We’ve been back for over a week now, and although we’re physically present our bodies still seem to think that we’re in Hong Kong. Nightly ten-plus hour sleep sessions seem to have no effect on when dizziness and fatigue set in. Around 10:00 or 11:00 AM local time, the mind starts to wander and the body grows weak anticipating bedtime. I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve flown, or maybe I’m getting older – it seems much more difficult to adjust than ever before.
Speaking of adjustments, there are a few things that I’ve adjusted to right off the bat: the weather, of course, and the air. Gone is the heat, humidity, and thick air. Even if I have to put on a jacket in the middle of a San Francisco summer, at least I’m able to take a deep breath without tasting it at the same time. On the other hand, without air conditioning everywhere, it takes longer to cool down going from outside to inside. After getting hot and sticky or sweaty from walking (or simply from forcing your body to stay awake against its will), the “talcum powder effect” that we experience in a place like Hong Kong with air conditioning everywhere is noticeably absent here, especially on a humid day like today.
Another thing that’s noticeably absent is cell-phone coverage. Having gotten used to saturation coverage in tiny Hong Kong, it can be frustrating encountering the dead spots that inevitably exist in the relative vastness of the SF Bay Area. When there is a signal, however, the connection is faster for me here than it was in HK (T-Mobile 3G vs. One2Free 3G).
Conversely, home internet speeds are a lot slower for me, going from 300 megabit fibre to 10 megabit/768 kilobit ADSL, but of course that’s just my own circumstance and not indicative of anything. Still, it’s difficult for me to even type those numbers out, the difference being so huge (especially the upload speed). My family pays more for our DSL than we paid for fibre back in HK. Again, it’s not really something that can be compared, but I like to do it anyway. 😉
Some other things: sleeping on a bigger bed, using cash instead of Octopus to pay for stuff, and the silence. That’s another really noticeable thing, the quietness of the ambient environment. The lack of double-decker buses rumbling by is probably the biggest reason. That buildings (and people) are less densely packed together is probably another. That reminds me of another difference: it’s much darker here at night than it is in Hong Kong, though daylight savings does nullify that a little bit.
As I’ve been telling everyone who asks me which place I like better, the answer is that each place has it’s own benefits and drawbacks. 各有各好. I don’t have kids, but maybe it’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite. Or perhaps, being in love with two different women. There’s just no way to choose. Maybe someday we’ll go back to Hong Kong, but we are here now and it’s time to start a new chapter. We’ll continue to ride that wave called life and see where it takes us. For now, good night, or good morning, whatever the time is.