Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm going to the People's Republic of China this long weekend, not to be confused with the antisocial Republic of China. Here's how:

Last Wednesday, roughly 4 pm: My travel agency informs me that I can't go to Beijing because of visa vagaries. I say "fuck THIS, I'm going to Hong Kong", which is my sort of place, my sort being the kind where you can show up unannounced without a visa or the sort of planning for which I have nothing but disdain.

Friday, 3:01 pm: I email AWYHIGTC's Senior Asian Analyst Siqi ("Ten things I hate about") Zhu asking for his thoughts on a trip to Hong Kong, as well as a cross-border visit to Guangzhou, the third-largest city in China.

Friday, 4 pm: I go ahead and book a flight to Hong Kong anyway.

Friday, 10 pm: Siqi writes back. "The sheer density and cheek-by-jowlness of everything make it a fun place to walk around and explore," he says. But "Hong Kong is often known for its lack of cultural amenities."

He adds: "I don't know much about Guangzhou except for its pollution, high crime rate, and abundance of knock-off brand name fashion". I make a mental note to visit Guangzhou.

Friday, 10 pm - 12 am: I spend two hours trying to find a cheap, centrally-located hostel in Hong Kong that will let me book without paying in advance.

I just realized that Hong Kong has street names. After just six weeks in Seoul, I've forgotten that most cities have streets with names, not oddly-drawn maps and randomly-numbered lots. This is going to be very easy.

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