Walking around in Hong Kong, you’re liable to run into someone passing out flyers. There is a standard size for flyers, and they always come in color.
If you walk around the same areas, you might start to recognize the people passing them out. There’s one guy in the Fortress Hill area who’s been doing it for at least four years. He has long hair and wears a hat. Browsing the HK job websites, I’ll occasionally see openings for this type of job. You could argue that it’s easy money, but at the same time doing it in the Hong Kong heat perhaps it’s not.
These two happen to be hot pot places. I do enjoy the food ones the most. Hope you will enjoy these too.
I couldn’t sleep tonight so I came outside to type some stuff on my laptop. Earlier, when I was waiting outside for the dog to finish his business, I looked up at the moon hanging low near the southern horizon. In the distance, I could hear a bird doing a whistling routine, a mix of chirps and whistles. For a moment, it seemed like I was in a jungle. Now, a few hours later, I can still hear the bird occasionally, but the moon is up much higher in the sky, and further west.
It’s been a while since I’ve been up at this hour. Ever since we attended a wedding in January, our sleeping schedules have reverted back to a more normal time. Prior to that, we would still be up at this time, playing Skyrim, surfing the internet, or enjoying a late meal. I haven’t thought about it, but it’s been two months since then.
When I was in bed earlier, I thought about the Right Now post from when we first started living in Hong Kong. Being outside with the moon and the chirping bird, it felt like another “right now” moment, so I got out of bed to type this. I wondered if it would be like the Coincidence post, but it’s actually a couple of weeks away before it will be exactly four years. Close enough.
When I was in bed, I listened to the bird and thought of the moon, and thought about how different the world is here compared to Hong Kong. Here, it’s actually quiet enough to hear a bird that’s chirping a couple of blocks away. The light pollution is low enough that you can look up in the sky and not only see the moon and its craters clearly, but also see the surrounding stars and planets. On many nights I’ve looked up at Orion’s Belt, amazed that I can actually see it, that the sky is so dark. Before moving to Hong Kong, I used to look up and see it too, but I never appreciated it as much as I do now.
Another thing that I appreciate more now is mortality. Tomorrow (or today), we are taking our niece to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It is one of many activities that we have been doing with our niece since moving back to America. Being around her, I am ever more aware of life being a queue: that those who come first, go first.
When I was in bed, I thought about the trip tomorrow. I thought about the car booster seat, and how to install it in my car, which led to my thinking of what I would do if the worst should occur. In a situation where I could choose between losing my own life or hers, I would choose to lose mine, because as I said above, life is a queue. I’ve lived nearly 40 years and had a pretty good life up to this point; she’s barely had 4 and still has so much to experience. As I’ve probably mentioned on here before, everyone gets a turn.
I also thought about what I would say to JC if the worst should occur and I had a last chance to say something to her. I would tell her that she is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life, that I became a different person because I met her. I would thank her for being my JC, and my partner in life. As I’ve said so many times before, life is fragile and can end at any moment. Being around my niece has only reinforced this notion. We would be wise, while we can, to tell our loved ones how we feel about them if we have not yet done so.
I’ve talked about life being a cruel joke before. Our parents dote on us, we fly away only to realize how much they mean to us, they die, and the same thing happens with our children. Yes, it seems cruel and unfair, but that’s the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do to change it. That is life, the nature of our existence. It would be better to embrace this fact, our mortality, so that we don’t take life for granted.
Tomorrow, I will forward this post to JC and let her know (again) how I feel about her. I hope you will do the same with your loved ones. Four years ago, I sat on my bed in our little flat in Hong Kong, looking out the window, sipping a Laguvulin, contemplating life. Right now, I sit at the dining table of the inlaws, savoring a Laphroaig, our family dog sleeping on a cushion with a blanket over his head, the clock ticking loudly with each passing second, the moon shining outside. Life has gone on for four years, and will keep on going. Time to go to bed. Good night.
Was sorting through some old photos when I chanced upon this one, a bowl of fishball noodles from 德昌, in our old neighborhood of North Point. I don’t exactly remember the first time we went there, but I want to say 2008. Ever since that first time, we’ve gone pretty regularly throughout the years.
Looking at this photo, I think of the soft, slippery noodles floating in the fish broth. The first sip of soup is especially satisfying after the anticipation of the meal. I like to pair it with an iced tea, either lemon or milk. If I remember correctly, this particular combo is under HKD$40, or about USD$5.00. What a deal.
I hope I get a chance to enjoy it again.
For this museum post we once again have a PDF’d version of a Hong Kong brochure, the Central and Western Heritage Trail Guide Map (33.7 MB PDF, right-click to save), given to me by a coworker. Saving a digital copy of it is the primary reason for uploading it to the museum.
A nice secondary reason is that, like the Transport Department, the Antiquities and Monuments Office doesn’t seem to have a PDF version of this guide on their website. What they do have is a nice hyperlinked guide that’s probably more current than this 2010 PDF. Still, it’s nice having an actual brochure to browse through, and I’m sure a current one is available at any LCSD location.
Walking around historical sites can be both fascinating and eerie. I imagine all these souls from a different era who are no longer with us, living their lives and going through their trials and tribulations in the ways of that time, like how we go through our own now, in the present. They probably didn’t see themselves in black and white, just like how don’t see ourselves as JPGs.
If you are a history buff then I highly recommend giving the trail a try.
As part of my continuing quest to become more agile and less bogged down by physical objects in my life, I’ve been scanning a lot of my old booklets and magazines. Clutter is reduced, and convenience is increased: a simple search on my computer brings up the PDF, which works great now that my memory is no longer what it used to be. It’s also nice being able to browse the PDF on my tablet.
I received this booklet after getting my Hong Kong driver’s license in 2014. Since my California license was current, all I had to do was pay the fee, no test required. The reason for getting the license was that I wanted to try being a bus driver, a boyhood dream of mine. Sadly, I never applied and not long after I landed the job at the big bank.
This booklet came back with us via the shipping container and the sixteen boxes we shipped back to the US inside of it. It may seem silly to ship a bunch of things thousands of miles across the Pacific only to dispose of them, but when time is short and you have no time to sort through what to keep and what to toss, it becomes worth it. The proof is in my only and finally getting to sorting the stuff and finding this booklet now, 16 months after we’ve returned from Hong Kong.
As usual, hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane. This is a special one because the HK Transport Department doesn’t have a PDF on its site, and I imagine people googling “HK Transport Department Road Users’ Code PDF” will probably end up here. The PDF is OCR’d for convenience. Happy and safe driving!
Hong Kong Road Users’ Code (May 2000).pdf (40.7 MB, right-click to save)
I had a pretty good dinner tonight. Tri-tip roasts are on sale this week at Safeway ($3.99/lb) so I got one (~3.5lbs) to roast in the oven. Minced some garlic and fresh rosemary and rubbed it all on along with some freshly cracked salt and pepper. Every 15 minutes I basted with a red wine and beef bouillon solution. Took it out of the 350°F oven after about an hour and 10 minutes, and sliced it up after letting it rest for 10.
As I like to do after a fancy dinner, I dripped myself a cup of coffee. Recently we unpacked the last of our things from Hong Kong, a box of kitchen stuff. Inside this box was the Guinness mug that came with the 4-pack I bought after we first moved into our place in Hong Kong. I had forgotten that I used to use this mug for drip coffee in Hong Kong, using whipping cream in place of half-and-half since the latter is not sold there. There was a morning in spring of 2013 when I made coffee to go along with a sandwich made with bread from our bread maker, in preparation for watching a Warriors playoff game. That was a good morning.
Since the mug got me thinking about our time in Hong Kong, I came here to see if I could jog some more memories. I decided to read the 6-Month Update, and then I saw that it was posted on August 18, 2013. So, exactly three years ago. What a coincidence.
It’s good to look back sometimes to see where you’ve been (although admittedly, I probably look back more often than “sometimes”). Three years ago, I was becoming more comfortable with myself and my way of living, becoming happier, and enjoying life more. It would seem that three years later, this is happening once again.
Four months ago, I wrote that time is the most precious resource. In exchange for having time, I chose to forgo having an income, and in turn forgoing having our own place to live. At that point it had almost been a year of staying with our parents, and now it has been more than that. In these four months, there have been good days and bad days. There has been internal struggle, and depression. There has been talk about moving back to Hong Kong because it would be easier to find a job and a place to live there (it sounds crazy, but compared with the Bay Area it’s true).
Perhaps I fell back into that chasm where all I do is worry about the future, worrying whether what I’m doing now is conducive to that future, whether what I’m doing is what I should be doing. When I’m in that chasm, I completely lose sight of the present, no matter how good it is. No, we aren’t working, yes, we’re living with our parents, but is that really so bad? We get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, staying up as late as we want. We get to eat tri-tip (when I had thought about escaping back to Hong Kong, I didn’t even think of how less frequently we had good beef over there). Other than the occasional self-inflicted kind, our present lives are stress-free.
In recent weeks is when I’ve finally started realizing all this, again. To stay in the moment, to enjoy the present that is good, to know that there is nothing to worry about. The past has shown us that we always step up and do what’s necessary when the time comes, so why not just enjoy this time that we have now? We are happy, healthy, and probably will be in the foreseeable future. I am confident that we will be able to handle whatever that future brings.