Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hong Kong X: The Long Journey Home

At the Hong Kong International Airport.

The airport, which we reached in record time thanks to the Airport Express, was one of the most awe-inspiring accomplishments of human ambition and technology that I think I've ever seen. One of the coolest things about Hong Kong and Taiwan, and I'm sure many other places in Asia, is that what isn't thousands of years old (and protected as a national treasure) is nearly always new, in a giant, shiny, dazzling kind of way. While many areas of the US's transportation infrastructure are aging -- due to the fact that they were built when the technology was first developed many years ago -- much of Asia is still playing "catch-up" with the Western world, so that they can take technological advancements from the West, refine and improve them, and then build things that would probably make the original engineers drop their jaws.

The architecture was stunning, and the scale of the place was simply awe-inspiring.

Still, the high-tech setting didn't prevent a variety bureaucratic snags that made our return home somewhat more interesting than expected for certain members of the group. I won't go into all the details here, but it transpired that every member of our party (except for me, Kevin, and Kevin's roommate Eric) hit some paperwork-related snag on the way home, one of which proved to be somewhat serious. By the time the survivors made it to Taipei around midnight, the mood had lightened and the proper phone calls had been made, and we were all more than ready for some sleep in A-ma's air-conditioned tatami rooms.