Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 97/98- Finally, The Final Chapter Of The Asian Chronicles!

Awaking on the last morning of a multi-month holiday, there is definitely a bittersweet feeling.  On one hand it is sad that your trip is coming to a close, but on the other, it's nice to be going home to your own bed and not having to pack and unpack every other day.

Thank God for English...cause I have no idea what that other stuff says!

Since our flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver was not scheduled to depart until around dinner time, we had a few hours to kill.  Colleen and I decided to take our hotel's complimentary shuttle into the central part of the city.  Due to the insane traffic, this relatively short trip took north of an hour, thus limiting our time to play tourists.  After strolling around the harbor for a bit, we headed to one of the nearby plentiful shopping malls to find me some pants and shoes for the flight.  Now why would I need new pants and shoes for a flight you ask?  Answer: Because I was travelling standby on Air Canada, and as the son of an employee I was required to dress somewhat nice.  Momma said flip flops, a wife beater, and surf shorts were a no go.  We figured this would be an easy task as Hong Kong is famous for its cheap shopping.  Boy were we wrong!  Every store we checked out was uber-expensive and  because of my new found "vacation belly" I could find not a pair of pants to fit me if my life depended on it.  Damn small and skinny Chinese people!  Eventually we were able to find some dress shoes, but after a solid hunt, it appeared we were striking out on the pants.  The most common size pants everywhere were 28 and 30, and all I will say is that I was nowhere near that in the waist department!  In the end I made the executive decision to just wear my jeans, which ended up being fine as they weren't overly strict on the dress code. 

Damn filthy-ass Hong Kong pigeons!

After grabbing some lunch at the Spaghetti House, Colleen and I headed back to the hotel, packed our stuff up for the last time and grabbed a cab to the airport.  Just a warning: if you don't like walking, avoid the Hong Kong airport!  It is quite simply the most massive airport in the history of airports!

We're coming home!

The twelve hour flight to Vancouver was pretty uneventful, although I did manage to catch up on some movies (Argo and Lincoln) ahead of the Oscars which were scheduled to air the next night. 

Arriving in Vancouver, Colleen and I said our goodbyes as she was catching a Greyhound bus back to Kamloops for a couple of weeks before returning to Inuvik.  I on the other hand had to get to Toronto.   There was only one problem: since I was travelling standby and all of the flights to Toronto were sold out, I was forced to catch a flight to Montreal where I would hopefully be able to connect to Toronto the next morning.  Thankfully I was able to get on a late night flight to Montreal, and would have to tough it out at the airport there until the morning flights to Toronto.  I spent the night lounging attempting to sleep in a wheelchair, which let me just say is not the most fun after you've been in transit for over thirty hours.  I was able to get on a 7am flight to Toronto and I must say I have never been happier to see my childhood bed!  After 38 hours in transit (with almost no sleep) and a couple of months away from home, it felt good to be back on Canadian soil! 

Now it was time to face the music in a couple of days and fly back to Inuvik, -40°C temperatures, no apartment, and work.  Yeah, come to think of it, I was missing Asia already!  Fuck this winter stuff!

~Brentski~    ****THE END****
Thank you to everyone who read any parts of the "Asia"  blog series.  I realize I was publishing these accounts well after the fact,  but last year was a very busy one for me so it was hard to find the time and motivation (I'm not so busy now as some of you may have heard!).  Thanks again, and stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 96- Hong Kong Disneyland: It's Like Disneyland...But In Hong Kong.

Our last full day abroad.  Single tear.  We would be flying out of Hong Kong the next afternoon, so we figured we had better make the most of our last day before returning to Canada.  There was only place that could possibly live up to our expectations for a grand finale: The Lusty Leopard Strip Club Hong Kong Disneyland!
Colleen and I's initial plan was to wake up at the crack of dawn and catch the subway down to Disneyland before all the crowds.  Instead, the both of us slept through multiple alarms and we didn't make it out of the hotel much before lunch time.  We'll just blame it on jet lag and the one hour time difference we were coming from.  The ride to the park was pretty entertaining, as Disney has their own dedicated subway line that connects up with the main lines to transport people to the park.  The subway cars are decked out with all Disney regalia including Mickey-shaped windows, "oh-shit" handles, etc.  My hairy legs also managed to severely frighten a young child, which now makes my cat Mr. Bubbles (R.I.P.) non-exclusive in the "Brent's hairy legs resemble a small Yeti and scare the shit out of me" anti-fan club. 

The Mickey Mouse subway.  Mind blown.

Colleen getting into the Minnie Mouse spirit.

As we arrived at the park, I must say I was amazed at just how many Chinese people there were.  I realize this may sound like an ignorant comment since we were in Hong Kong, but I genuinely expected there to be a greater representation of foreign interests here.  I mean, it had to be 98-99% Chinese people.  I did my best to blend in with my expensive SLR camera, but I fear it was all for naught.  After taking the requisite tourist photos outside the main gate, the wifey and I headed in to the park.

I must say I was getting quite the belly by the end of our trip.

I'll just pretend I don't know her...

Since we were at an amusement park, and let's be real Colleen and I don't need an excuse, it was a safe bet that we were going to be eating extremely shitty for the day.  We hit up a bakery for breakfast before checking out the Lion King live show.  I must say  Timon and Pumbaa never get old.  Our first official ride of the day was some new roller coaster, which miraculously we only had to wait two minutes to get on.  One thing I notice as I now enter my more senior years is that my stomach cannot handle rides like it used to.  Now I know why my parents always sent me and my siblings on the rides while they just idled nearby.  Here I was thinking they didn't love me, when all they wanted to do was not barf up a lung.  Needing a slightly tamer ride, we took Tarzan's raft to his tree house (I guess he maintains residences around the world) before venturing over to Toy Story Land.  My stomach continued to act a fool on the rides here, while I did my best to settle it down with the most revolutionary food product of all-time: a pizza cone.  I'm not sure what was better: seeing my favorite characters from twenty years ago or eating a pizza cone. 


On second thought maybe she should disown me.

It's like the year 1995 in real life!

Sorry Colleen you've been replaced.

The next stop in our attempt to see the whole park in one day was Fantasyland, where we took in a Mickey Mouse 3D show before I laid eyes on the most annoying, yet most Disney ride of all-time: It's A Small World.  I let Colleen know that we were riding those boats with tiny statue people come hell or high water, because I just really, really, really needed to hear that song.  While I attempted to soak in the leisurely boat ride, the young girl with her father sitting in front of us had other ideas and instead wanted to spend the entire ride using us as her personal English tutors.  We happily obliged her, as I am all for training the future leaders of tomorrow in the fine art of saying, "hello my name is Brent" on repeat.  We then stumbled upon the daily "Disney Parade" which we followed up with a visit to another Disney parks institution: Space Mountain.  After Colleen owned me on the Buzz Lightyear Space Shootout (my gun must have been broken, because we all know women can't shoot), we invested in a gigantic cotton candy and some other 0% nutritious shit for dinner.

That sign is the story of my life. Whaddup!

This costume has definitely been used in some fetish films.

She better share or else...
Slightly unrelated:  During a visit to the public bathroom, I had the most bizarre thirty seconds ever.  First, upon entering the facilities, I was greeted by a young girl being propped up by what I can only assume was her father over top of a urinal.  She had her legs on top of the urinal, while she leaned her back against her father in an attempt to hit the porcelain target.  While all this was going on, a young boy who had just finished taking a leak decided he didn't need to pull his pants up and just walked over to the sink and started washing his hands while his digits were hanging out.  Just a casual hand wash sans pants in a Disneyland bathroom.  Very normal! Needless to say, I quickly locked myself in a stall.

With the night winding down, we went on one last ride, the Jungle River Cruise.  I must say it was rather entertaining, as we cruised around this little body of water and random fake animals jumped out at us in the now dim evening light.  Throw in the fact that our tour guide was more animated than an Asian Steve Irwin on Prozac and you my friends have the making of the most ridiculous boat ride ever!  As the night was winding down we headed to the souvenir shops to gather up some useless crap.  All of the stores were absolutely rammed with people who were clearing the shelves off as it was Boxing Day or a going out of business sale.  When you imagine stereotypical Chinese shopping, this was is it at its finest.  Having survived the retail nightmare, we grabbed some Mickey-shaped waffles and grabbed a spot for the end of night fireworks over top of the Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty castle.  A great way to end the final night of our trip.


Our final night in Asia.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 95- So The Masseuse Touched My Twig And Berries. Did I Mention They Were A Ladyboy?

Sadly our vacation was coming to a close.  We only had one destination left, Hong Kong, where we would only be spending a couple of nights (travel dates were changed due to poor planning on our part) before flying back to Canada and the reality that awaited us there (see: work and cold weather).  On a much more awesome note, while we were in Hong Kong, Colleen and I were going to go to Disneyland the next day and behave like a couple of children!

Our flight to Hong Kong was not scheduled to leave Koh Samui until 5pm,so we had one last day in the tropical expanse known as Thailand.  After loitering in our room and its air conditioning for as long as possible, we eventually caught the shuttle bus into town where we made it our mission to spend the remaining bit of Thai currency that we had.  Being the foodies that we are, McDonald's was naturally our first stop of the day for some of that fine local fare. 

While Mickey D's is usually a pretty safe bet, the same could not be said for our second stop of the day.  Although I am not a huge man of massages, Colleen somehow convinced me that we should get one last massage before leaving the island.  And as you all know, I am a big practitioner of the "happy wife, happy life" philosophy.  So with that, we found the classiest/most reputable looking place we came across and sauntered in and signed up for some oil massages.  It was one of the bigger massage parlors in the area (do they call them parlors, or is that only for rub and tugs?) so it seemed like a safe bet.  Boy were we wrong!  Next thing I knew, Colleen and I were being led upstairs to our own private curtained-off area with our two masseuses.  There was only slight masseuse was not a chick, or even a dude for that matter: it was a ladyboy!  Kind of fitting on my last day in Thailand don't you think?  Colleen could not stop giggling, while I was not sure whether to laugh myself or run out of the building.  Never being one to want to offend people, the next thing I knew I was following the instructions of my large-handed, and we shall assume well-endowed massage expert and was stripping down to my boxers.  Mother of God.  As I laid down I tried to relax, but the truth is I could not stop laughing to myself.  Here I was 95% naked getting oiled up by someone with gender identification issues while my girlfriend was laying on a bed beside me smirking and giggling at my discomfort.  As the massage progressed, so too did the relationship between his/her hands and my body.  Next thing I knew, my upper thighs were getting oiled up and the hands were slowing getting conspicuously close to my genital region.  I'm not going to lie: there was some definite finger-to-ball grazing going on, but at this point I was in too deep (pun fully intended)!  They say massages are supposed to be a relaxing experience...I can assure you this was not!  Since I am clearly a sucker for punishment, we realized we didn't have any small bills to tip the masseuses and trying to ask someone to make change for you who doesn't speak any English is next to impossible.  So we had to go to a shop down the road to break our bill so that we could come back and tip my burly provider of pleasure.  I guess I just couldn't stay away from those magic hands!

Once we dropped the last bit of our money on some ice cream cones, we hopped in a cab to the airport for our impending flight to Hong Kong.  Koh Samui Airport is actually rated as one of the top ten airports in the world.  It has a beautiful open-air concept and is a truly "tropical" airport.  Despite its superior ranking, we were informed that our flight had been delayed.  Due to the setback, we were each given a voucher that we could use in the airport shops for either food or a massage.  I will let you guess which one Colleen and I opted for!  After killing as much time as we could we headed to the boarding gate, only to be greeted by even more delays.  Again though, the Koh Samui Airport stepped up and kept the grumpy passengers happy with free snack food and refreshments. 

Following multiple postponements, our flight did eventually depart and we touched down in Hong Kong shortly after midnight.  We grabbed a cab to the Panda Hotel (yes, that was the real name) and seemingly passed an endless supply of skyscrapers along the way.  I knew Hong Kong was densely packed, but it is truly the definition of a concrete jungle.  Since WiFi was atrociously priced at $15 a day in our hotel, we ventured out into the Hong Kong night in search of a McDonald'/free WiFi, because let's be real, everyone needs to visit McDonald's three times a day. Am I right?


The beauty that is Hong Kong.

Pack'em in as tight as you can!

Well at least there's no snow.