Nonsense, horsefeathers, and idle musings from a decade in South Korea (2002-2012).


16 October, 2006

Po Lin & Victoria Peak (Hong Kong)

By Aaron
16 October, 2006


Hong Kong

One thing you realize on the bus ride out to Po Lin Monastery - after you realize how half-witted it was to take the bus in the first place - is that Hong Kong and the surrounding area is a hilly fucking place. Even so, one of the city's top tourist attractions continues to be, of all things, a hill.

Incidentally, Victoria Peak - however crowded and synthetic it may be - has far more to recommend it than Po Lin. This is because Victoria Peak doesn't try to jive you by being something it ain't: it is crowded, maudlin and tacky, but it revels in it and charges you, the hapless tourist, exorbitant sums to join in.

Po Lin, by contrast, wraps itself in commercial ersatz nirvana that the marauding packs of tourists obscure in their quest to snap one more digital picture of a chanting monk before they make a dash for Hong Kong Disneyland. But if Victoria Peak offers a grand view of Hong Kong, Po Lin tries its damndest to compensate by offering the biggest Buddha statue in Hong Kong. Having seen the serene statuary fellers out at Seokguram Grotto and Beopjusa Temple in Korea last week, and now the big guy at Po Lin, I figure I've hit won some sort of Buddhist triple crown of transcendence.





15 October, 2006

Multiple Entry

By Aaron
15 October, 2006



Seoul/Incheon - Hong Kong


Amazingly enough, the immigration office at Korea's Incheon Airport is not located down the hall and past the sign that says, "Airport Immigration Office." It's actually 100 metres away under an identical sign.

I learned all this because, yet again, I was caught without a multiple entry permit on my Korean visa. You'd think I'd look into that before showing up at the airport for a departing flight, wouldn't you? But then, you'd also think that my F-2 spousal visa would include just such a green light. In both cases, however, you'd be wrong. And no, I never seem to confirm such matters in advance - making a last-minute dash for an ill-marked immigration office suits me, I guess.

Flying on the last remaining passenger aircraft still in circulation with functional ashtrays - Air India - we finally reached Hong Kong, the first stop on our honeymoon tour of Asia. At this point, I've been hurtled through one helluva culture warp: Korea in the morning, Bollywood films on the flight down here, and now nihao, noodles and neon all over the damned place in Hong Kong. I accidentally bumped into a guy on the sidewalk a few minutes ago and apologized in Korean - mian hamnida - which got a laugh out of the wife.

I need to get my countries straight here and realize that I can use English.