Thursday, June 26, 2008

Remember me?

Hi everyone. I know it's been AGES since I last updated. I've been fine, nothing wrong with my health, job, and I haven't been depressed or anything. Rather, I just felt I needed a break from blogging, but I'm back.

I have been checking in all my blog links, but haven't been leaving comments. That'll soon change, now that my blog funk is over. Since I last updated, I've been to Hong Kong. I figured I needed a vacation, despite the dismal US economy, and it is amazing the good deals a travel agent can find. I was able to stay at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon at a fraction of the standard rate, and enjoyed the hectic Hong Kong lifestyle for a little less than a week- great food, shopping, a trip to the New Territories, art museums, more eating, Chinese opera, even more eating/ :-) I was amazed at the energy of Hong Kong, as I haven't been there since I was kid in 1987. I also found the changes interesting, such as more immigrants from Guangzho, and the use of Mandarin seemed to be more prevalent, though of course Cantonese is still the standard. Hectic, lots of walking, very few breaks, which is how I prefer to travel. It went by so fast. In the end, I felt slightly overwhelmed by Hong Kong. Sure, I'm used to NY and Tokyo, but Hong Kong is so built up and aggressive that I couldn't help but feel claustrophobic .

More recently, I went to Osaka briefly. It was very last minute- my boss casually mentioned I had some vacation time coming, and I inquired with my amazing travel agent again, and she found another great deal. Osaka is a city I have never been to, other than Shin Osaka Station in transit on the bullet train. It is considered the business capital of Japan, and is much more hectic. While Tokyo is larger, Osakans are more aggressive and direct than Tokyoites. However, the main point of this whirlwind vacation was to see the Miho Museum, designed by IM Pei. It took a while to get to, I had to go to Kyoto, change trains, then take a bus, but it was gorgeous. Since all my Japanese friends and connections are in the Kanto area, more specifically Tokyo and Yokohama, I didn't contact any of them to say I would be in Japan, since I wouldn't have had time to see any of them. I didn't want to be rude, so I just kept it to myself. This was a 4 day trip, and went by in a blur.

Back here in NY, the malaise over the economy is palpable. Sure, NYers still go out and eat, though shopping and what not is greatly cut back by many, with the exception of the mega rich, of which there are many here. Most of the people in the luxury stores are Europeans, and have been for a while now. I can't say I blame them since they are getting a great rate, especially the Brits for whom it's practically 2:1, but I'm starting to get irritated when some of my work clients (Europeans) say things like 'I love NY now since it's so cheap'. I know what they mean, but it's sort of rude and insensitive. I feel like they should change their wording and say 'it's cheap for us'-- it is not cheap if your salary is in US dollars. But then again, Euro trash is Euro trash for a reason.

More updates soon