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hong kong

April 13, 2006

[May just pointed out that comments weren’t working. I’ve fiddled with the settings and it seems they should be now (though I now have to delete 45 spam comments a day – pshk). Sorry about that.]

[However: now I seem to be getting bombarded with comment spam. I hope whoever is responsible suffers extremely awkward social situations and serious inconveniences and setbacks almost continuously until they stop. I’ve turned up my spam filter settings again, but please do let me know if your comment gets swallowed.]

This week I am in Hong Kong. Good God, though – Hong Kong is pretty good. It’s a huge, beautiful skyscrapered city, like a condensed, livelier version of Tokyo, set on a cluster of small and pretty semi-tropical islands. It feels like an imaginary city: like someone has thrown together all these random bits and pieces of other cities and cultures to make a place that isn’t quite Chinese and isn’t quite European. “Trams? Yeah, let’s have some of those. And skyscrapers. And steeply sloping pedestrian-only streets full of cafés – yeah, like in Paris. And let’s have old nineteen-thirties-style ferries and a pristine subway system. And let’s run an 800m escalator up that hill.”

And then, you can get on a boat, and in forty minutes you’re on a lush, forest-covered island where only a few thousand people live, with a giant buddha looming out of the mist.

It surely can’t be China: in all the stations there are people protesting about [deleted]* and handing out leaflets denouncing the Chinese government. Which would get you in a lot of trouble only a few miles north of here. And yet it is…

I could live here, I think.

Only… hot! It’s only April, and it’s already like June in Okinawa. I can just about handle Okinawa’s August now, but I suspect HK might be too much for me.

The other thing I’ve done while here is buy my trans-Siberian ticket. So: I will be leaving Beijing on the 10th of May, on a direct train to Moscow. Which will mean five days on a train. Which (I realise now) will mean five days without a shower. If you happen to be in Moscow on the 15th May, avoid me.

* deleted – because it just occurred to me that it would be pretty stupid to use a word that meant this site got blocked by the various filters and prevented me accessing it once I’m back in China proper. The deleted word is the name of a religious movement that is, to say the least, not popular with the powers that be in Beijing.

posted in China2 comments

2 comments:

  1. Posted by Andrew — April 13, 2006 at 9:08 am

    You’re right to say the comments weren’t working. I just thought that my last comment must have been deleted by some clever facileness filter.

    Hmm, I need one of those babies for my mouth – to stop facile comments getting out.

    Although, I just want to be clear: it would have to be the kind of filter that destroyed the facile comment or rendered it harmless or even beneficial, like a catalytic converter maybe.

    I don’t want to have to store up the facile comments in a containment device only to have them spectacularly unleashed when some busybody bureaucrat shuts off the power.

    I want to go to Hong Kong.

  2. Posted by lva — April 13, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    Wouldn’t that be good? A discrete, wearable comment filter. I’d want one that would convert statements of the obvious into finely-honed witticisms.

    The comment filter was eating comments, for no reason I know of. I certainly didn’t tell it to. Pshk.

    I would recommend Hong Kong, though.

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