Thursday, January 22, 2009
Finding Our Way
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. – Psalm 91:9-10
Three weeks in Hong Kong and no disasters yet. Just educational experiences.
Last week was a “Mom & me” week with my 15 year old son, as his school didn’t begin until this week. I don’t recommend that you try this at home.
We started the week by going to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum right here near our home, which was pretty much a disappointment… a lot of old documents behind glass. True, a few somewhat murderous looking swords and one extremely cool sculpture of a Buddha with long eyebrows down to the ground. Not sufficient for entertaining said 15 year old.
To make up for it, I told him he could choose our next excursion. I was hoping for Disneyland Hong Kong since I have never, ever, been to any Disneyland. Son pronounced this idea “gay” and we settled on Ocean Park, touted as a combination amusement park and Sea World.
Ocean Park has something like the world’s longest escalator, so that was a good start. Next we came upon this roller coaster thing where you dangle out over the ocean. I kept listening to the one thing I could understand, as we stood in a much too short line – warnings (in Chinese & English)that people with high blood pressure, heart conditions, etc. should not go on this ride. Son was making fun of me continually yet ignored my suggestion that I just watch while he rides alone. So I spent Wednesday night, all night, sleepless, trying to determine whether that tight feeling in my chest was just a residual from the ride or something I should go see a doctor about. Probably good that I had forgotten what the Hong Kong equivalent of 911 is.
I’m fine, thanks for your concern. Looking back, I think it was actually a muscle sprain from hanging on so tightly to the hand grips of the Metro on the ride home. We ended up going home during rush hour and it was madness, about a zillion black haired people squished together into the compartment.
So towards the end of the week I was going to cook this nice healthy meal, a beef stew with a minute bit of beef (meat is extremely expensive here), some spinach type stuff, carrots, onions, garlic, and I even found a can of tomato paste to add! Then I made my fatal move: I saw, I purchased, and I added a little packet of hot Sichuan powdered soup starter. Big mistake. So extremely hot, not even hot food lovin’ husband Wayne could eat more than a bowlful. So we mixed in some more water. Then a whole bunch of rice. And potatoes. Nothing helped, now we just had a LOT of leftover hot rice, potato Sichuan soup-stew.
Ok, those of you who know me know that to say I am directionally challenged is a very kind description of my utter helplessness in finding my way around new places. Or even some places I’ve been living awhile.
Here in Hong Kong I have the added hardship that there is some Chinese thing against straight lines. I think there’s a theory about evil spirits not being able to travel a straight line, so bike paths, roads, walkways all seem to wind and then take inexplicable turns at odd angles.
Then there’s the problem that when I think I can orient myself by, say, the Mc Donalds around the corner or the shop across the street, lo and behold, at the next corner there’s another McDonalds and a jewelry store, pet palace, or handbag shoppe which looks exactly the same as the last one. Each subway stop also seems to have at least two identical bakery shoppes (useful for stress snacking, but not good for finding out which way is home).
Then we have to add the confusion (to me) of traffic which uses the British pattern of driving on the left side, and the fact that the number “four” in Cantonese sounds something like the word for death, so sometimes the fourth floor is missing in buildings, and in the gigantic mall near our home there are escalators that skip floors and floors that comprise different levels.
I have to confess I do not yet know my way dependably to the nearest grocery store (Park N Shop, where you can’t actually park) even though I’ve been at this grocery store on at least 5 different occasions. I think. Then again, it may have been 5 different stores that looked the same.
So, yesterday I did my grocery shopping on-line for the first time (the only way to go, says my new Norwegian acquaintance), and I’m pleased to report it was a success, and I felt very modern and sophisticated. They really did come by in a little white truck to deliver my groceries, and delivery is free! Ok, so I accidentally only got one kiwi instead of the four I thought I ordered and I got a whole case of "beef noodles pots" (I just wanted to try out one) but I now have enough soy milk to last until summer and I didn’t have to schlep it up the hill.
Life is good! God is great! Stay tuned for upcoming reports with a slightly more spiritual bent…
love to all,