November 12th, 2005

Today was a pretty awesome day. Glenn, Tyler, and I woke up at 6am to watch the sunrise as we pulled into Hong Kong. The sunrise wasn’t too exciting but whatever…we were almost in Hong Kong! Pulling into the city was breathtaking. There were massive buildings on either side of us and random residential complexes all over the place. It’s hard to explain but it was amazing. We went and grabbed a quick breakfast and then headed back up to the 7th deck to watch us actually pull into the port. After that I took a looong shower and then just bummed around until my City Orientation. The good thing about the City Orientation was that we got to get off the ship first and got priority to get our passports and all that. I was really skeptical about this trip because I’d heard such bad things about City Orientations. It actually turned out to be a pretty good trip. We got on the bus and met our tour guide Andy. First we drove up to Victoria Peak, walked around a bit and ate our boxed lunches (cheese sandwich with ketchup anyone? ew well at least vegetarians get an extra packet of Oreos and an extra granny smith apple!). The view from the peak was gorgeous and we lucked out because it was a really clear day (minus the smog). We took the Peak Tram down which was SO much fun and much steeper than I thought it would be. It seriously felt like we were going down at a 45 degree angle and super fast at that! We walked through Hong Kong Park ( I think) after that and then went on to see the HSBC building. Andy told us that the building was constructed such that you could physically take it apart and move it elsewhere. I don’t know if this is true but why would he lie? He also explained about the building next to it being hated by most people in Hong Kong because it messes up the Feng Shui of the city! It’s actually a really cool building because it looks different from each angle. Ok so next we went to St.John’s cathedral which was pretty much smack dab in the middle of the city. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside because there was a wedding going on but we did get a picture of the bride and groom about to walk down the aisle! haha We saw a LOT of wedding parties that day…I guess it was a good day for weddings. Next we went to the Man Mo Daoist temple and Cat Street market. After that we went to the Aberdeen area and took a sampan ride past the “Jumbo” floating restaurant and HUGE government high rise residence buildings. While we were driving back to the ship we passed this crazy looking cemetery that was crowded with tombstones crammed in every imaginable space. Andy told us that after 7 years the body is removed and then cremated because they rotate the spaces in the cemetery. How crazy is that!

Ok so we got back to the ship and then me, Carri, Natalie, Lindsay, Drea, Kevin, and Al decided to go up to the peak again to see the view at night. We took the ferry over to Hong Kong Island, the Peak Tram over to the lower tram station and then waited in line FOREVER to take the tram up. It was a lot of fun though. We walked around for some time and then found a place to eat dinner. I had some excellent vegetable curry and rice (just like the kind I’d been craving since Japan so I was excited) and then we headed back down. Ok so after I got back from dinner I was planning on going to bed but that didn’t happen. I saw Glenn and Mischa and they were trying to convince me to come out with them but I passed. I saw Angelo and we decided to walk around for a bit. Yeah a bit turned into about 3 hours…it was soo much fun though. This city is beautiful at night…everything is lighted up and there are people everywhere. I felt really safe walking around everywhere (well that might have had something to do with the fact I was with a guy). First we walked to the waterfront and sat there for awhile and then we just ended up wandering around aimlessly. We went to a random arcade and played a racing game and Street Fighter and then we spent about 30 minutes at 7-11 just walking around and marveling at all the amazing things they had. I bought cheese fondue flavored chips which were relalllly good and actually tasted like good cheese fondue. Oh Dad guess what? They had those digestive biscuits!! I was so excited. They even had chocolate flavored ones! I didn’t buy them because I can get them at home but I was trying to tell Angelo how good they were and all he could do was laugh.(Thank goodness on the last day Aparna validated my digestive biscuit craving because her and Mara were equally as excited to see them at Marks and Spencer) Oh we were trying to find the Teddy Bear Kingdom but to no avail. We walked into the Intercontinental hotel and tried to find a rear exit but they led us out the same way we came. haha it was funny “i say what i say and i mean what i mean” and ” you know how elevators go up and down…”. fun night but i am so exhausted. goood night

November 13th, 2005

Today was a pretty chill day. I slept in until 10:00am and then walked around for a few hours by myself which was nice. I did a little bit of shopping and then came back to the ship for lunch to save some money because Hong Kong is a fairly expensive city. Actually, it’s just expensive compared to the places we’ve been, it’s pretty comparable to prices in the US which seem exorbitant to us now. I saw a movie today called All About Love, a Chinese movie that luckily had both Cantonese and English subtitles. I missed the beginning because my watch stopped and I didn’t realize it so I was a little confused about the story…From what I could tell it was about two couples and one of the wives died and donated her heart to the other one. It was well-done though. After movie I met up with Glenn, David, Ian, Haley, and Kelly. So I just met Ian, Haley, and Kelly tonight for the first time on this voyage.haha it’s so funny that we’re still meeting new people and the trip is almost over. It makes me so sad though because there’s some people who I wish I had met earlier because they are such great people. Take Ian for example, he lives down the hall from me and I guess we just never crossed paths or friend circles. It’s unfortunate. Arite anyways, we took the ferry over to Hong Kong island and then walked over to the Mid Levels escalators which is basically a series of flat escalators ( like they have in airports) that goes up the city. We ate dinner at Pizza Express which is a UK chain that has franchises worldwide but not in the US. It was pretty good. After dinner we walked to Lan Kwai Fong which is the club/bar district of the city. We went to a hookah bar that I initially didn’t want to go to because all I could think of was Prince Cafe and how smoky it was inside. This place, however, wasn’t enclosed so all the smoke went right outside. It was actually a pretty nice place and we had a fun time.

November 14th, 2005

Early morning today. I went on Prof. Michalak’s Religions of Hong Kong FDP. First we went to the 10,000 Buddhas Temple which was built in 1957. We climbed 250 steps to get to the temple at the top of the mountain and all along the way there were these really interesting statues of Buddha’s followers. Some of them were kind of humorous actually. The location was actually really interesting because at the top it was so quiet and peaceful and then as soon as we got to the foot of the mountain we were back in the city! Oh yeah, we also tried to follow a trail but ended up at this little house at the top. I guess it didn’t help that the signs were Chinese characters! The next place we went was St.John’s Cathedral- the same one I went to on the City Orientation. This time, however, we could go inside and Father Matthew (the pastor) talked to us and answered our questions for about an hour so that was great. The cathedral was built in 1847 and is the 2nd oldest building in Hong Kong. It started as a church for the British community but it expanded and has quite a large parish today. They appointed their first Chinese Dean in May. After the cathedral we drove to the Islamic Center and Mosque on Nathan Road. The imam spoke to us about the Muslim community in Hong Kong and how they cater to all different types of people. They gave us dates and cashews on our way out as a kind of prasad I guess? You know what, I think this is the first mosque I’ve been to? Maybe not…but I can’t remember any others. Anyways, we got back earlier than planned so that was good.

I really wanted to take a nap but me, Kristin, Fred, Sufen, and Jeff went to California Pizza Kitchen instead. That’s right- the same one as in the US. I had a Wild Mushroom pizza that was delicious. haha I didn’t even feel bad about going to a US franchise in another country….oh well! We got back to the ship and hung out for a little while before heading out again to Temple St. I took the MTR (subway) for the first time and I was amazed at how easy it was to use, not to mention efficient! We only had to go one stop and I guess we could have walked it but I’m glad we took the MTR. We went to Temple St. and walked around the night market for awhile. We all really wanted bubble tea so we went in search for that and ended up at the Chung Kee Dessert place. We weren’t even hungry but all the desserts looked sooo good! We got 4 things and shared. Let’s see if I can remember what they were: (I’m looking at my pics) rambutan covered pineapple in sweet milk, fruits and jelly with takmaria (what is that in English? all i could think of was frog’s eggs), more fruits with sweetened silky tofu, and these hot glutinous rice balls filled with black sesame, red bean paste, and something yellow in a sweet hot ginger soup. Oh my goodness it was sooo good. We walked around for a while after that just wandering and talking. I had just met Sufen and Jeff at dinner earlier so we had a lot of “getting to know you” to get out of the way. Fred I had met through ambassador stuff but we had never really hung out so that was fun. We walked back to the ship because it wasn’t far at all.We came back to the ship after that and I found Brandon and Fred so we went down to use the Internet. We were sitting down there for about an hour until the security guard came and told us that they were closing. I thought I wasn’t tired so we started watching the Last Samurai in my room because neither of the boys had seen it and it’s probably one of my favorite movies. I fell asleep within an hour but they stayed up and watched it…it didn’t end until 5am! I didn’t even hear them leave my room. haha

November 15th, 2005

Another early day today. I had my Lantau Island trip today. I actually knew a lot of people on this trip but Fernanda and I hung out all day which was SO much fun. She said something on the bus that stuck in my mind- ” Nothing ever worked out as planned but everything worked out.” After she said that we both just looked at each other and realized that it was basically SAS summed up in a sentence. No matter what expectations you started out with you were always surprised, horrified, dissapointed, etc. at what you experienced. No matter how much you planned for something it always ended up as something different. Ok anyways, the first thing we saw was a huge suspension bridge. It was raining and early in the morning so I wasn’t paying too much attention to the guide- sorry! Next we went to the Upper Cheung Sha Beach and stuck our feet in the South China Sea! The beach was gorgeous because of the mountainous backdrop and actually the rain and mist made everything look kind of ethereal. Next we went to the Tai O fishing village on Lantau Island which was interesting to see because all the houses were built on stilts and their whole style of living was so different. After that we went to see the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world. It was massive and location was perfect. Again, the fog and mist made everything look more heavenly and sobering. We walked around for a bit and then headed down the steps to the Po Lin Monastery for lunch. A purely vegetarian lunch I might add! Lunch was fun because we played this game of morality kind of. Brandon told this long story about a set of characters and then at the end we had to rank them in terms of righteousness. It made for good conversation and discussion. After lunch we just walked around for a little bit. We were standing in front of the temple and Chris the photographer asked us to light some incense because he needed a picture. In the process of doing so I burned my finger a little bit…haha oh well! I wanted a picture of me, Tal, and Brandon so I asked someone to take it. We were standing there and all of a sudden one of the adult passengers says ” wow this looks like a Benneton ad!” (Tal is Israeli and shaved her head on Neptune Day, Brandon is black and I’m brown lol) She said all we needed was a blond, white girl and it would be perfect. haha We headed back to the ship after that and we were SO exhausted but Fern and I stayed awake the whole bus ride back and just talked and talked about the trip and what it would be like to go home. I don’t even want to think about it right now!

As soon as I got back I found Aparna and we decided to do make a quick shopping trip to Temple St. It was actually a very successful trip. We had dinner on the ship and then me, Glenn, Jess, Sarah, Mariko, and Akina (the two Japanese interport students) headed up to the peak to see the city at night. We wandered around there for a little bit and then for some strange reason we got ice cream. It was FREEZING cold outside and yet I still felt like eating green tea ice cream. We took the tram down and walked to Lan Kwai Fong. I floated between The Cavern where there was an AWESOME Filipino group doing covers of popular songs and the C club where they were playing salsa. It was fun but I wasn’t in a dancing mood so I just socialized and people-watched. We headed back around 3am and hung out at the 7-11 near the ship for about half an hour. I finally made it back to the ship around 4am and went to sleep. Excellent last night in Hong Kong. I kind of don’t want people to come back so soon. Glenn and I were talking about how much we enjoy the ship being quiet. For the past 4 days there have only been about 80 kids on the ship. Everyone else went to Beijing or mainland China.

November 16th, 2005

Happy Birthday Sanket!!! SOOOO sorry i didn’t have a card for you. 😦 I don’t know why. sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry! hope you had an awesome birthday! did you get all my IM’s?

So I’m sitting at the Pacific Coffee Company with my Rocky Road Chillino waiting for Jarrett to finish using the internet so we can walk back to the ship (because this is his only day in HK so he definitely won’t be able to find his way back by himself!) I was going to try to tap into the free wireless hotspot downstairs but I’m too lazy to walk all the way back there and then back here again. haha anyways, even though I’ve slept on the ship every night I still didn’t find time to journal! I’m bad. Guess I’ll just have to backtrack again. Bad habit I’ve picked up, isn’t it? I’ll start with today. I woke up at 8:00am, grabbed a quick breakfast and met Andrew, Kristin, and Angelo in Purser’s. We walked over the the Space Museum only to find that it didn’t open until 1pm (oh yeah, museums are free on Wednesdays that’s why we went today)! The art museum opened at 10am so we hung around there until then. The art museum was actually really nice but you know how I feel about art. I can appreciate it but I can’t analyze it and I won’t lie…I have no appreciation for abstract art. (Interjection- we are docked right in a HUGE shopping mall, the biggest one i’ve ever seen in my life, and overnight it transformed into Winter Wonderland so now all I hear is Christmas music and it’s driving me crazy! happy crazy though because I LOVE Christmastime) Ok so we spent about an hour and a half in the art museum and then headed back towards the ship to meet Glenn. We used the internet for a while (Chamz thanks sooo much for calling my mom even though it was 11:30 at night…) and then went to see the Kilimanjaro Omnimax show at the Space Museum. It wasn’t at all what i expected but it was really interesting. It was more like a planetarium type theater instead of the big IMAX screen and it was about an expedition up to the summit of Mt.Kilimanjaro. Did you know it only takes a week to do it? I REALLY want to do it now. You know what I was thinking. How awesome would that be for a honeymoon. Take your wedding party and go on a trek up to the top of Mt.Kilimanjaro! Ok so we walked around the museum for awhile after that but we weren’t in “museum mode” anymore so Glenn and I went back to the ship to drop our stuff off. I gave Glenn my laptop to use and then I went off wandering. I walked around, bought some more gifts and then headed back. It’s so funny how many Indian people there are here. On EVERY street corner there are at least 1 or 2 sketchy Indian guys who give you their business cards and advertise either tailors, fake purses, or fake watches. It’s inevitable and irritating. They stare at me like I’m some spectacle and make lewd comments. Ugh. I got sick of walking down Nathan Road because that’s where a lot of them are so I walked along some more peaceful side streets.I met Glenn at Starbucks and we got fries from McDonald’s and then headed back to the ship again. We dropped our stuff and then went to the grocery store. Did I mention that I love grocery stores? I bough curry chips, seaweed crackers, some other kind of chips, sugar cane juice, crysantheum tea, jasmine tea, peach green tea, lychee juice boxes, but I did give in and buy white cheddar Cheez-it’s. Oh well! I ate almost half a box yesterday…aah! (the word corpulent comes to mind- it’s a word I haven’t used in AGES). Yeah so Glenn and I walked back to the ship only to find that the first of the Beijing trips had come back so we had to wait in line with everyone and their multiple bags. After getting on the ship I talked to Jarrett for some time and then we decided to venture out again to use the Internet. I came back to the ship around 7:30 to charge my video camera for the light show at 8pm. I went downstairs to Chad and AJ’s room to visit them because they had dock time- their room is GINORMOUS! (gigantic +enormous). They each have their own sepearte room with two twin beds and a closet in each. It’s crazy. Yeah so we went up on the 7th deck because it was the best vantage point for the light show. Every night at 8pm there is a 15 minute display from the buildings on the skyline. It’s pretty cool. There weren’t as many people up on deck as I thought there would be but that’s because ALL flights from Beijing were delayed a couple hours so all the trips were late getting back. We watched the show and the I went back inside and was just talking to random people as they were getting back. I ended up hanging out with Alberto which was cool because we had always done the “hi-bye” thing but never actually talked. We hung out in his room for awhile and laughed at people who were standing in the loooong line to get back on the ship. All of the Beijing trips came back on the SAME flight so the line was ridiculously long. For some reason my fatigue transformed into extreme hyperness and I was bouncing allll over the place. I meant to use my energy to clean up our room but that didn’t really work out too well. ehh yeah so I finally went to sleep around 1am.

November 17th, 2005

So I forgot to mention that last night the Voice came on and said that we were heading into some bad weather and she advised us to secure all of our stuff and even rope the TV off in case it fell down. Luckily, our room is in the center of the ship and doesn’t rock as much as everyone elses. I didn’t believe her when she said we were heading into bad weather but when I was woken up in the middle of the night by the intense rocking of the ship I wish I had taken her words to heart. This is the first rocky day we’ve had in awhile so my body is definitely not used to it and I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrendous. I had an 8am today and I couldn’t concentrate at ALL. I don’t know how I got through it. We watched a clip from Michael Pallin’s journey around the Pacific Rim (Dad- remember the Around the World in 80 days series on PBS? same guy!! i completely forgot about him but I think maybe that’s what sparked my interest in traveling sooo long ago) and it was really hard to watch the screen while the ship was rocking but somehow I got through it. Now Global Studies on the other hand…I sat in the Union for about 30 seconds before I had to run out. The Union is the worst possible place to sit because it’s at the front of the ship and rocks the most. I tried to sit at the piano bar with Jarrett but that didn’t last long either. Finally they made the announcement that since the waves were so bad they were going to broadcast Global Studies on TV so people could sit in their rooms and watch. I went down after awhile and tried to watch but I just ended up falling asleep. Oops. I slept till about 12 and then Jess and I went up to lunch. Of course it was Taco Day. I hope my food doesn’t come up later! I went back down to my room and tried to do work but I just felt too nauseous to concentrate. Ugh. I slept for awhile longer and finally decided that if I stayed in my room I wouldn’t get ANYTHING done so I brought my laptop up to the piano bar and now I am trying to finish my journal before film class. I don’t know how I am going to get through today. I do know, however, that I am NOT going to eat dinner. I’m just going to drink a lot of water and hot tea and hope that settles my stomach. I think I’m going to buy some ginger ale in Japan. So today I have class till 7pm, then Emanuel’s community college “what is your purpose in life”, Bering Sea social, salsa, and then SO MANY PAPERS TO WRITE. AAAH!

Wow. I think today has been the worst in terms of rocking. I have been feeling absolutely disgusting all day and I’ve done everything except take medicine which I refuse to do. I have my wristbands on and I finally put the transdermal patch on behind my ear. The patch actually does help A LOT but it gives you cotton mouth. I guess it’s good because it makes me drink more water. So film class was reallly hard to sit through. We watched The Story of the Weeping Camel which was actually pretty good but I was so out of it so I fell asleep for a little while and the rest of the time I couldn’t concentrate. It is also really rocky in that room because it’s near the front of the ship so my stomach was going crazy. We had dinner afterwards and all I could stomach were a few rolls, a plum, and some hot tea. I seriously feel like I’m pregnant because even looking at or smelling food makes me sick to my stomach. Thank goodness the rolls today were nice and soft because they constituted the bulk of my dinner. After dinner I went down to my room to lie down and Ammo came by to visit. We watched Aft Bullets (Miami Vice does SAS…directed by students) on TV which was entertaining I guess. I took a quick shower, got dressed for the social and went to community college. It was actually really interesting to listen to what the panel was saying but the rocking was terrible and Glenn kept laughing at me because my eyes were going in and out of focus and I think I looked drunk. I left a little bit early because I honestly thought I was going to throw up. It’s worse to feel nauseous and then not even throw up. What’s the point of nausea then? ugh. I haven’t thrown up once on this voyage (knock on wood) but I’ve felt nauseous so many times- it’s kind of frustrating. Ok so anyways, I came back to my room to lie down and the spray from the waves was hitting our window (4th floor mind you) full force. I don’t know what made me even get up and go to the social because I was feeling so disgusting but I’m glad I did. Our sea social was up in the Staffulty lounge and it was actually a lot of fun. The staffulty lounge is probably the rockiest place on the ship because it’s right at the front and all the way on top. Dancing tonight was ridiculous. Ben and I started it off ( I was feeling better by then because the patch started kicking in) the dancing and somehow got everyone to join in. Ben, Moriah, and I danced the WHOLE time and kept the party going…lol. We did the electric slide to Ice Ice Baby ( really- you can do the electric slide to any song) and all sorts of crazy things. Moriah and I did our Shine and then part of our talent show dance. Oh yeah there was one HUGE wave that made the whole ship shake and made this huge booming sound. Guess what happened to me? I fell flat on my rear end. It was kind of a graceful fall…but humorous I guess. There were only like 5 people on the dance floor and everyone else was sitting around WATCHING so I made a fool out of myself ( wait- isn’t that what I was doing all night?). Oh well! The last song of the night was Allan’s song…it almost made me cry. Our Sea Social ended at 11pm and Moriah and I went downstairs to make some paper cranes. We were siting there for awhile just talking and then we had the bright idea to go out on the 5th floor deck to see the waves. It was intense. Don’t worry it wasn’t dangerous because we weren’t out there for long and the waves weren’t that crazy at the time. Yeah so now I am more than exhausted, nauseous, and this ship is rocking like whoa. Good times on the high seas.

November 18th, 2005

I thought I could sleep in today and watch Global Studies from my room but at 9:15 the Voice came on and said that the captain was steering us around the worst waves so they wouldn’t be broadcasting it into the cabins. Ugh. So I rushed to get ready and ran upstairs to a satellite room. My stomach still feels uneasy but definitely better than yesterday. It was so hard sleeping last night…the waves were SO loud and sometimes I felt like I was about to fall out of my bed. Definitely don’t have my sea legs back yet. I think it’s because we haven’t been at sea for too many days lately because all of our ports have been so close together we’re doing one or two days at sea and then there’s another port. Thank Goodness tomorrow is a NO CLASS day. I kind of wish the first day after port was a no class day because we really need that day to recuperate.

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