Hong Kong V: Home Again, the Hard Way
December 20, 2001
The good news is that I’m writing to you from my computer at home sweet home. The bad news is that I’m severely jet lagged, so this e-mail may be a bit discombobulated …
Two weeks is hardly enough time to see a single country, especially one like China. Technically, I suppose Hong Kong is now a Chinese territory, but it’s about as different from Guangzhou as … well … I can’t actually think of a reasonable comparison here in the United States. A week here, a week there – just enough to get a good first taste, but not enough to adapt and really explore. Regardless, the trip was more than worth the time and money …
The adventure getting home was rather … adventurous. Poncho and I were on separate flights – they left and arrived at about the same time, so we were probably never more than 300 miles away from each other at any given time. When we arrived in Vancouver … no one was there to meet us.
Which isn’t such a terrible thing … I mean, I know Vancouver pretty well, and it WAS 9:30 in the morning … an early hour that would have required an all night drive to make. We figured we’d head to the Lion’s Pub as planned to wait things out.
At around 3 o’clock, we started to get a bit concerned. Our fears were confirmed when Nova called the pub and told me that no one was anywhere near Canada, or even on their way up there. Damn. So I called Tom – it turns out he wasn’t able to get wheels, and besides, I put the wrong number for his pager in my last e-mail. Doh.
A quick call to Amtrak sorted things out … partially. We could get as far as Seattle that night, on a train leaving Vancouver at 6:00 PM. Poncho suggested we track down Timmy, his good buddy from his days at Southern Oregon University who’s now at Evergreen in Olympia. But ol’ Timmy hadn’t been seen for a few years (he had been living in China … how ironic), so we weren’t entirely certain it would pan out.
But the phone number we had was right, and Tim was on the ball – he said he’d pick us up in Seattle, and that we could crash on his futon, no problem at all.
After arriving at the train station, we find out we’re actually going to be on a bus. I hate busses. Ugh. It’s almost amusing, though – every single time I’ve taken the “train” from Vancouver into the States, it’s always been a bus! Everyone will tell you it’s a train, until you actually arrive at the station, and they say “oops, it’s been changed into a bus.” You’d think they’d figure it out, or at least be honest with folks on the phone. Oh well. It was a ride, and I wasn’t going to complain too much.
Crossing the border while severely jet lagged, with little sleep, and after having celebrated our return to North America in a pub, was an interesting excersize. We were dirty and smelly guys with fat backpacks and we undoubtedly looked half dead or terrifyingly stoned. I think they asked me what my birthday was, and just waved me through. Eeesh.
Arriving in Seattle, Mr. Tim was happy to see us, and proceded to drag us into a little club and feed us more beer.
Coincidentally, our good buddy Chris Franz was headed down to Portland the next day, after being stranded somewhere on the Olympic Penninsula due to car troubles. To make a long story short, Poncho and I crashed out at Tim’s pad, Chris picked us up the next afternoon … and here I am, safe and sound, back at home.
And now I’m going to bed. Oi.