Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lost in translation? Not yet.

5:10 am Tuesday. Three-hour Layover at Hong Kong airport.

We flew 10 hours overnight from Sydney to Hong Kong. Little T. slept all the way so I have no complaints. The Hong Kong airport is swank--Prada, Gucci, Tiffany swank. And landing at 4:30 am, it is deserted. Swank and deserted, not my expected first impressions of China! I am sitting across from a Starbucks which I will gladly visit when it opens. Little T. is sitting next to me in the kids' area with a huge plasma TV. It all seems very weirdly globalized/Americanized. I can only imagine that over the next week we'll be seeing the disparities between the haves and have nots played out on a grand scale.

I was sad to leave Sydney, a "great city in the middle of nowhere" as one Sydneysider described it to me. It has that Mediterranean climate, Pacific Rim culture feel to it. More Californian than European. The people were friendly though we didn't get to really talk much to the locals (with jet lag we were not up for any late-night pub crawling). The Australian accent intrigues me. On some objective level, it could be analyzed to be irritating, but as spoken, it is endearing. There is such a feeling of "no problem, mate" that is refreshing, even among the North Sydney ferry commuters in their power suits.

I still feel that I could never live in Manhattan, my husband's hometown. I don't have the right energy and I hate the Northeastern climate (I grew up in the cold, been there, done that)--but I could definitely live in Sydney. Just a thought experiment.

So in 5 hours we'll arrive in Beijing, and I have no idea what to expect. This will be an exercise in taking it all in as it comes along.


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