Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Night & Day

Watching the sun go down on the world to the rear of the plane, while we fly towards daylght ahead. Pretty amazing. Dusk is an arc of deep blue and purple curving up from the wing-tip to the tail. Below is all clouds. Germany in about five and a half hours, which according to my body clock is ninety minutes ago. Time travel can get you down.

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Leaving Hong Kong

As I write I'm in the air again, flying to Frankfurt and from there on to the UK. I've lots to say about HK, which I'll try to catch up on over the next few days. For now I'm enjoying the amazing view of the mountains of what I think is China/Nepal below me, and luxuriating in the relative quiet of my new earphones. My second set of Apple In-ear headphones died on me whilst in HK (I don't know.. I put them back in their case, I treat them gently, I only listen to nice things - let's hope Apple switch them again), so I treated myself to a pair of Etymotic Research Isolator ER6i earphones. Though the reviews on Amazon are decidedly mixed, and they don't look like the toughest things in the world, I'm finding the audio superb. The ER6i earplugs seem to fit my ears well, the bass is good but natural, the sense of space is palpable. While they don't quite drown out the low rumble of the jet engines, they block enough of the mid and high frequencies to make the flight much less unpleasant (even with the iPod turned off), reduce the required audio volume dramatically, and put the flight attendant with the annoying voice on mute (even though he's sat behind me). There's also the pleasure of pushing something really quite deep into your ear and not being told off for it, which must be worth £80 of anyone's money.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

5 days, 300 photos, and 2600 feet of escalators

That's not counting all the escalators in the MRT stations either. In fact it's just the 2600 feet of the Mid-Levels Escalators that I rode on the weekend. Moving around is quite an art form in Hong Kong, with the most efficient MRT system imaginable, trams, buses and, yes, escalators moving 6,898,686 people around a few lumps of rock hanging off the bottom of China. The next MRT you need always seems to be directly opposite the one you're disembarking, and sometimes I've had to wait as long as 60 seconds or so for the train to arrive. Everyone pays with the Octopus stored value card and there are no queues to be seen. How do they do it? More to the point, why can't we?

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

33000 feet, south of Moscow

Well the transfer at Munich was smooth but rapid, leaving no time to post anything, or even to photograph the very swish and rectilinear airport terminal. This makes up for it though - WiFi on the flight itself. 30US Dollars for broadband via satellite for the duration of the trip. How could I not try it out. I suspect I'll recall this with nostalgia one day, the way we now recall Mosaic or 14k modems. See you in HK.

New Year Adventures

2006 is barely five days old but somehow it feels much older. Perhaps it's because Christmas was a blur of various family visits, brief returns home, endless festive meals, gift-giving and glass-raising. In any case I've been back at University for only two days and I'm off on a foreign teaching trip for the first time in almost four years. In previous times it was Singapore where the department franchised various courses; now it's Hong Kong, and my first visit to the New Territories. Though I'm anticipating enjoying HK I'm far from looking forward to the long haul. My iPods are charged, and in 8 hours or so I'll be in Munich for a 12 hour Lufthansa flight; I may even post from there, WiFi willing. I'm staying at the Metropark in Causeway Bay HK (if anyone wants to hook up), and I'm expecting that the complimentary Internet access in the rooms will make my 12 nights there fairly productive in terms of online posting. Watch this space, and my Flickr photostream for updates.

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