Hanoi, and now we’ve even left Vietnam. We’re here for two weeks as a bit of a break (a break from “being on vacation”? I know, I know… 😉 ).

By the end of Vietnam, I (possibly we – Vietnam was definitely not top of Roman’s list of destinations either) felt like I was full up. As though there wasn’t room enough in my brain for any new input. I’d walk past scenes, thinking, I can see why this is beautiful or interesting or would make a good picture, but there wasn’t any motivation to try to capture what I was witnessing.

I also couldn’t imagine eating another spring roll and I’d had enough of the dull-as-dirt mockery of bread that is the part of the standard hotel breakfast (I’m not into eggs and the pho at the last place we stayed smelled like a bathroom. :-P). I was fed up with smokey cafes and even when our hotels were decent, I started having fantasies about our old bed in our old apartment in Zürich – comfortable, clean, familiar. Smelling like home.

Don’t worry, I’m not ready to quit this trip. It’s just come time for a recharge.

Time to catch our breath after all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen over the past months. Time to check in with our goals, our travel wish list, our budget. Time also for a bit of comfort and nurturing.

So here we are in Hong Kong.

WORLD-away-from-southeast-Asia Hong Kong, with its truly global mix of denizens, its international retail scene (hello H&M – probably the only international clothes shop within my price range here 😉 ), its amazing neighborhood markets, its fascinating, smelly chinese medicine shops, its belching, steamy-exhaust-producing double-decker buses and it’s clattering, antique-feeling double-decker trams, its red and white taxis, its ever-dripping, ever-humming air conditioners, its hilly streets, its lounging cats, its well-obeyed pedestrian traffic signals, its towering metallic-colored sky scrapers glittering in the golden afternoon sun.

It’s feeling great being in an honest-to-God city again after so long. I love that sensation of feeling so little – not in terms of significance but of being dwarfed by all that architecture, like an ant in a man-made garden.

It’s also a nice change not feeling like such a significant cog in a place’s economy. (In my head) I stand out here because I’m in my practical travel clothes and most westerners here seem to be in business get up or fashionistas. (This difference reminds me of how nice it is not to be in an office job any more and makes me happy!) It’s a very different feeling from being the obvious Western tourist and trying to keep my balance as I negotiate between doing my best to be culturally aware and spend my money responsibly and keeping zen after the 20th tuk tuk, cyclo or moto driver in half as many minutes asks us where we are going and then starts relentlessly chirping tourist spots at us that are all within walking distance…

We’re not doing anything touristy while we are here (not on purpose any way 🙂 ). We’ve rented a great little studio apartment (thank you airbnb!). It’s the cleanest, coziest place we’ve been since I don’t know how long and we’ve quickly settled in. Today, our second full day here, I caught myself referring to it as home. 🙂

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Comfy couch and a terrace!

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View from the couch – bed, storage, kitchen

Went grocery shopping the afternoon we arrived. The sensation of holding onions in my hands, to feel which ones I wanted to take home with me, was as comforting as a hug. The kitchen is basic but I’ve packed the fridge with produce and the pantries with staples and I am in pure heaven being able to cook again! Not to mention having full control of what I’m eating and being able to eat healthy. I also signed up at a gym that first day and have been twice already. I’ve found a yoga studio that I’ll be trying out tomorrow. Bliss, bliss, bliss.

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Tonight’s dinner – organic roasted veggies with feta over fusilli

It’s also time to get organized and ready for the next big destination – mainland China. This is a big one and the more I read about it the more excited I’m getting, so I really hope that these weeks will get me fully recharged so I have fresh energy for it.

God willing I’ll also catch up on the blog! I have a lot of cooking and yoga and China research I want to do, so the Vietnam posts may end up being a bit abbreviated… We’ll see how it all comes together. 🙂

On a random side note, my fascination with different currency continues. Hong Kong bills are big and bold, involving lions and strong colors and endorsed by the likes of HSBC (the bank’s logo is actually on the notes – that’s a first for me!). The 10 dollar note really stands out though. It looks like the color palette was lifted straight from Barbie and the Rocker’s wardrobe/stage set. (realize I am dating myself.) I totally love it, but I wonder if any men ever feel emasculated when they have to use it to pay for something?

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