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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I came, I ate, I ran on treadmill in hotel...

Hi friends,

I am sorry I broke my promise to you, my readers, that I would write from HK. This will be my only post from here. I hope I didn't inconvenience you too much, as I know all 25 of you really look forward to me timely cutting-edge reports on the world of running and eating. Heehee.

It has been a whirlwind tour here in formerly-Brittish HK. Five days here felt like months because it is so transporting from what I am used to in NYC. In some ways, HK is so much like NYC: the massive highrises lined up neck and neck, the hordes of busy people, the reckless taxis. But nestled uncomfortably in every spare inch of room are old-school Chinese ways and means: tiny restaurants in alleys, giant outdoor markets hawking all sorts of goods. Kind of exactly like NYC, but in a Sci-Fi parallel universe sort of way. It reminded me of the novel Cloud Atlas, although that's a bit esoteric.

Here are a few things I noticed here in HK. 1. People wear deodorant. That was great. 2. Subways are so clean you could eat off them..if it weren't for the swine flu. 3. Phones work on subways, but no one talks on them; neither on the subways or on the phones on subways. 4. Customer service is off-the-charts amazing. It makes Joe employees seem like Hell's Angels gang members. Sorry guys, you're really great. 5. People eat constantly here, but are tiny tiny. That one just hurts. 6. The city is so much more technologically advanced and organized than NY. The Octopus card can be used on every mode of transport, minus cabs, and for buying things in stores. It's more amazing than it sounds. 7. People just seem happy here..especially the ex-pats from all over who get paid well and live like kings. 8. The pasttime people love the most, besides eating, is shopping. They are mad for it and have super-sized, icy-cold luxury malls all over the city. 9. HK is an island that is mostly a small mountain, and to get up and down into different neighborhoods there is a series of outdoor escalators that go all the way up, but let people off at each street. Wild!

A few things I explored here in HK were: The Big Buddha on Lantau Island at a Buddhist monastery where we finished the tour with a vegetarian meal; a cooking class for professionals where I was the only student and learned to cook "restaurant-style Shanghai cooking", mostly by deep frying in a wok, recipes I will never attempt at home; The History Museum, which is incredible and has the only buildings (in exhibit) that look at all like "Old China"; a meal in a real HK neighborhood with Anthony's relatives where I was the only western person there - maybe ever; general walking and drifting in different neighborhood soaking up local culture, which includes mostly shopping and eating.

As for running, tempertures being in the 90s with at least 80% humidity, I used the hotel gym a few times. Tread mills aren't my favorite, but I was in a pinch. I did see quite a few runners in the heat of the day, and was surprised to find out through a friend of Anthony's who lives and runs here, that there is a pretty large running community and races all the time starting in October.

That was just a taste of what I discovered in HK. I really kind of miss my own little city-island, filthy and disorganized as it now seems, and can't wait to start running outside again, and with my wonderful little team.

See you next Saturday at Waverly!

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