Thursday, August 18, 2005

His Name is Jonas

Hong Kong, China

We are sitting in the Hong Kong International Airport, waiting to board United 869 to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. It's going to feel really good to get this OC moving again.
The whole getting sick thing was a real drag. It was the first time during this trip that I seriously considered going home. I was trapped in a hotel room, feeling like shit, completely unable to explore the vibrant city around me. It was extremely frustrating.

I was actually able to do a little bit of tourism on my last full day in Hong Kong, though. I took the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak to get a bird's eye view of the towering cityscapes of Hong Kong and Kowloon, and the waterway between them. It was kind of a rainy, dreary day; not really ideal for scenic tourism. But, it felt good just to get out of the hotel. As nice as the Harbor View International House was, it was depressing sitting there every day with the same view out over the harbor; the same gigantic, flashing ING sign lulling me to sleep.
So, I braved the drizzle, increased my altitude, and took some pictures of Hong Kong. Then, the weirdest thing happened. I saw Jonas and Manuel.
We first met those kids in Moscow, waiting to start our Trans-Siberian trip. We played hacky-sack and chatted for about an hour, exchanged emails, took some pictures, then went our seperate ways (two of those pictures ended up in the Trans-Siberian photo album). They were taking the Trans-Mongolian route, turning south and ending in Beijing, and we were taking the trains due east to Vladivostok. I wasn't really expecting to see them again. But, there they were, in Hong Kong, on the top of Victoria Peak.
We exchanged open-mouthed stares and pointed at each other, and then fell into laughter. That night, the four of us went out to a Phillipino/Malaysian restaurant, had some fried pork fat and beers, and caught up on everything we had been doing for the past two months. They wowed us with stories of jeeping around the deserts of Mongolia, and we impressed them with tales of Chinese girlfriends. It felt very much liking catching up with old friends. Even though we had only met those guys for about an hour, I felt a real kinship with them. We had both just experienced the same part of the world, for similar reasons, and now we were exchanging stories over beers. Very cool.
When we first met them, they were just three days into their summer vacation. When we left them in Hong Kong, they had two days left before they were flying back home to Switzerland. It was very cool that we could bookend their trip like that. The world of the tourist is a small world indeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very neat. -- jing

8/19/2005 7:50 PM gmt

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, this is your Mom! Why didn't you call me when you were sick? All kidding aside, I hope you are feeling better and are able to enjoy yourself now. What did you have?

Steve and I are reading through yours and Mike's messages and are enjoying the commentary.

Take care!!! Love you, Mom

8/21/2005 3:50 PM gmt

Blogger jason said...

I am feeling better. I had a little relapse in Hoi Chi Minh (or should I say Saigon? Thanks Hau.), but luckily I was quick with the Zithromax, so that died down pretty quickly. I think I had some minor pneumonia that spread into the predictable sinusitus. I've been coughing and snorting out all kinds of nasties for the past couple of weeks, but I think I'm pretty much dry at this point.
Just to be sure, I'm not having any more drinkies until Thailand.

8/23/2005 10:25 AM gmt

Blogger Andrea said...

I've never been to Hong Kong (well, actually, I was there in utero but that's another story). I kind of get the impression that it's the sort of place that might be enhanced by rainly weather... Can't wait to see for myself, someday.
It's a shame that you missed out seeing much of HK because of your illness. But here's my take: at least Hong Kong is easier to re-visit later in your life. If you had gotten sick in some remote corner of Vietnam or on the boat to Antarctica, it would be tough to just swing by some other time when you're travelling...
Anyway, glad to hear you guys are feeling better.

PS Zithromax RULES

8/27/2005 1:37 PM gmt

Blogger jason said...

I don't know. The rain just made me even more depressed. I spent a lot of time sitting in that sad little room, staring out into a wet, dreary Hong Kong.
But, you're right about the HK timing. Of all the places to be sick, Hong Kong was probably the best. Their medical services and costs are hard to beat.

ps... I think I was lucky with the Zithro. Historically, it has proved to weak to kill some of my infections. Augmentin... now that's the shit.

8/30/2005 11:57 AM gmt


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