600 BALLOONS IN NEW MEXICO. JUST 3 OR 4 HERE TODAY. ROWS OF GREEN STUFF THAT EVENTUALLY TURNS INTO RED WHITE AND CHARDONNAY. SENSE OF EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR UNTIL I READ “INCLUDING DEATH” ON THE WAIVER FORM. ONCE ELEVATED SO PEACEFUL. MY BALLOONIST BUDDY HAS BEEN OUT UP UP AND AWAY A FEW TIMES SO SHE APPRECIATES THE SMOOTH LANDING. I APPRECIATE THE TECATE BCUZ I WAS A LITTLE SCARED. XIE XIE MARILYNN. ZIAJIAN
I love HONG KONG. It’s been on the radar since my paternal grandmother came to HK in 1970’s on JAL airlines where you walked on the tarmac and up the stairs. I remembered it as “the Orient”. Of course its a shoppers’ paradise with nearly endless food choices. But It is the lushness or as my travel buddy puts it “Its like I’m living in a Bonsai tree” that did it for me. I Thought HK was just about vertical monstrosities and very little room…its not. Green everwhere and although mosquitoes got the best of me I thought of pick up line for daters. “Wanna see my latest bite?” British reminders are subtle “mind the gap”. Subway transit times and stops are announced in a lovely UK voice. Local merchants start their day around 9ish. Didnt catch glimpse of Nawaz Sharif staying at same hotel x 3 days but the massive security and pop up metal detectors let me know the Prime Minister of Afghanistan was here to finalized the “Beltway initiative” or also known as the Silk Road revisited. A new friend suggested that next time I “go to Shanghai New Delhi then come here to HK” .” oh you mean to say the Orient. Sounds good to me. Ziajian.
2O HR FLIGHT FROM LAX. NIGHT AIR INDICATES AIR MUGINESS TO FOLLOW. I’M NOT THE PREPARED TRAVELER ALTHOUGH I SHOULD BE. NO SHANGRI LA SHUTTLE AS PROMISED 0100AM TAXI 280 HK DOLLARS=40.00 DOLLARS. AIN’T COMPLAINING ONLY EXPLAINING. FIRST THING I NOTICE IS THE LENGTHY HORN HONK WHICH IS NEW YORK STYLE MINUS THE FINGER. 14 TONE CANTONESE PUTS MY 7 LAYER MANDARIN TO NO USE. MA MA FU FOO. QUICKLY LEARN MONEY CONVERSION SO I CAN WHEEL AND DEAL FOR A TAILORED BLAZER. “DI TOU ZUO” REIGNS SUPREME. EVERYONE’S HEAD DOWN ON THAT DARN PHONE. ITS MOTHERS DAY SO I TOOK OUT THE SPECIAL LITTLE LADY FOR DIM SUM AND A COLA. BACK TO HOTEL BCUZ HER FOOD COMA AND BITCHIN TV FROM AROUND THE WORLD GONNA BUY ME SOME FREEDOM TO ROAM. NO HIGH PRESSURE HUSTLE FROM THE STREETS WHICH ARE ALSO SURPRISINGLY CLEAN. KOWLOON FEELS RELAXED EVEN THOUGH YOU TUBE VIDEO STATED A FORM OF RUDENESS OF THE PEOPLE BUT IT’S MORE LIKE THEY SKIP THE NICETIES. I LOOK ACROSS THE BAY AT HONG KONG ISLAND AND IT’S A SAN FRANCISCO ON STEROIDS. I PURCHASED AN OCTOPUS CARD TO GREET THE VERTICAL MADNESS. THE METRO TRANSIT R PASS. STEAMING BOILING EGGS REPLACE THE PICKLE JAR AT MANY A KIOSK. HAVENT SEEN ANY HOMELESS PEOPLE OR BEGGARS. THIS 6.5 ACRE IS DENSELY POPULATED. AN EQUIVALENT TO 3.2 MILLION PER SQUARE MILE ACCORDING GOGGLE. THIS MIGHT EXPLAIN THE LENGTHY HONKING. ZAIJIAN
The number of hours it took from Las Vegas to Azusa Calif. I’m not complaining in fact from time to time I take the Supertramp way. Flight delayed a little. Guy wth yarmulke max bet 1.oo x 5 wheel of fortune x 2 machines at McCarran, no spins or wins. Jet blue is the best, 34.00 one way and in 45 minute we hit tarmac in Long Beach. Flight attendant reminds me of Bridgette Bardot, she is both pretty and sexy. Weather is fantastic for walking to bus stop. Listening to Burt Bacharach I do leg lifts and stretching while waiting. 1.25 gets to blue line. I hop on and homeless veteran wants to talk and I get it. Turn off music and he and I engage. He says “Ya got caught in the Peruvian blizzard in the 1970’s”. I say ” Dig that movie ‘Blow’ with Johhny Depp. I ask him if VA hospital stuff gotten better “ya it has”. Amen. Heres his stop. Two sheriffs hop on and I feel tax dollars at work. Guy gets on and its likely he is on drugs but coming down so sherrif #1 gives him fist pump and I think of Erik Estrada. Passenger entrepreneurship living large. One selling chips, chargers and CD’s while walking aisle. I pass thru several cities and note the following: I’m No longer bothered by graffiti, one mattress so far and new housing in Compton. Subtle art work everywhere. Hills green with solar making a comeback. Warmth of sun thru glass feels especially nice because it a hug from God. Filming in LA I look quickly for movie star but no luck. Hop on Gold line and admire two pretty face asian girls wearing lanyard “class of 2020” but they look so much younger. I think of those twins from Godzuki and Godzilla movies. They are darling as they giggle and cover their mouth with their hands only to hide perfect smiles. Tats and piercings on rugged men ending their shift. I stare and trace with my eyes the lines leading to the biceps….Nice. Farmer’s market in south Pasadena on Thurs. Afternoon. Door opens at stop and wafting garlic aromas wander in. Tiny houses and trifecta Virgin Mary postcards tape to windows as if to say “Bless this Mess”. Everyone on the phone in low head position, guilty as charged. Frequent eye contact and smiles are effective in lifting my spirits from recent news of Jay poker old man at Orleans who went to the big table in the sky. My stop and brief walk I notice confetti of pedals from white rose bush is simply beautiful. Pass a bar “Nah I dont really drink” and see my reflection in large pane glass. I say shoulders back and stomach in. Greeted by four legged family member and I’m done 420 minutes. Ziajian.
Aside from its massiveness there are interesting and evocative works of art to admire on this vessel. Some of the interior cabins have a virtual window which is nearly flawless in providing a mental nudge for those who rely on their circadian clock. I heard at least nine languages spoken, Deutsche, Spanish Portuguese and French to name a few. An ice skating rink. And giant slides which were both wet and dry. The mid section of the ship is a large open space and I felt like I was at a mall. My first cruise I had a tiny porthole and had to un-latch my sleeping cot in a 4 cot cabin but the feeling of bliss and peace is still the same. Balmy quiet nights and endless ocean makes me feel humble and small. Ziajian.
The national north American curling championships is held in Las Vegas. Cars with Manitoba license plates and other provinces all here to see that large stone object slide on a sheet of ice. They came maple leafed covered in bright jerseys and ready to party, not really. I’m not surprised since I’ve heard they are the gentle giant of the north. I hit up my friend who is a cocktail waitress there ” How’s the tips?” Canadians generally don’t tip. She says they do and they’re mostly drinking coffee and water. Although I know very little about curling I imagine it to be exciting and relaxing at the same time. Remarkably the noise level was about the same as a regular day at Orleans which is amazing due to the volume of people. A whole arena and yet sound wise you could not tell there were at least 10,000 people or more. Mike Myers, Pam Anderson, Michael J. Fox and Justin Beiber are Canadian and I’m wiling to bet they’re good at curling the Iron. Ziajian