Monday, December 05, 2005

Sister Cities and Jet Lag

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Well, I’m back home in Houston again, which means, besides the jet lag and the future shock of credit card bills, I can sit at my desk, and in between attempts to regain control of my e-mail and deadlines, reflect on the similarities between Houston and Hong Kong.

Houston and Hong Kong could be sister cities, if they had the mind to make the connection. First off, there is the fact that many Hong Kongese now live here in H-town, and there are more than a couple Houstonians who have taken up residence in the Big Lychee. Also, there are other obvious similarities which make the cities very much like each other; friendly people, all kinds of cultures represented in the town, many malls and businesses, some top-rate medical and scientific facilities, and a lot of truly excellent restaurants. Two things Cantonese cooking and Texas cuisine have in common is a rich and wide use of sauces, as well as large portions. It’s also worth noting that Hong Kong is part of the South portion of Asia, Canton province which has always maintained a special identity within China, and Houston is located in Texas, which is, well, Texas.

The weather is even the same, slightly humid but generally warm, with rain coming in from the coast. There is a lot of fishing, for business and sport, in both towns. And just as there are many people in Houston who speak Cantonese, there are many in Hong Kong who speak perfect English, which allows to them to generally understand Americans.

There are also differences, of course. Hong Kong’s public transportation actually works, includes a subway, and unlike Houston’s Light Rail is on-time, under-budget and generally does not hit passenger vehicles. Personal firearms are generally unknown to the civilian population in Hong Kong, as is gangsta rap. On the other hand, Hong Kong has a lot of Gambling businesses, and in places looks a lot like Atlantic City. Hong Kong also has parts of town which are basically controlled by Organized Crime; the OCTB stays much more busy than HPD’s Gang Unit, and hopefully Houston can keep it that way. And of course, trying to use Hong Kong dollars in Houston is a futile effort, but American dollars are readily accepted in many Hong Kong businesses. And finally, Hong Kong pays little attention to sports, unless there is gambling involved, while in Houston it is generally foolish to bet on the local team these days.

Did I mention how long it takes to get back on a regular sleep cycle after spending time in Hong Kong? The sun is up, but I’m dead tired. If you see snoring in the text later this week, you’ll know I’m still not all the way back.

San Tan Far Luck!

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