A Bit of Travel

On my way to Tokyo as I write this, taking a break from a lengthy client report due in a few weeks.

I’m appreciative of some things:

Economy+ (or less an exit or lesser a bulkhead seat) makes a big difference for me when on a flight longer than two hours. Detroit to Tokyo and the return make it mandatory for me.

An unoccupied middle seat is wonderful.

A friendly and smaller than me person in the aisle seat makes getting out of my window seat (needed for potential naps, elbow protection, and no cart pummeling) outright delightful.

The 747: my favorite airplane. The 787 and 380 are swell and all. For my money there is nothing like flying this beautiful double-decker. I will fly the lower and upper decks in business/first class before they’re retired.

My new travel kit bag pleases me. Tom Bihn’s customer service is matched by the quality of their products.

Audible books and podcasts on @pocketcasts make the trip entertaining and educational while I write.

Also on:

En Route to Tokyo Observations, Part II

More musings from my trip:

  • I lost a great post to WordPress web interface requiring a random re-authentication.  I need to reconfigure Emacs org-mode to get it working with the new VPS.
  • There’s a bug in Delta’s InFlight Entertainment (IFE) system I often trigger. I turn the display off during boarding since all it does is flash advertising. The IFE kicks in for the safety video, and then shuts off as it was before departure. Unfortunately, that means the IFE no longer works unless I can talk the cabin crew into a reboot, which I doubt I’d do. I miss the travel map & stats.
  • Speaking of the IFE safety video, Delta’s quality seems to drop with each iteration. This “best of, award show” version is not just bad but a clip show at that.
  • At least Richard Anderson STOPPED YELLING AT US IN HIS MONOTONE SOUTHERN ACCENT. Now a days, Mr. Anderson talks to us at a normal volume & even throws in some inflection. Nice!
  • On a big international flight light mine (MSP – NRT), don’t follow the first cattle call to the gate. Almost always they open up another lane on the other side of the desk. Get there.
  • I hate neck pillows. More specifically, I hate that people have those giant half fuzzy inner-tubes around their necks. Throw in a pair of over-the-ear headphones and eye shades also around the neck and you hit the trifecta!
  • I LOVE Internet over the ocean! Well done, GoGo!
  • There’s a woman sitting behind me who is loving the show she’s watching. I hear her laughing every 5 minutes or so.
Also on:

En Route to Tokyo Observations, Part I

Random musings and reflections and notes from my current trip to Tokyo:

  • The Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku doesn’t answer their phone. I tried calling three times to inform them of my delayed arrival. I called the Hilton Diamond Help Desk and even they couldn’t confirm the information was understood once they managed to communicate with the hotel. Apparently this location has a reputation.
  • Delta still doesn’t know how to board planes. Our flight took 40% longer to board than it should have (by my estimation). Boarding was like elderly man’s urination stream, dribbles and drabs.
  • Airbus might want to have airlines mount signs at the entry informing passengers where the row numbers are.
  • I do love the overhead bins on the Airbus A320(OW), the “turn your bag on its side” kind.
  • It’s funny that the cabin crew had to explain how the “space ship” style overhead controls work, and funny how they did it.
  • The woman sitting next to me is 5’0″ or so, yet she has an iPhone 6s Plus. She uses it like a tablet and it works well for her. I’m oddly impressed.
  • The Hootoo travel router ROCKS.
Also on:

Buenos Aires, EZE to ATL to DTW

[ed: if this is a repeat post, my apologies.]

The Aerolineas Argentinian lounge was really nice once I found it. They had snacks, drinks of various varieties, free wifi, and comfortable seats. I grabbed some sandwiches and a beer and camped out. The occupants were me and one other guy all the way at the other end of the lounge. It was 2 hours to boarding.

Just as I settle in a family from the US came in, louder than a flock of geese. The spread themselves out across seating for twice the number then proceeded to talk with each other. They’re obviously southerners, and not accustomed to the lounge scene. I snacked some more, but eventually I just packed up and left.

Yes, they were on my flight.

After buying some chocolate I headed to the gate. The area was crowded and poorly laid out. The boarding lanes were basically right up to rows of seats. There was a lot of staff there but no one seemed to run the show. They started letting some folks board before they made the boarding call. Then they did pre-boarding. Finally they did business class.

Flights originating overseas for the US requires yet another review of your papers and riffle through bags before you board the plane. As usual this is cursory and I few through.

Once on board it was clear the cabin crew was no better organized than the gate crew. They kept getting in each others way. They came around with coffee and tea before anyone had any cups, and it took that guy a few minutes to realize it. Different parts of the business class cabin got fed before others, or drinks before others, but in no rhyme nor reason I could fathom other than randomness.

I tried to give the cabin crew a box of chocolates but I couldn’t get and keep anyone’s attention long enough, so I gave up.

The plane itself was an old-style 767-300ER. The overhead bins were the old flat small kind. The seats were not lay flat. I don’t fit those seats very well when trying to sleep. It’s like I’m both too tall and not tall enough. Shen I shift to make my legs and knees have good support it hurts by back. When I shift down to help my back my feet hang over the end making them hurt. And forget about turning on your side. And it was warm in the cabin for the whole flight. Turning the air vent on did little to ameliorate.

I got maybe two hours of sleep on the plane.

The food and wine were great. I’ll do a write up and post pictures later.

A good illustration of the disorganized flight was as we were about to land. I don’t mean as they announced that we’d started our descent. I mean we were a few hundred feet off the ground and one of the cabin crew shouts, “Sir! You have to take your seat for landing!” The fellow dropped into his seat two beats before the wheels hit the tarmac.

I saw the flight attendants walk down the other isle twice, but no one walked down ours.

In ATL, the Global Entry/Global Traveler worked better than it ever has. There are 10 to 20 of the kiosks ready to go when you hit the immigration section. This was great because several other oversees flights arrive just before and just after our plane. I was through and waiting for the bags when our carrousel  kicked in.

My bag came off early, so I went to the transfer point, checked in for my flight, and tried to drop my bag where the woman told me to. Another staffer said, “You can’t do that here”. She said it while handing other peoples’ bags.

“You have to take it to the counter over there”, pointing to where I had just checked in.

The check-in kiosks are cordoned off in such a way that intuitively anyone would do the same thing I did. There was no direct path from the machine to the counter. And when I walked up no one was at the counter.

Anyway, I dropped my bag off and wandered in. I asked how to get to the new international terminal and was pointed up the escalators.

Terminal F looks nice. Nothing much was open at 6 AM yet, but I followed the signs up another escalator the the new Delta Sky Club.

This place is nice. There is a lot of room, a lot of light, and it is all brand new.

After I checked in I made my way to the showers. An agent was there to check me in to one of the rooms. She loaded me up with toothbrush and paste and mouthwash and a razor (much needed) and shaving creams and lotions and stuff. Shampoo and conditioner and body wash were waiting for me in the room, number 8.

As a note, number 7 apparently is the biggest one since it is made for handicapped use.

I took a shower, shaved, cleaned my teeth, and redressed. I felt so much better! I found a place to sit then grabbed some oatmeal and yogurt from the counter, some coffee from the machine, and a New York Times.

After that the lack of sleep started to catch up with me so I moved into the “Beats Lounge”, some co-branding thing that I think isn’t fully up and running yet. The chairs are big and recline somewhat with swivel work tables. I plugged in then took a 2 hour nap.

I woke to the sound of a loud southern woman talking. She sat with her friend just outside of my area. She talked on the phone, she talked to her friend, then the other friend, and her husband, and more on the phone.

Buenos Aires Day 5

I woke early to finish packing. The bottles of wine were my main concern as my luggage is soft sided. I debated shipping the bottles, but I think I packed them well. Everything fit in two bags still, but I used the fold-up backpack for some overflow.

Breakfast in the lounge was the same as ever.

I checked out. The concierge staff would pick up my bags from me room, so I headed downstairs. I had about an hour before the walking tour so I decided to take a different route to the meet-up.

For some bizarre reason I still cannot fathom I trusted the tourist map again. I picked the spot out for the meet-up in the lounge, but once I was on the road it wasn’t where the map said it would be. I knew where the tour was going, so I made for the first stop along the way.

I ended up walking the bits of the tour to the places I hadn’t been before. I never found the tour group but that was okay. I hoped a cab to the Cafe Tortoni, the heart of tango in BA. The place is decked out beautifully, and it is a site to see. The food and service were not so good, especially for the price. It is very touristy.

I took another taxi to the Recoleta Cemetery. I walked around the tombs for over an hour and would have stayed longer. It was overcast, windy, and cool. The effect was made more so by the surroundings. Next time I am here I will make every effort to spend more time here. There’s another cemetery that’s not so famous but is bigger that I may have to try, too.

From there it was time to start thinking about heading to the airport. I swung by the hotel for a cup of coffee and my bags. The drive to the airport was uneventful but for one thing.

The taxi drivers, men over a certain age, do the stations of the cross (am I getting that right?) every time a Catholic church was driven past or near by. The driver tot he airport was one such gentleman and he blessed himself probably six times on the way.

The airport was a bit of a mess. I couldn’t find the Delta counter, but that’s because it wasn’t there yet. A few staffers pointed me to a sign that looked somewhat Delta-ish without having the name or the logo. A woman looked me up, handed me a slip of paper (which no one wanted to look at after that), and had me stand in line.

After about 5 minutes, Delta agents showed up rolling carts. Their entire operation was contained within. Working feverishly they set up seven check-in counter stations in about 10 minutes. At first in line they took care of me quickly and I was off, bag checked only through to Atlanta as my Detroit flight was more than 6 hours after arrival in ATL.

Security, passport control, and customs were odd. The security line backed up because there were only two lanes open. Almost everyone who went through set of the metal detectors, necessitating the least impressive pat down ever.

Once through that you hit passport control. Two sets of lines to a bunch of open lanes. Sweet, I thought. But the left lane was serviced by stations 11 to 20 while the right (my line) was serviced by 2 and 6-10. When approaching it looks like the right has more lanes available. More lies!

Once I got all the way through that I had to walk about 15 minutes to terminal C to the Aerolineas Argentinian lounge.

Buenos Aires Days 0 & 1

Buenos Aires is the southernmost place I have yet been.

The journey down was great. I was late leaving the house as a conference call expected to take 15 minutes took almost 90. I dropped the kids off at their Mom’s house and headed for the airport.

Going through TSA was graced by fortuitous timing. As I was about to ask for a pat down they announced that the full body scanner needed calibration. We passed through the metal detectors, no pat down required!

I love the remodel at the #dtw @delta #skyclub. The new counters overlooking the main entry from TSA makes for good people watching.
on July 06, 2012 at 04:47PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221344648113823745

The Delta SkyClub lounge at DTW is good. I was at the big one at the middle of the terminal. The wifi was serviceable to good with the ebb and flow of travelers. I finished my workday from there. New counters installed along the glass overlooking the walkway from TSA to the terminal meant I could stand while I worked. Outlets run the length of the counters so power was no issue.

Dear @foursquare @4sqSupport I can’t log in, then can’t check in, etc. from multiple devices. “Foursquare could not connect.” Any issues?
on July 06, 2012 at 01:30PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221295022140686337

My Foursquare check-ins were spotty. They must still have had service issues.

I am at @dtw on my way to #eze. I hope the air traffic controllers there are back on the job! #vacation #theresnothinginmyhouseworthstealing
on July 06, 2012 at 01:41PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221297789685088256

I learned of the municipal works strike earlier in the day. All reports from Delta said things would proceed normally. And they did.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone in the @delta #skyclub if all the mobile devices were muted? #commoncourtesy #insidevoices
on July 06, 2012 at 01:41PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221297925676994561

Not only were peoples’ phones ringing, they were ringing LOUDLY. And everyone took their time answering or ignoring the call. One woman near me wanted to share her half of the conversation with the entire SkyClub.

Drinking a Singapore IPA by @saugatuckbrew — http://t.co/iIiW5vyA #photo
on July 06, 2012 at 01:47PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221299344815562752

They had a good beer on tap. Snack wise they don’t offer much. Crunchy things are off my menu, so I ate cheese and sucked hummus out of little cardboard tubes. Oh, and seasoned olives.

You are both on the same flight. Please stop making out like you’ll never see each other again! #dtw
on July 06, 2012 at 02:59PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221317340170690560

Public displays of affection seem to be a common theme so far on this trip. This couple were the first. Little did I know folks would be making out all over the place.

When you have an evil looking mustache maybe spending 10 minutes taking pictures in a US airport isn’t a good move. http://t.co/5HPsKDveon July 06, 2012 at 03:08PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221319848469336064

Now the red shirts are taking a picture of the mustache guy. #DTW http://t.co/zbGOYtgdon July 06, 2012 at 03:14PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221321152319066114

This fellow stood around taking pictures of the TSA area. At first I thought his mustache was Hitler-esque, but it was just run-of-the-mill evil looking. Apparently no one on staff cared. They even took pictures for him and with him! Very strange dealing, indeed.

Could be a communist cabal. #DTW http://t.co/smb0nLWKon July 06, 2012 at 03:50PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221330303338283008

I am officially off the clock! I’m on vacation time now. #dtw #skyclub @delta
on July 06, 2012 at 04:46PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221344404387016704

A sample of the people watching. http://t.co/IEqXlvL4on July 06, 2012 at 04:49PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221345199497031681

I’m not a fan I the kid leash. http://t.co/oLUIOV0Fon July 06, 2012 at 04:51PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221345688225710080

I left the lounge a few minutes early to pick up some chocolate for my flights’ crews. Over at TBTL they talked about taking chocolates to the flight crew in hopes of free alcohol. I flew first class so that wasn’t an issue. I wanted to do it anyway. I wanted to start my vacation off and share a bit of it with those who were taking me there.

Bit of a boarding snafu. I had to get my passport reviewed a third time. @delta might want to review. (@ Gate A20) http://t.co/ppY71I9Mon July 06, 2012 at 05:27PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221354661750378496

Apparently they had been paging me. One thing about the paging system at DTW – if you’re not at the gate listening it is impossible to hear. No one called to the SkyClub, either.

My complaint was that I couldn’t print the boarding pass at home. Yes, I can do the Delta app, but I like the paper as a backup. So I went to the kiosk. It verified my passport. Then at the SkyClub they verified my passport. So why was I asked for it a third time? Irritating, made more so by the general lack of organization at the gate.

If that’s the worst that happens on this trip I’ll be a happy man, indeed!

The trip is feeling real. Me = 😀
on July 06, 2012 at 05:39PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221357721071521794

The #dl2287 flight crew from #dtw to #atl is great. @delta
on July 06, 2012 at 06:35PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221371804130881538

The flight to Atlanta was nice and uneventful. Since I am on vacation I enjoyed several adult beverages on the flight. The crew appreciated the chocolate.

It seems my Russian language skills aren’t wasted in AR. They make use of a similar ‘juh’ in pronouncing things that start w/’ll’
on July 06, 2012 at 06:46PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221374587588448259

I studied up on my Spanish on the plane. The odd thing is that when I try to pull the words from my head I get the German equivalents.

On my way to #atl en route to #eze. This tweet is from 30K feet.
on July 06, 2012 at 06:48PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221375102388940802

There’s a mf-ing fly on this mf-ing plane. #themoreyouknow
on July 06, 2012 at 06:57PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221377285721292800

I’m at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (Atlanta, GA) w/ 162 others http://t.co/Ac0mzlNSon July 06, 2012 at 07:35PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221386891407278081

Unable to pull into the gate. #dl2287 #atl #DTW @Delta
on July 06, 2012 at 07:40PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221388174545522688

On my way! To Buenos Aires! Woohoo!
on July 06, 2012 at 08:36PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221402379470385153

The flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires was great. The food was great. The flight crew was top notch. The business class seats were the older ones but did lay flat. I slept after maybe enjoying one too many beverages.

When we finally reached Buenos Aires I got a little nervous as we circled three times. Ultimately it was fine and we landed.

It costs $160 US for a 10 year visa. As I sidled up to the window to pay I remembered I forgot to call the credit card company to tell them I’d be traveling. It was no issue. I converted some money at a bad rate and rented a taxi to the hotel.

I’m at Hilton Buenos Aires (Ciudad de Buenos Aires) http://t.co/9AnOOKUVon July 07, 2012 at 10:36AM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221613755593785344

The room was not only ready but I was upgraded into the executive floor. The room is nice. The room is HUGE.

I unpacked, which takes me 10 minutes if I’m lazy. Breakfast was still serving in the lounge, so I walked over. Unfortunately my phone was still on EDT. I planned on taking a walking tour, but by the time I learned the real time there was no time to get there on time.

So I wandered, lonely as a cloud.

I’m at Yacht Club Puerto Madero (Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires) [pic]: http://t.co/CVKstTYPon July 07, 2012 at 10:38AM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221614053959806979

I walked from the hotel to each end of Puerto Madero. My legs were killing me after my first journey. My bag is too heavy even when mostly empty. I love my Red Oxx, but I need to find something lighter.

The weather was sunny with temperatures in the 40s and 50s. So many folks were bundled up like it was below freezing with a massive windchill.

Midday I came back to the hotel to unload my bad and pop some aspirin. I decided to take a quick nap. By “Quick” I must have meant 3 hours. I headed out again to wander the parts of the port I hadn’t seen yet. After the public kissing, the next most common thing I saw were roller blades and skateboarders. There were a few samples of soccer, but not as many as I thought there would be.

Snack and drinks before dinner. (@ Hilton Buenos Aires Executive Lounge) [pic]: http://t.co/76JaNU6won July 07, 2012 at 05:17PM: http://twitter.com/prjorgensen/status/221714610615627778

I’m writing this from the lounge with a glass of malbec. I’m debating over a couple of restaurants for dinner that I passed earlier in the day. I’ll ask the staff for their recommendations.

So far I couldn’t ask for a better start to the trip.

Greetings from Hong Kong

Hong Kong deserves more than two days per visit. I am glad I am here for these two days to know I should stay longer. I’m writing these word as I sip a Leffe Blonde at Frites Beer. “Super” rugby and football (soccer) are on the tele. Kids run wild as parents drink and chat. American pop music plays on the PA.

I needed this rest. I’ve walked what feels like one end of the island to the other. In reality I’ve just ambled about the north end and the large shopping center by the East Hotel hunting for Dim Sum for lunch.

The dim sum place I found, called Maxim’s, had a massive wait and a huge crowd out front. The biggest advantage of traveling solo is the ease at which one can get a table at almost any restaurant. Thus after the hostess and I spoke foreign languages at each other for a while she scribbled some numbers on my table wait ticket and pointed me into the joint. I was the only westerner in the cavernous establishment. The carts of soup and sides and baskets of bundled deliciousness pushed by my table every few minutes.

I found a store, Uniqlo, that had some nice clothes, but I rank a XXL by the local standards – a size too far. While my ego isn’t keen on that as I’ve dropped a lot of weight, my shoulders and arms do not lie. I did manage to find some tee shirts the kids will love. Hong Kong has no sales tax and the cost of goods is cheap to the US dollar in my estimation, so a double bonus shopping round for me.

My hotel is new. My room, a modest number according to the website, made awesome by the corner placement. It doesn’t take much effort to see out to the harbor even though I have no direct view. Looking out over the sea of high-rise towers with their dangling drip dry clothes and precariously placed air conditioner units is amazingly hypnotizing and strangely beautiful. Care is required to avoid fixating on the A/C units’ tilt angle as my fear of heights will cause the tickle in my tummy.

Speaking of Victoria Harbor, which I wasn’t, I woke early and after a light breakfast at the hotel headed out to walk the park alongside the harbor. It was foggy, gray, overcast, drizzling, and in all other ways not the picture of a walking tour. However, the roads and paths are well-marked and clean. The weather certainly didn’t keep the locals at bay. Many teams or crew or whatever you call a gathering of T’ai Chi practitioners were practicing their T’ai Chi in various little covered enclaves and nooks throughout the entire windy green-scape.

I took many pictures and will upload them as soon as I get to a place with strong wifi. My photography was a little shaky because of the fog but also the many cups of strong black coffee I had today.

My flight over was the picture of accidental awesomeness. The plane, a Boeing 777, was only 2/3 full. Quite a few people were upgraded to first and business class. I was not one of the upgraded. My ticket fare class was too economy for such things. Since my ticket booked economy plus, basically proving a few more precious inches of leg room, it was not too much a disappointment.

Once the boarding doors closed it was no disappointment at all.

The two people booked next to me upgraded, so I had free unfettered reign over a full three seat row for the 15+ hour flight. I found a way to stay buckled and lay down for some drowsy naps on the flight. There was an inebriated southern gentleman in the row ahead, and at one point he stood up to chat with me. He, undeterred by my diligent typing on my laptop, saw no resistance to chit-chat by my ears holding my earbuds, earbuds piping podcasts into my head. Because that’s what people do, I stopped what I was doing and removed my headphones to talk. I’m not sure what we talked about. I think it was about buying fabric and North Carolina (though with his accent I would have put him in Georgia) and going to parties and jet lag.

The departure was 15:25 Thursday Eastern Time, and arrival scheduled for 20:45 Friday China Time. I strategically slept little (a lucky bout of insomnia) the night before, about 5 hours, and then did my dozes on the plane. I only had two beers (one before the flight) and two glasses of wine during the first meal, then only water. When we arrived in Hong Kong at 7:00, I was still sleepy. A longer than expected taxi ride after a longer than it should have been immigration clearing brought me to my hotel right around 21:00. Within the hour I was in bed and asleep. I woke to my alarm at 06:00 local time. I love how a small amount of planning and a bit of good luck eliminated my jet lag for this trip’s front end. We’ll see how it goes for the return.

The one thing that didn’t go well for this trip was that I didn’t realize my flight to Shanghai Sunday is earlier than the one I had asked for. Moving to a later flight would only cost over $1,000 US dollars, so I’ll head out tomorrow morning.

I took my light travel packing to a new high in low weight, practicality, and planning. It’s an 11 day trip, but 9 days when the flights factor in. I have two Land’s End blue no iron button downs, two pairs of LL Bean trousers – one khaki and the other olive, one J Crew black corduroy blazer, one black and one brown leather pair of Merrill barefoot shoes, my Col. Littleton hat, a Nike navy golf pull-over, and five sets of under garments. The joy of this is that, other than the hat and shoes and maybe the blazer, none of the rest of it needs to come back with me. The trousers still look okay in passing but are on their last legs (ha!). The shirts are okay but I don’t care for no iron shirts in general. The blazer I picked up at Salvation Army for $5, I think.

The Macbook Air, iPad2, Canon T3i, Kindle Touch, and iPhones will come back with me, but as a group are pretty light weight and easy to carry around. Add in the cables and such and the toiletry kit and I made it here in two underpacked bags. That let me bring over some Michigan treats for my coworkers in Shanghai. It also means I will have a lot of room to bring things back.

Back to Hong Kong, the sheer number of kid playgrounds and elderly exercise kiosks would put Starbucks or McDonald’s to shame. Not that there aren’t plenty of those here, too, but there is prime real estate taken up by parks and open spaces and cushioned playgrounds. They’re used, too.

There was one stop where the exercise equipment wasn’t just for the elderly. There were two Americans (by the sound of them) teaching a fitness class. Whatever they were teaching it is working. Everyone listening to them with rapt attention before eagerly implementing the softly barked instructions were fit to the point of being ripped.

As I’m typing this there is a little boy sitting at a toy piano singing “B.I.N.G.O.” as loud as he can while banging his hands on the impotent keyboard, just as happy as a clam.

Since I’m rambling on my recollections so far, I wish someone in that dim sum place had spoken some English. There was one dish I had that looked incredibly disgusting. It was, by far, the best thing I ate there.

Oh, and a note to people with braces traveling here – beware of the foul with the bones still in it. The last thing I ate at Maxim’s was chicken (I think) with the bones still in. One might be able to gnaw past the bones, but the bone shards are hard to extricate.

In my wanderings I went off of the beaten tourist path. There were a maze of twisty roads, all alike. The stalls sold everything. There were butchers, places that roasted chicken and ducks, fruit shops, spice vendors, convenience stores, hardware stores, street food vendors, appliance repair, and maybe a dozen other types of shops in 20 foot wide storefronts spilling out on the already narrow sidewalks.

One woman at a fish shop on a corner, with fish so fresh they were still flipping and flopping on their ice bed, hollered “Hello” to me and waved me over. She was trying to sell me something but kept pressing these little tasty morsels from the postage stamp of a kitchen into my hands. It was great, but once she realized I wasn’t planning on taking seafood with me back to my hotel (would people really do that other than Umberto Eco?) she focused her tractor beam elsewhere and I was free to depart.

I found the local fire engine company, ambulance dispatch, police barracks, and a number of primary schools. Most surprising about that was seeing all of these uniformed children heading off to school on a Saturday. Well, actually the most surprising part was that they were smiling.

I had planned for one aspect of Hong Kong – they drive like the Brits do, on the wrong side of the road from the wrong seat in the car. While I am not driving here I will cross the street. My attention on looking right once while crossing blinded me to the minivan coming from the left on what was in fact a two way street.

I presumed that people would walk having people pass on the right as well, but that seems to be a myth. Old women would glare at me while they continued their forward progress assuming I would move out of their way, which I did.

What else?

There is a preponderance of western coffee shops. If you’re here for a bit buying a wifi pass would be a good idea. There is wifi everywhere. Take the train instead of taxis to and from the airport. If you do take taxis go for the more expensive but faster tunnel and bridge options. You can buy umbrellas almost everywhere, so presume the weather here will be at least a bit wet and humid.