"Sailed not as a seaman, but as a traveler..."

"Sailed not as a seaman, but as a traveler..."- Sir Thomas More's Utopia

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If you stop dreaming, then you're just sleeping.

Image: Sai Kung Harbor - Politically part of HK, geographically part of Mainland China.

All this running around Asia has got my head spinning. People ask me if I will go home once I'm done with all this soul-searching. My usual reply is an involuntary cock of the head, facial features rearranging themselves into a confused snarl.

First of all, who said that I'm searching for my soul? Actually, I think I might have too much. So much that it drives me a little crazy. Literally. Secondly, if I were "soul-searching," why would I ever willingly stop? It's like saying that dreaming is only for sleeping. Well, I say, fuck that.

Thirdly? There's no thirdly. Just a Firstly and a secondly, but they were both doozies so I think I can get away with it. Anywho, the following is another attempt at being a writer. Enjoy!

I dwell too much in my head

So don't get offended if I seem offensive, I'm just
Searching for space between make-believe and nightmares
Searching for lonliness while engorging on emptiness
Creating faceless wraiths of shadows of inklings of people
As I sit on foreign toilets purging myself of diarrhea
Why can't creators create in the non-exotic
Stop looking for inspiration in blanched tentacles in crowded Hong Kong alleys
Sai Kung coffee shops lined with writers watching passers-by waiting for lessons
On how to be human
Singaporean bars filled with thirsty scholars guzzling down the dreams of starving artists
I walk and walk to see and see but I can't seem to make sense of it all
Why is it so hard to be natural
Forcing sagging stories into chiseled slabs of some
Hard stone quarried from some realistic setting captured by some metaphor with a moral

I sleep too little

Overflowing with ideas that never amount to much except for frustrating fits
Of insomnia
Of explanations
Of giving everything up to be someone else doing something else
All underneath the shadows of Philippine volcanoes sipping instant coffee
Blurring the lines between night and day possibly purposefully who knows
Who knew imagining could be so hard
Even in humid jungle heat
Especially in humid jungle heat
Unfamiliar mounds of earth covered with unfamiliar sounds of words I can't pronounce
Asking strangers in hostels if they can understand me when I say I'm Californian
Balinese cloves rising up in thick smoke sweetly calming bundled nerves
Trying to unravel plots that prove to be too simple or just non-existent
Like the lady bits of Thailand's lady boys

I talk to myself too much

And I call it research because well it is
To lose touch with reality to better convey reality is what we call sublime
Or at least I think it is
Think it aloud as I stroll through Portuguese Macau hunting for Europe in China
I'm too far fucked you see to make any more sense to sensible people
Mixing myth with history making men turn into trees because a limb is a limb
And I think I love puns way too much
And I worry what the critics at the New York Times will say even before I've written a single word
Because tiny island lizards make clicking sounds, chiding my too sultry nights
Filled with too much avoiding
Sitting in Semarang in the middle of mosquito swarms I wonder if dengue fever will help
Help with writer's block with vivid hallucinations
But I never get sick, just cough from diesel soot and cigarette smog
And don't you dare compare me to Eat, Pray, Love.

I want to give up too much

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Have some milk, Hong Kong style.

Image: Dun Nai (Milk Pudding) with red beans.

I excitingly pinged a good friend of mine from San Francisco the following, "I'M IN HONG KONG!!" The next thing I know is I get an email from her outlining a few of the places that I cannot miss while in HK. God, do I love having foodie friends.

Apparently, Yee Shun is an institution here in Hong Kong with several locations all over the mini-nation. The first one I tried was in Causeway Bay. Very easy to get to, just around the corner from the MTR station. Actually, there's an entrance to the MTR station a few stores down from Yee Shun. I don't remember the actual exit letter (HK MTR stations label their exits with letters for easier navigation), but this particular Yee Shun is fairly close to Times Square, so keep an eye out for that. Or, just walk around HK and you are bound to bump into a Yee Shun somewhere.

Hong Kong milk pudding is an odd, odd thing. I was expecting something more along the lines of bread pudding, or just pudding. You know, that pudding consistency as popularized by Bill Cosby. When my order came and I dipped my spoon into the bowl, which looks deceptively small, I was surprised by the gelatinous consistency. It's almost as if a flan went on a diet and had a love child with a mold of Jello, the resulting milk pudding inheriting it's parents' textures and consistency. If any of you are familiar with the Philippine dish of sweetened soft tofu, called taho, it's very similar to milk pudding in both flavor and texture.

As per my friend's suggestion, I ordered my first milk pudding with red beans. The red beans helped to cut the sweetness of the milk pudding down, helping me to better appreciate the flavors. The red beans also lent its slightly chalky texture to the dish, complementing the silkiness of the milk pudding very well.

Image: Milk pudding all gone.

All for about $25HKD, approximately $3USD, you get a big bowl of steaming milk pudding topped off with red beans and a tall glass of piping hot tea to wash it all down with. It was cold and raining when I first had Yee Shun's milk pudding. I can't think of a better way to duck out of the wet cold HK streets.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Hong Kong Love Story.

There is a market in Hong Kong dedicated to birds. Yuen Po Street Bird Market is directly west of the Mong Kok MTR station. It's very easy to get to, as the MTR signage is unbelievably detailed and clear. Even above ground, there are tons of maps clearly pointing out historical sights. However, in the event you find it difficult to locate the Bird Market, you can always go up to a local and ask. Most Honkies speak English, and even if they don't, just flap your arms and whistle, the universal pantomime for bird, and you will be sure to find the market, as well as a few new friends.

You can find any of your bird needs at the Yuen Po Street Bird Market. From beautifully handcrafted cages to exotic birds to live crickets to feed your new exotic bird in it's beautifully handcrafted cage.

Anywho, whilst rummaging through the little treasures of the Market, I bumped into these two. The following is a little flip-book-esque look into their encounter. Enjoy!

He notices her from across the cage and slowly inches toward her.
Trying to be as nonchalant as possible, of course.

They exchange a few pleasantries.
Talk about the weather, iPod playlists, and their puppies.

His heart starts to beat like a canary's.
No longer able to hold it back, he leans in for a peck.

Taken aback by his forwardness, a moment hangs between them.
Both weigh their individual pasts against their possible future.

She finally responds. Let's be lovebirds.
At least for the day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Ni Ho Ma" Hong Kong!

Image: Building photo collage.

My initial thoughts on Hong Kong? This is one big ass China Town.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suck it, Julia Roberts.

Indonesia was quite a trip. Some parts more pleasant than others. Bali, for the most part. was one big party. However, I was quite lucky to have made some friends on a chance encounter on a ferry boat, so my experience in Bali might be a little out of the norm. It's fun to luck out every now and then.

I don't think I will be going into further detail about aforementioned newfound friends because the Balinese Board of Tourism might not appreciate our activities. Also, I think my nieces might be reading this blog. Although, I will say that Bali truly is a paradise with many faces. Whatever face your paradise takes on in Bali is completely up to you.

Before I say bye bye to Bali and hello to Hong Kong, here are a few shots I took on the occasions I remembered to bring my camera. Enjoy!

Image: Temple statue covered in cobwebs, obviously.

Image: Traditional Balinese architecture.

Image: More temple statues.

Image: Batik - traditional and elaborate method for dyeing cloth using waxes.

Image: Rice fields on the face of some mountain with a name I can't pronounce.

PS - I must admit that I keep ragging on Julia Roberts even though I haven't seen the movie. I hear it's terrible. I mean, how could it not be?