Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Buddha

Turns out, all the white people have been hiding in a neighborhood called Soho.

Just south of MTR (Subway) station; Central, on Hong Kong Island, Soho is an interesting restaurant district, and here, all the westerns are hiding. Fitting then, that my first meeting with the HK US Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) would be at a nice little Vietnamese Restaurant smack in the middle of Soho.

And please, you must excuse my ignorance, as I thought for sure, AmCham would be comprised of mainly Americans. How foolish. The opposite was true. Out of about thirty people I was introduced to only five or so other Americans. The rest were made up of Europeans and Asians.

Ultimately I really enjoyed my night. When I first arrived at about 6:45pm, I was miserably sweaty from a long walk complemented by both the HK humidity and a long sleeve shirt with tie. In retrospect, I think a trip to the restroom to catch my breath and dry my brow would have been in good taste. However, I forgot and was pulled directly into conversation with a young lady, who I came to find out, worked with Kelly Services (American recruiting company). I felt so awkward. I was dripping sweat and breathing hard as I tried to conduct myself professionally. We exchanged business cards and pleasantries and then off I was to meet the next stranger.

Remember folks! Always use two hands to give and receive a business card. If you know this and practice this, then you know of course how annoying it can be. All night long I was constantly putting down and picking up my drink. When introduced to someone new I would go scrambling to find a table so I could set my drink down. I’m sure the more experienced have learned how to integrate the two handed business card transfer into a normal conversation, but I managed to make it an event every time.

Though I don’t know if an internship or network will materialize from this experience, having the chance to express myself in a professional environment, in professional dress and in a professional manner was invaluable. I do feel empowered from the experience and still have plenty of opportunities to find a suitable internship.

The results from my ex-ray returned negative… Good right? Well the pain in my chest continued so I returned to the Doctor. We decided that a Gastroscopy was necessary. This was just a week ago. The test concluded that parts of my esophagus and stomach were soar and red from the acid reflux. However, the pain I’m having doesn’t seem proportional to the small amount of redness found and I’m beginning to think the problem has to do with my posture and sleeping situation. Recently, I added another small mattress to my bed in hopes I will sleep a bit easier. Hopefully a positive change in my health will occur.

Hong Kong, believe it or not, is home to the world’s “tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha”. Located on Lantau Island (same island as the airport), it took Christian (the German table tennis maestro) and I forty minutes by subway to arrive at the Island where we took a cable car across the island to where the Big Buddha is located. The cable car might have been the most exciting part of the whole trip. The ride gives you an amazing view of the airport and surrounding area.

Although seeing Big Buddha was nice, the chance to get out and away from the continuous noise and traffic in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island was a highlight for me. Even though crowded with international tourists, the nature around Big Buddha was still impressive. From on top of the altar where the bronze giant sits ever so still, you can see a row of small mountains stretching the horizon into the sea. When the mountains give way to smaller islands, the whole picture is pleasantly blurred by what I had made believe was beautiful low-lying clouds, but that I knew was really smog, sent from the mainland with love.

Not very interesting but still important; I did well on my mid-terms. My mandarin was the only subject I could have done better on, but that was expected.




  1. Kev, happy to hear from you. And despite the medical issue, I'm glad you're having fun too!