Saturday, October 6, 2007
I must finish up with China. I am making mistakes, posting the same pictures, writing the same narratives. I leave for Africa in one week, and I must get ready for that.
Hong Kong was an add on part of the tour, and only half of the group went. And in Hong Kong, everything fell apart. The first night there, against my will, we ate at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I did not want to eat there, but I did not want to be a spoil sport, either. The next day, half the group was sick. We were going to Macau. It would be fun. We would take the famous Star Ferry. We did not realize how difficult re-entering mainland China would be. We thought that since Hong Kong had been taken back, that is was China. But it isn't. There has been some sort of grace period to allow people to get used to things, I guess. Those from the Mainland cannot travel so easily to Hong Kong, so the border is carefully controlled. We stood in line in a hot cement bunker for hours with thousands of others, barely moving, sweating, holding place while bits and pieces of our group ran to the restroom.
Finally we were there. Macau was dreadfully hot and stale in August, and the group split up. Some went to the casinos where the air was cool and dry. I walked the tourist route, the "old" streets, and drank beer and got dizzy with heat, dehydration, and exhaustion. We walked high up a hill to a park run by old men. There was a heirarchy, it seemed, for some sat up high where it was cool, while others stayed in the lower reaches where the air was warm and not as fresh. Cheap radios played tinny popular music.
And after dropping back down the hill, my companion and I came to an old church. We walked through to the walled grave yard where a lone woman tended to the grounds. Maybe I was drunk with heat and beer and fatigue, but the old grave sites affected me terribly. Most burried there were killed by disease at an early age. Some came from England to be killed by "pirates." Those with long lives were mainly admirals and administrators. What brought these men here in the early parts of the nineteenth centurty, I wondered? It must have been horrible, yet they came to conquer for god and country.
That night we ate a tremendous restaurant, the Cafe Paris. It was a perfect bromide to what had become the usual cuisine.
The next day, I went to Kowloon and saw the markets and the porn shops. Kowloon, apparently, sells everything.
But this narrative is not interesting and I will simply quit rather than try to tell the last day with any verve. It is not possible now. I am thinking of Africa. I shall take my Imperial camera there and see what parts of the older world I can bring back. Selavy.