Vista-isation (Take 3)

On my holidays.

I got back from Hong Kong yesterday afternoon, but that’s to start at the end of the story. Let’s go back to the beginning.

My ankle (which I’d twisted rather nastily the previous day) was sufficiently usable by the following morning, although I still didn’t fancy the trip down to Maiyuan Lu to see if I could find a taxi. In fact, the taxi came to me. Well, all right, we met halfway. I was passing by the gate next to which is a large poster with the Three Represents (the wit and wisdom of the previous Emperor) on it when I saw a taxi being warmed up for the work of the day ahead. I called out to the driver who knew exactly where I wanted to go and didn’t try to take me all the way to the airport.

Actually, because of that stroke of luck, I reached the airport a lot sooner than I’d expected. When I got to check-in, everyone was checking in to the 10am flight to HK (in fact, HK was the only destination for most flights apart from a single flight to Taipei). Next to my flight it said 910 which I took to mean that I should check in at 9.10am. The numbers referred to desks 9 and 10. Doh!

In spite of serving a city of nearly six million people, Fuzhou airport is a quiet place. Our plane landed; people got off; we got on. I think one or two other planes flew out, but the place wasn’t exactly bustling.

At the entrance to the airport grounds, there was a line of peasant farmers selling melons. It was a bit sad really, because there are way too many melons and not enough customers. Also, because fruit and vegetables are sold by weight, produce tends to be chubby, which I find repellent.

Once we were away from Fuzhou, the skies cleared and the flight went quite smoothly until about 20 minutes out of HK, the right wing lurched upwards about 30° for no apparent reason. The explanation was given in Chinese, but if the word “turbulence” was used, the pilot would’ve been lying. Actually, the statement might’ve been

“This is the co-pilot speaking. I’d like to apologise for that slight bump before, but the pilot was attempting counter-revolutionary manoeuvres and has been dealt with.”

I noted that the banking was much more circumspect as we came in to land.

I should say that that’s about the end of the story. I wasn’t exactly in Hong Kong for one of those conventional holidays. My suitcase was just over 8kg when I left and almost 18kg when I returned. Yes, that’s right. I went raiding bookshops. The problem was that I was reading the books and then having to buy more.

I did go to the HK Museum of Art to see the Etruscan Exhibition, and I went out to the Heritage Museum where they had an exhibition about entertainment in HK and one that was an art gallery set in a supermarket. I took a trip in the direction of Tsuen Wan, but to be honest there isn’t a lot of interest out that way. In fact, that part of the Territory rather resembles the Mainland in the quality of the housing.

I went, sort of accidentally, to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, but I’ve now seen a live orangutan. It was rather inert, but at least some of the gibbons were a little more lively. There were also some pink flamingos, but such birds struck me as being too large to be kept in an enclosed area.

If I could’ve found somewhere to get a T-shirt printed, I would’ve got the following made

Don’t want a suit.
Don’t want a massage.
Don’t want a fake Rolex.

The weather kind of dominated the first week. Typhoon Prapiroon had skirted close by and the Observatory came in for a lot of flak afterwards because they only gave it a level 3 rating. It depended on where you were as to how bad it was, and since there was a range throughout the Territory, there was no way that one signal would’ve fitted all. When I went out to Tai Po, I could see the aftermath because quite a few of the trees there had been battered. In Kowloon, we’d had a lot of rain.

The big one was Saomai which hit Zhejiang Province and would’ve brought strong winds and heavy rain here as well. In spite of it being the most powerful typhoon to hit China in 50 years, I’ve seen little or no evi­dence here that anything happened. However, it’s much more humid here than it is in HK.

I have a few days off before I head back to Changzhou for the biennial workshop for which I received a programme today. I had hoped that the new boys, being old hands, would’ve come up with something that wasn’t just a repeat of every other workshop we’ve had, but it’s not to be. It’ll be three days of a.) being told stuff I’ve heard before and b.) being told how to do a job which I do for ten months of the year. These workshops are a gross waste of time and ought to be restricted to the newbies.

[07.08.14. Thoroughly overhauled the dreadful tagging.]

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