on the trip to to Hong Kong i enjoyed the best meal on a plane ever. i could not have eaten better at home. i flew on Dragon Airlines / Cathay. Cathay has a great reputation for service. i called ahead to request a vegetarian meal. they gave me three types as choices - Indian, Western and Asian. i chose Asian. the meal consisted of rice, mushrooms, seitan in brown sauce, brocolli and sweet potato, a warm roll and butter, a salad with shredded pickeled cabbage, beans and carrots, fresh fruits (dragon fruit, water melon), vanilla ice cream and apple juice. that's worthy of a journal entry.
when we landed and arrived at the concourse, on the tramway to the terminal building i mentioned to a beautiful blonde woman that i noticed that she was carrying her yoga mat. i told her i was also carrying mine. her face lighened into a warm smile and she looked behind my back to see where my mat was, but i mentioned it was in my bag. i explained i did ashtanga and had been practicing 8 years. she said she had just come from an ashtanga teacher training in Boracay Island. she asked me where i practiced ashtanga in Hong Kong. i explained i lived in the mainland and practiced with an authorized teacher. she asked, "authorized by Patthabi Jois"? yes, i nodded. then i went into what poses i was practicing, that many poses had been taken away. she said, "there must be a reason for that." i was a bit incredulous about the spontenaeity and the subject of the conversation with a stranger just getting off a plane. it's like those people who start talking in airports about sport teams and discuss personal things about what is hapenning with the players that season.
the interchange and following the herd mentality made me forget that one has to fill out extra paperwork everytime one enters and leaves the country. i didn't realize until i was next in line for my tet-a-tet. the guard was ready for distracted people like myself and pulled the necessary form and lent me a pen. such efficiency.
i had not been in Hong Kong in 8 months and intuitively it seemed i know where i was going with public transportation. i didn't get too lost on the way to the hotel. i'm hurrying up to write this because the internet at the hotel, while being very fast, is charged by the hour. my newphew and his wife had a baby. that makes me a grand-uncle. yikes.
i brought my yoga mat. i may practice in the room while here, doing the practice my teacher has me on currently. i don't know if i will have time to go to the Mandarin Oriental for H's class and have time to do the things i need to do while here. if i go, it would be on Wednesday. the drop in rates here are expensive. i'm not complaining, just saying.
are you still there? yes, i am, but super busy. today, for example, i can't join the meditation group. i have started organizing the photos from the recent trip. but i need to organize my room and do calculations for taxes first. i won't have time until the next holiday in the middle of june. for my friends hosted by that wordy press, i reads you, and comment, but the cat eats the comments.
a friend asked me if i had ever married. apparently he has never married, a condition he calls "forty single". when he found out my age he said, "we should call you papa." another friend chimed in and asked us if we were friends of Dorothy's because he and his best bud know her personally. i met Dorothy and there is a divorcee here who is eyeing me. but besides dancing salsa, i can do a good Mexican hat dance around these subjects. i'm doing one now. Donuts, that's about a much as i'll say about that interchange. the topic conveniently changed to the weather. i found out it's hot most of the time in Taipei and Hong Kong but there are two weeks during winter when it can be cold. cough.
i have to work all weekend again and then go to Hong Kong for three days on Monday. it would be nice (in my dreams) to have a personal assistant.
my office is near a school of music. the weather is warm. the flatmate rejected a mattress the landlord brought for her because it was used, so it occupies part of the hallway permanently until who knows when. she brought her own mattress to the apartment. it didn't fit and now the landlord does not want to buy a new one for her.
on the way back from work, while bicycling with many others in an impeccably clean street, i noticed the person next to me throw on the road the wrapper from her snack and the bag it came in. i got off my bike right in front of her and put it in my basket, then placed it in a wastebasket when i passed by one.
here is an interesting picture of a building being built.
my flatmate had an argument with the landlord. guess who won? it's best not to argue. it's a new apartment so everything is not yet fixed and set.
around the office building, people leave their bikes basically with chains tied around the wheels but not to anything in particular. that leads to the possibility of the bike being lifted and taken. i found a place i could connect it to a guardrail. if someone is going to go through the trouble of stealing my new inexpensive bike, they are going to have to work for it. they are not getting it for free. i remember how once i had a bike stolen on the second week of owning it and when i replaced it, i bought a chain rated for New York city, guaranteed to be impossible to break. it weighs 15lbs. it's in storage; there was no point in making my luggage heavier by bringing it.
the landlord came with a handyman to do some repairs and completions of unfinished work at the apartment. that it's great, but since it's close to 10pm, it made a racket that brought the neighbor to demand that they stop. i would have done the same thing. they call remodeling here "decoration". regardless of the level of noise made. even the neighbor drills through concrete or demolishes a wall with a sledgehamer making the whole building shake, it's called "decoration".
i would very much like to post my pictures from the recent trip but i haven't finished organizing my room. i also have to study Mandarin.
today i walked to the shala and practiced the full primary series. it felt great. people really breathe deeply in the group. i did not bind in supta kurmasana by myself, but it will come again. later on my friend the Olympian and his wife went with me to buy a new bike. it's the least expensive of the Giant line. it was also the lightest, which should help so that at night i can carry it up the stairs of the apartment. at the shala there is no cable at street level on which one can tie the bike, but i hear that at the office there is. hopefully the time of yoga practice is early enough and the bike will be safe enough. the bike, i think, may be designed for women, because of the height if the middle part. it also has some graphics of flowers. but my friend said it should not matter. i can view it as flower power. the bike is shown in the kitchen, but we're still settling in, so it's not ready for being photographed yet.
the group had not seen me in three weeks because i had been traveling and moving apartments. the teacher's daughter joined us yesterday and also helped in cooking a sumptuous vegetarian feast that included steamed veggie buns, string beans cooked in mushroom oil, carrots and broccoli, rice, fried taro balls filled with egg, tomato-tofu and quail egg soup, fava beans, and a tofu and spinach-like green veggie dish.
i'm having problems with my weight, so i hope the implementation of yoga this week and preparing my soups will bring my weight back in line. another challenge to the diet is that the colleagues eat out for lunch and invite me. i usually manage my weight by cooking my own meals. eating out is bad for weight management and the pocketbook.
but i digress. we spent two hours at the meditation cushion and at several intervals the teacher came and adjusted our hand mudras so that we experienced three different ones. these are yoga of the hands. when i've asked their purpose, i've been told it's the antenna to receive Buddha's message. i take it that since we're doing at least three complicated ones, the Buddha, like radio stations, must send his message in different frequencies so you have to adjust. sometimes you receive it through the classical station section, sometimes in the pop, sometimes in the rock. pop and rock, hmmm.
actually, now that i wrote that, the truth is that all i did was organize what i would need to go to the shala. it was a small exercise. i really would need to leave earlier to get a decent practice in. if i leave now i will have half an hour there.
i would like to resume posting nice pictures here and i have hundreds from the recent trip to organize, but it will need to wait until i'm more settled.
i may need to wear dark (read black) suits with a plain shirt and no ties on a routine basis now. it's a good thing you can have suits made for a song by tailors at the giant cloth market.
my dreams have been unusual. yesterday i dreamed that every mentor i've had in my field of work where all working in the same company. some construction needed to be done in their offices, so we all ended in a big conference room sitting elbow to elbow. there where a lot simultaneous meetings going on, with the din from talking being confusing. i went to my mentor Ana and asked her what task she thought i should start first. she commended me for consulting her and suggested i work with a particular team in the corner. at this group my task was to open a package and identify its contents. i opened it ad declared it to be a group of clay Christmas figurines from a nativity cresh.
i read a statistic that currently, the average citizen of a major US city causes approximately 12.5 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to be emitted each year. it made me wonder if the emissions caused by people who work in certain public occupations is greater than those of people in regular occupations. people who talk a lot come to mind.
i noticed that i'm rounding up my answer to how long i have been in China to a year and a half. it's like being asked, "how old are you?" the exact answer of a year and a quarter sounds chinsy and correctly rounding it to one year makes is sound scant. i feel like the kid who wants to say, "i'm 4 1/2 years old, but i will be 5 years old in six months."
the apartment was newly renovated and many things come from Ikea. we have a knife holder block but no knives, because the store is withholding from selling knives during Expo. that is puzzling to me, as well as to my flatmate, who is a native. we don't understand their reasoning.
i hope to resume my yoga Sunday. yoga and calorie restriction suffered with all of the traveling in the past week. my Mandarin improved since it was necessary to use for communications. i am aware that sometimes i ask my brain how to say something, and the lag of time can be 45 minutes before it starts composing the sentence, if it contains words i have not used in a while. i have to study Chinese almost daily. sometimes it feels like the retention is slow. i often ask myself what the word is for something, knowing very well that the word has been given to me before. such is learning a language.
speaking of chinglish, i enjoyed this article in the NY times on it. there is also a slide presentation in the article. personally i like the funny translations, to get a giggle and understand the way the Chinese think. my western-trained chinese friend finds it funny that a western toilet here might be labeled "special for deformed".
this reminds me of a story a Zen priest told me. she is a friend of someone in the film industry in Hollywood who every year gives her tickets to the bleachers in front of the red carpet outside the Oscars. she always goes, accompanied by her teenage daughter. being a priest living in a farm, she rarely recognizes anyone on the carpet. a few years ago, however, she recognized Lauren Hutton on the carpet and thought, "oh, here is someone i know, from MY generation." so she started screaming, "wo-hoo, Lauren, way to go!" and cheering. that drew a puzzled look in her direction from the star, a look that said, "who is this crazy person?"
we returned earlier to Beijing, so today i may go to see the Great Wall, since my return to Shanghai is not until tomorrow. i'll answer comments later on, since i have limited time on the computer. here are some pictures from Guoliang. just teasing, yes, coz these are unedited. i did a Skippety self picture, but i had the setting to microphotography, so the background is fuzzy.