Friday, September 16, 2011

Random Observations of the Week (9/16/2011)

  • As Doug noted in an earlier post, there’s a village along with some squatter houses behind the university; they’re located up the road that runs right behind our apartment. What Doug didn’t note, though, is that most of the people who live in these houses own dogs, dogs they never leash. Every night, the dogs run around wild in a pack, barking and howling the night away. Some nights we can only hear them from far off, but on other nights, they cavort right behind our apartment, and let me tell you – it’s LOUD. One of the dogs in particular has a really high pitched whiny bark; it sounds like the pack is really going at him (although we doubt that’s the case as it happens night after night). Since the housing predates the university locating here, there’s apparently nothing the university can do, so we’ve had to employ the white nose app on our iphone at night to get a good night sleep.
  • I read Nicholas Kristoff’s column about America’s under-appreciation for our national parks on Sunday morning. I couldn’t help but have that on my mind as I headed out for my hike later that day. The trailhead at the park, which is not exactly conveniently located, was filled with people out enjoying nature. There must have been at least a dozen groups of 2-5 hikers of all ages hanging out, taking a break – probably at the turn around point of their hike. We’ve had similar experiences when we’ve been up at other times; one morning at about 8:30, we saw all sorts of people doing tai chi. Maybe it’s because of how dense Hong Kong is, but people here really seem to enjoy getting out in the great outdoors.
  • Doug and I have both been reading about China and its government. Two things that strike me: 1) the Communist party is known for recruiting the best and the brightest into the party, and 2) the Chinese government is pretty serious about doing sophisticated policy analysis and then responding to the findings of said analysis. Don’t get me wrong – there are serious issues with corruption and governance here, but at the same time, when I observe U.S. politics from far away, I can’t help but acknowledge that those are the last two things that anyone would say about our parties and government right now.
  • I miss my oven.
  • As I mentioned earlier, little old Chinese ladies can be fierce. They throw elbows, push and cut in line – I kid you not. As many of you know me can understand, this drives me crazy (particularly the cutting in line part), but what makes it even more frustrating is the fact that you can’t say anything to them as you don’t speak the language.
  • Doug and I have been doing an exercise program called Insanity. We were looking for a program that required little to no equipment and that was mostly cardio focused. As it turns out, that’s exactly what we got (thanks to a recommendation from our friends Shirley and Toby Baum). And it’s aptly named as the program is pretty insane – neither of us can do it the full way through without stopping for a break. The funny thing is that the instructor says “Yo” ALL THE TIME, so now Doug and I have taken to saying it all the time too. Since there are not many other people around us, there’s no one to drive nuts with this habit, so I’m afraid this habit may become deeply ingrained by the time we get home. Forewarned is forearmed.


  1. I am with yup, the little old ladies with the elbows would drive me insane!

    Aunt Cheryl

  2. I would miss my oven as well even though I do not use one on a regular basis. The dog barking would drive me insane!

    Aunt Trish

  3. Would it be wrong to gently return the push to the old lady and then cut back in front of her? Just curious if the Chinese are always passively accepting of this behavior or if you think you could introduce the American counter response? :)

  4. Yes, Liz, you can definitely push back. It's survival of the biggest.

  5. Wait till you get down to India!!! Indians have to be the biggest pushers and line cutters in the world. I'm not even sure that I can make the claim that they line up... its just chaotic. But Tim has an impressive ability to yell at them and push them away. =)