Hong Kong is kind of like me: a confused mixture of asian and western, with an abnormally high appreciation for good food. I met up with Michael, a friend from Tsinghua on his birthday on Wednesday, and we had a swell day. I picked up my Nepali visa (my passport is actually running out of space. Exciting). We had delicious real char siu (Cantonese BBQ pork) and lotus wrapped sticky rice parcels. Both way better than the equivalent in Minnesota. Although when I went to dim sum with my parents, the selection in HK was surprisingly almost identical to that you could get at Mandarin Kitchen, Bloomington, MN. Michael and I met up with another friend and went to the neighborhood where he lived when he was in primary school. It was fun to see his old haunts and eat noodles in his favorite noodle shop. For his birthday, we met 9 other of his Hong Kong friends and went out for dinner and karaoke. Little did I know that everyone else present was in possesion of a.) a black coat and b.) the ability to speak Cantonese. I was still a blast.
I went for a hike Tuesday morning in the mountains behind the city (did you know that 2/3 of Hong Kong is natural parkland?) with a stunning view of the skyline and harbour. I was however, so knackered that I returned to the hostel around 1:30. Yesterday was a relaxing day involving napping, reading, and (yes, I'm shameless) watching "Australia" in a nearby, revoltingly-expensive theater. Oh, Hugh Jackman.
Today, I met up with my friend Tony in his hometown Tung Chung near the airport. We took a really long and lovely cable car ride up to a touristy village with the largest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world. It was pretty cool, though apparently before the statue was built, the monestary there was very tranquil and perfect for monks to practice their religion and meditate. Now there's a Starbucks there. Nuff said. We did have a nice vegetarian lunch in the monestary with fried noodles, dim sum items, and tofu flower (called tofu brains in the mainland), a syrupy tofu pudding with a sweet ginger flavor.
Tomorrow morning, I hop a plane for Kathmandu. I will be there for three months working with an NGO called Hope and Home. They run a couple of orphanages and disabled people homes and staff them with volunteers from around the world. Supposedly, I'll be in a homestay, but I have absolutely no idea what to expect, from the city or from the work. Should be interesting.
Goodbye Hong Kong and quasi-China land.