the update that turned into a rant

quick update.. i didn't fall off the face of the earth, though it may seem that way.

finally settled into new place in sydney. internet's finally back up and all's seemingly well after the moving fiasco. off til a few days after the new year. am at the internet terminal in hong kong at the moment waiting to board my flight to taiwan in a couple of hours.

the flight here was awesome. the cabin crew was awesome. well, mainly the air steward making all the announcements. he spewed some gems such as.. "here at virgin atlantic, we employ some of the best in the field. unfortunately for you, none of them are on this flight to serve you today." or "please be careful when opening the overhead compartments. contents may have moved during the flight and may drop out to hit your neighbor on the head." the best of them was "please remain seated until the fasten seatbelt light has gone off. on today's flight, we will be needing volunteers to stay back and clean the toilets for us. we will assume that those of you who stand up are volunteering." *beam* man, i like the guy. unlike the air stewardess that greeted me at the door when i was boarding the flight. she yabbered something in cantonese, waved in the general direction of my seat... all without establishing any eye contact. i moved along and got stuck in the galley between first and business class. i was distracted by the skybar they had in the first class section and had no idea where the hell my seat was, even though i knew it was seat 20k. grr.

and this continued throughout my stay here, though it'll amount to less than 24 hours in this place. every bloody person assumes that i understand cantonese. a friend suggested that i should walk around with a taiwanese flag sticker. i like that idea. i mean, c'mon. this isn't some seedy little shop in the middle of the city. this is a place where international travellers congretate and disperse again. you can't assume that every asian face you come across automatically belongs to a brain that recognizes cantonese!

oh, poo. you've gotten me started on my rant. let's go back to when i stepped off the bridge connecting the plane to the terminal last night. first thing i saw was this guy sitting in the driver's seat of one of those little airport buggy thingies with a printed, laminated sign announcing "HK$50 RIDE TO IMMIGRATION." wtf. i was like, oh man.. welcome to china. sorry, i'm kinda biased. seriously.

and then there's what seems to be the general lack of ability to give directions. i couldn't find the shuttle bus counter to the hotel. i called up the hotel. "i know i'm supposed to go to counter A16 or B16 for the shuttle bus. i've just arrived at the airport and can't find it. can you tell me how to get to your counter?" i asked.

"you go to counter A-one-six for the shuttle bus."

"yes, i know that. i can't find it. i'm behind the information counter/screen at the arrivals hall. how do i get to your counter?"

"it's at the arrivals hall. you will see it"

"i DON'T see it. how do i get to your counter?"

"hold on a minute, please"

so she transfers me to her colleague and we repeat the same exchange again. this time, i managed to clarify that i should be able to see the counter as i come out from customs so i backtracked and finally found the dinky thing.

and then today at the airport, i approached the information counter (where they have actual people rather than a touch screen this time) to ask where i could find internet access. the guy waved in the general direction and said "there's an internet cafe at the end" gee, thanks. the "internet cafe" turned out to be this stand of 3 monitors tucked away, literally in the corner of the bloody terminal. in order to use it, you had to buy something from the coffee shop, place a deposit so they'd give you an usb mouse that you can plug in to use the computer. bloody hell. at least the mocha brownie chillino i got wasn't too bad.

anyway, i hope this isn't gonna set the tone for when lu and i begin our gallivanting around this place at the beginning of the new year. in the meantime, imma start looking for a bloody big taiwanese flag sticker to wear when i come back here.

hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. stay outta trouble, have lotsa fun and see you next year =)