Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lost in Translation: Shenzhen, China: 10 Days With My Cousin Traveling Through Macau, Hong Kong and China.

Jessica and I officially arrived in China, where we would come across new places, new faces, frustrating situations, and have conversations in which we . . . well, hadn't the slightest idea of what was being said. This is "Lost in Translation: China." And let the new adventures . . . BEGIN!

China: A country with over 1.4 billion people. It was a number I once found difficult to comprehend; however, after using the country's subway, it's quite clear how large this number really is. Crystal clear.

Jessica misplaced the piece of paper she had written our hostel information onto. She really got pissed off and upset with herself. Needless to say, she fell into another depression. Since we had no clue as to where we were or where to go, we decided to go to a McDonald's to regroup and rehydrate. You can always count on a good 'ol McDonald's to be nearby, even in China.

"Ba da baba ba, I'm lovin' it!"

While Jessica went to purchase a snack and few bottle waters, I asked 4 people (1 Frenchman, 1 middle-aged white guy, and 2 Chinese women) if they knew where we could find an inexpensive place to sleep. The Frenchman spoke poor English and couldn't explain to me well enough to write good directions; the middle-aged white guy ( I don't know where he was from) didn't know; and the 2 Chinese women didn't speak English. Oy vey . . .

As I was asking for directions from the Frenchman, Jessica walked over and interrupted us. "Never again, while we are in China, will we go to another McDonald's!" She looked extremely annoyed as she handed me my water. "How ya doing?!" she hollered to the guy I was speaking to, before turning around and walking away. There was a brief awkward moment of silence between me and the Frenchman. " . . . Okay then, " I said, smiling, "As you were saying. Sorry."

Since we didn't have any luck obtaining information about hotels, we began to walk and hope that we'd stumble across something - which we eventually did. The receptionist of the hotel didn't speak English, but it just so happened that one of the guests who was checking in, did. After negotiating a reasonable price through our newly found translator, we took the room. It was a large room with 2 beds, a television, air-con and a bathroom. The bathroom had a large clear sliding door, creating an atmosphere of 'openness' in which Jess and I, however, were not opened to. Seriously, no privacy. It was a simple fix, though. We placed our towels on the coat rack and placed it in front of the bathroom, then made the other person who wasn't using the bathroom sit on the bed on the opposite side of the room. Like I said. A simple fix.

Our room also provided an assortment of sexual condiments, such as vibrating condoms, lotions and creams, and a compressed towel. I mean, I sooo would have been irate if our room lacked a compressed towel. That just wouldn't have been acceptable. There would have been hell, I tell ya.

Later we would discover that our room also provided us with roaches. They were cute roaches compared to the ones Jessica is used to in New Orleans, but that didn't keep her from freaking out. "I don't have a problem roughing it," Jessica said, "But when it comes to roaches? I just can't deal with that."

We eventually left the confinements of our hotel in search of some botanical gardens that Jessica had read about. Unfortunately, no one in the city of Shenzhen had ever heard of such gardens. We did eventually find someone who knew about the botanical gardens and where it was located. I think Jessica was happier to discover that she wasn't crazy, that she really HAD read about the gardens and that it truly did exist, more so than that we'd just been provided with directions to the gardens. In the end, however, we decided not to go because it was getting late. We ended up walking and exploring the city by foot. It's the best to see a new place, in my opinion.

Shenzhen was absent of tourists. And for good reason. It was an overpopulated dirty, smelly city. The smell of vomit and piss seemed to linger everywhere. After we saw another person throw up we seriously began to think there was some sort of epidemic going on. "Okay, I don't think I'll be having any street food here," Jessica said.

And if it wasn't the vomit we were worried about stepping on, it was the spit and large loogies. Yes, the Chinese appeared to have an obsessive compulsion to spit everywhere, and all the time. It's really gross. We did find, however, another area in Shenzhen that was cleaner, more developed, and upscale. Not upscale enough though to find people NOT spitting. You can pretty much count on them doing that everywhere. It's a spitting everywhere, all the time extravaganza in China. Yummy.

We discovered that there was a movie theater in one of the malls, and as we were walking toward it, a bunch of little girls who were selling something came running and hollering towards us. After we politely gestured to them that we didn't want to buy anything, they jumped and clung onto our legs, not letting go.

"What the hell?"' I said. "I can't get this girl off of me. She has a kung-fu grip!"

We both began laughing as we continued to walk towards the mall with the little Chinese girls clamped onto our legs. I didn't think we were ever going to get them off of us until this elderly Chinese man approached us and began yelling at them. I have no idea what-in-God's-name he said to them, but it sure as heck did the trick, and they immediately removed their devilish paws. When the Chinese speak it sounds as if they are angry, but they're not (I think), it's just what their language sounds like. So just imagine what this guy sounded like as he REALLY was pissed off, and yelling.

Before we went back to the hotel we stopped at a local Internet cafe. This Internet cafe was unlike any cafe I've been to during my travels. First of all, it was huge. And I think Jess and I took the last 2 available computers. So, yeah, it was very busy. Busy enough that there was actually an usher who would find and escort you to a vacant computer. Smoking was allowed, too, which I wasn't too fond of. But here's the real kicker: before we could access a computer we had to give a large deposit (I don't get the deposit policy in China), a copy of our passport, and a picture of us had to be taken by the receptionist. Whoa! Talk about paranoia. What the hell did they think we were going to do to take such precautionary actions? Good Lord. I made sure to avoid any websites that could have been used against me to say that I was a spy or something, because I'm sure that everything I was doing was being monitored. Jeez.

We were definitely not in Kansas anymore. Oh, China . . .

Next Stop: Shanghai, China


Monday, August 30, 2010

Lost in Translation: Hong Kong 2 of 2: 10 Days With My Cousin Traveling Through Macau, Hong Kong & China.

The next morning Jessica and I checked out of our hostel and got a room in the Chungking Mansions. Dean had recommended a hotel called The Himalaya located on the 7th floor within the Mansions. This place was much cheaper than our ridiculously overpriced hostel, Yes Inn. But it was also a dump. It had 2 beds in a room the size of my closet and no windows. But hey, it's just a place to sleep, right? So yeah, the room sufficed.

After we got settled into our room we went downstairs and found an Internet cafe so I could call my mother through Skype and see if any progress had been made with my ATM debit card. My mother said that she'd spoken with someone at the bank and that it should work. So Jess and I left and began searching for an ATM. Once we found one I paused, took a deep breath and went in. Jessica stood beside me for moral support as I placed my card into the machine.

"And here . . . we . . . GO!"

I heard an unfamiliar sound after I entered the amount of money I requested to be withdrawn. "Is that the sound of money being collected?" I rhetorically asked aloud, with a hint of optimism within the tone of my voice. And sure enough a wad of cash was dispensed. "Yeah! WooHoo!" the both of us shouted, startling the elderly Asian man adjacent to us. "Oops. Sorry," we laughingly said. "Sorry."

Okay, so that only took 3 months to sort out. Geez. What a piece of mind, though. Thank you again, mother! You're the greatest personal administrative assistant that anyone could ask for. But seriously. You're awesome.

So with enough money in my pocket to last me a few weeks, we caught a bus heading towards Victoria's Peak, a scenic view point overlooking Hong Kong's marvelous metropolis. And it really was marvelous. We got lucky as I've often heard that, due to the weather, there's typically zero visibility. We waited a few hours for the sunset, too. Hong Kong has one of the most stunning skylines that I've seen. It was definitely one of the highlights of my travels.

Afterwards we went back to the Mansions, walked around town and saw one of the lamest markets that I've ever seen. Let's just make one thing clear: I'm not the biggest fan of markets. I'm always told that I should check out the local market in every new city I travel to.

"Check out the market."
"See the MARKET."

But it always disappointingly turns out to be exactly what they said it would be: a measly market. All a market is, essentially, is a roofless grocery/department store. And in all honesty your local store back home has more to offer, and more variety. Okay, okay. So some of the markets sell distinctively 'local' crafts; however, there isn't any innovation and everyone ends up selling the same product. Boring.

After the market and its inevitable let down, we made our way to Hong Kong's bar scene to get a taste of its night life. By the looks of it this was the place to be (for westerners), as the streets were flooded with a sea of white people. Jess and I slowly walked around, scoping the scene before buying a few beers from 7-11 and finding a few vacant steps to sit on off the side of the street before we began people watching.

"Is this it?" Jessica voiced, as we watched another drunken Asian woman with her westerner boyfriend walk past us. It was quite evident that the young Asian woman wasn't accustomed to drinking this much. "Is this all Hong Kong has to offer?" Jessica continued. "Am I missing something?" I knew what she was saying, because I was thinking the same thing. Macau and Hong Kong lack that certain vibe in which Southeast Asian countries certainly have.

Once we left and arrived at the subway station we disappointingly discovered that we had missed the last subway back. Ugh! This triggered Jessica to fall into a depression. "It's all my fault. I'm sorry!" she continued to apologize. She thought the last train didn't leave for another half hour. Oh, well. Honest mistake. So we walked around the corner to see if there were any night buses that we could catch back. Initially it appeared that there wasn't; however, after questioning enough people until we found a few that spoke relatively understandable English, we discovered that there was indeed a bus that we could take across the harbor, and from there, we would have to take a taxi. Nice! Thank the Lord we didn't have to take a taxi back because we were extremely far away, and my wallet would've been hurtin'.

Once we made it across the bridge we both estimated that, according to our map, we were close enough to walk the rest of the way, opting out of a taxi. And we were. Sweet! Walking back at night to the Mansions is something that I wouldn't let Jessica, or any woman I know for that matter, do alone. There's just too many dodgy looking people and monkey business going around outside, e.g., crooked looking Indians and Africans, and heaps of prostitution.

The next morning we slept in as our room didn't have any windows, making it difficult to determine what time it was. Next we went downstairs to the smallest Internet cafe in the world where we booked a hostel for the first 2 nights in Shanghai. Jessica also wrote down the address of a hostel in Shenzhen as we would be crossing over into China in a few hours. Ah, yes, China. I couldn't wait.

At the subway station as were about to board the train to China, I suddenly remembered that I'd forgotten my camera charger back at the Mansions. Ahhh! I had to go back - and fast. I had to get there before it was stolen and would have to buy it back from one of those dodgy cats working downstairs in the Mansions. I left my rucksack with Jessica and took off . . .

Word of advice: If you look occupied or in a hurry the touts at the Mansions will NOT bother you. Shocking. Positively shocking.

Finding myself out of breath and gasping for air, I managed to get back to the Mansions quite quickly. The door was locked at the hotel, so I frantically began knocking. When the man opened the door and saw it was me, he smiled, reached into the top drawer of his desk and pulled out my charger. Phew! What a relief. I was now officially ready for China.

Next: Shenzhen, China


Lost in Translation, Hong Kong 1 of 2: 10 Days With My Cousin Traveling Through Macau, Hong Kong & China.


It took an hour to reach Hong Kong via ferry. After the ferry safely docked into Hong Kong's harbor we immediately began searching for a hostel called Yes Inn which came highly recommended by Sara. Jessica and I found the subway system in Hong Kong to be surprisingly complicated. The signs were not well marked or posted, making it difficult to know what direction we needed to go, what subway line to take, just . . . everything. We couldn't for the life of us understand why Hong Kong made the subway or everything else for that matter so confusing. Jessica and I frequently repeated, "Why, Hong Kong? Why?!" throughout our travels here, particularly when we found ourselves frustrated.

We got off at Central Station thinking that's where we needed to go. Wrong. Only after using the free Internet service, located in Central Station where we checked the address of the hostel, did we discover that we needed to get off at Fortress Hill Station. We eventually found this godforsaken hostel located inside some residential building. We hadn't made a reservation so we were relieved when the receptionist said that there were beds available. Phew!

"And with the service fee, the total of your bill is . . ."

I stopped listening after I heard the words 'service fee'. A service fee? That's not so hot. I wasn't happy about this, to say the least. I mean why would they charge us a service fee to use THEIR business. This got my blood boiling. And it didn't help that it had been a long day and that the both of us were hungry and tired. "Why, Hong Kong? Why?!"

After we put away our luggage in our dormitory - we also had difficulty finding this too, as it was located on the other side of the building where we had to use another elevator - we went back to the main communal area where I attempted to do some research about what to see and do while in Hong Kong. The receptionist was of little help, if any. She couldn't give me any helpful suggestions. Zippo. Then I began speaking with the girl sitting next to me. She said she was from Quebec and that she'd been here for about 5 days. "Oh, Canadian," I said, just being friendly. "Nice."

"French Canadian," she quickly interjected. Oooh, French Canadian. Sorry. I wouldn't want to confuse you with the 'other' type of Canadians. Sheesh. Anyways, since she said she'd been here for a few days I asked her if she could recommend anything to do. Um, yeah. She couldn't tell me anything. Seriously? Nothing? Does ANYONE know ANYTHING around here? "Why, Hong Kong? Why?!"

I eventually had my first and only meal of the day at some Chinese fast food restaurant located across the street from our hostel. It was cheap for Hong Kong's standards, but it was definitely more expensive than I was accustomed to spending for a measly meal. Nor was it as good. Afterwards we had dessert at some bakery, and it was gross - really gross. I quickly began missing Southeast Asia. It had been a long, tiresome day. So we went back to our dormitory and went to sleep. Eh . . .

We woke up early the next morning and went to Kowloon to purchase train tickets to Shanghai. We approached the ticket office praying that there would be availability for any of the dates that we wanted. "Sorry," the lady at the ticket office said, "But the next two weeks are sold out to Shanghai." Jessica immediately placed her forehead on the counter upon hearing the news and went straight into a depression. However, we went to another ticket office and had better luck. There were 2 hard sleepers available from Shenzhen, China to Shanghai on Monday, in about 3 days. We bought 'em.

Feeling relieved that we had our transportation secured for Shanghai we happily boarded the subway to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha. And it was a pretty big Big Buddha, too. Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay big.

To reach the vicinity that the Big Buddha was located we decided to take the scenic cable car. I also attempted to purchase the ticket with my new ATM debit card which my mother promptly mailed to Jessica. Result? Declined. Oh, boy. This was not a good sign. I did my best not allowing it to upset me. Waiting in line for the cable car was like waiting in line for a stellar roller coaster ride at Six Flags Theme Park. We probably waited over an hour before we were lifted away. The scenic cable car was indeed scenic, but freakin' hot. A little too hot for my liking, and especially for Jessica's. "Where's the breeze at?" she said, as she fanned herself to feel cooler to no avail. Once we exited the cable car there were signs directing us to Big Buddha, as if we wouldn't be able to find it.

Afterwards we were feeling tired, so we headed back to our hostel. But first I attempted to withdraw money with my ATM card. I found a Citibank and went inside to have them run the card themselves. Declined. Then I used an ATM nearby our hostel and tried my luck there. Declined. Ugh! Not again. "Nooooooooooooooo!"

I emailed my mother and informed her of the situation. Hopefully she could work her magic, and fast. I was officially about out of money and I didn't want to use my credit card for a cash advance because of the harsh fees.

Later, Jess and I met 2 roommates back in the dormitory: a girl from Australia and a girl from England. They invited us to join them to the nightly skyline light show downtown as we mentioned that we would be attending it that evening, too. I was wondering what type of backpackers I was going to meet on this leg of my journey and thus far I hadn't been too impressed. I wasn't too enthused with the invite, either, but I didn't see any way out of it. Dammit.

We took the ferry across and arrived just as the light show was ending. It was pretty lame, anyways. We didn't miss much. We eventually parted ways with the girls. What a relief. And Jessica and I enjoyed Hong Kong's beautiful skyline for a while before strolling along the Avenue of Stars. I really only knew two of the stars: Jackie Chan & Bruce Lee. Speaking of Bruce Lee. After I took a picture of Jessica laying down next to his star, a young Chinese guy approached and stepped on it. "Hey, whoa," I jokingly said to the guy. "Dude, you can't be steppin' on Bruce Lee like that." "Oh, sorry! Sorry, sorry," he responded. And he really was, too. Jess and I got a good laugh out of that.

Next we began walking towards Nathan Road to see the infamous Chungking Mansions, a real seedy backpacker ghetto. I mentioned to Jess that my friend, Dean, who I'd met in Kuala Lumpur, was suppose to be in Hong Kong and that I should try to get in touch with him. Within the next 5 minutes we found ourselves on a street absent of any people except for one guy, a loner, heading in our direction. And wouldn't you know . . . it was Dean. What are the flippin' chances, right? This was another case where my thoughts seemed to have influence reality, i.e. The Law of Attraction. I love it.

After we gave one another a hug I introduced him to Jessica. "Dean, Jessica. Jessica, Dean." And as Jessica reached to shake his hand, Dean leaned in and gave her a hug as well. "Ah, you're getting a hug too," he said, smiling and laughing. When he asked us what we were up to, I told him that we were going to check out the Mansions. "That's where I'm staying," he said. Of course it was! So he showed us where it was, and Jessica took a picture of us standing in front of its entrance.

Next we began the hunt for an air-conditioned bar with music. We couldn't find anything except for one jazz pub. The pub had a nice vibe: it was crazy crowded and had live music. However, the price for a beer was insanely expensive. Dean, whose a cheap bastard like myself, looked up at me after reading the menu, nodded his head towards the exit as if to say, "Let's get the hell outta here. Pronto!" He didn't have to gesture to me twice. So we left. "Sorry guys," Dean said as we exited the bar and into the street. "I just couldn't justify spending that much money for a beer when I can go to a 7-11." And that's exactly where we went.

So instead of finding an air-con pub with music to enjoy a few drinks, we purchased a few cheap cans of beer and found a comfy concrete slab to sit on off the side of the street. "Cheers," we all said as we touched one anothers cans. It was so damn hot and humid in Hong Kong that my face was perspiring as much as my cold can of beer. Dean was in the final stretch of his travels. After traveling for an entire year he was returning home in a few days to Canada. He shared some memorable stories with us, and even relived some funny moments that we shared together in K.L. It's hard to fathom that in 3 months it'll be my anniversary. So Dean, here's to you. Salute!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost in Translation, Macau: 10 Days With My Cousin Traveling Through Macau, Hong Kong & China.

I have officially left Southeast Asia.

After a 2 hour flight from Bangkok, Thailand I found myself in Macau, a tiny country located in eastern Asia, bordering China and the South China Sea. A country that was once a colony of Portugal, is now one of China's special administrative regions (SAR). Meaning that under the "one country, two systems" policy, Macau is a semi-autonomous territory and operates with a high degree of autonomy in all matters except for its defense and foreign affairs.

Don't feel bad if that, until a few seconds ago, you hadn't the slightest knowledge of its existence. Not too many people do. But if you did happen to already know this tiny tidbit of geographical knowledge, all I have to say is (impersonating the voice of actor Sean Connery) "I'm impressed!"

My cousin Jessica was waiting for me as I exited baggage claim. "Hey!" we said to one another before exchanging hugs. "So, welcome to the trail," I said to her as we walked to get our money exchanged. Jessica, who teaches English in South Korea, had 10 days of vacation and wanted to see the World Expo in Shanghai. So we decided that we'd meet in Macau and go to Hong Kong before entering China.

"So what are we going to do in Macau?" Jessica asked. "Um . . . yeah, I don't know," I responded. We laughed at how neither one of us had done any research about the countries we were about to travel. But first things first: we needed to call my friend Sara and get directions to her apartment.

My friend Sarah (from Portugal), who I'd met met while traveling in Vietnam, lives in Macau as a lawyer and said that we could stay with her and her friend at their apartment. Sweet! Because Jessica's phone wasn't working properly we had the woman at the Information kiosk make the phone call for us. We handed the directions to our taxi driver which had been written in Cantonese by the kind woman from Information, and off we went. Once we made it into town and got out of the taxi, I noticed that Jessica had a perturbed look on her face. ''Well that happened faster than I thought it would,'' she said after counting the change that she'd received back from the taxi driver.

"What?" I inquired.
"I already got ripped off."
"Okay, so that didn't take very long." she said, and the both of us began laughing.

Afterwards, we were greeted by Sara who walked us to her apartment. It was so nice to see Sara again. She's such a sweetheart. And once we reached her apartment she did everything that she could to make Jessica and I feel at home. It was a really nice apartment, too, located in the heart of the city. I definitely wouldn't be roughing it tonight. Before Sara went back to work, she walked us to an area where the Portuguese influence was noticeably visible.

After viewing the few tourist attractions that the city is known for, Jessica and I began roaming around the town without any particular agenda except to see some lighthouse in a park. Ah, yes, the lighthouse in the park. And we ended up having a dickens of a time locating this freakin' lighthouse. You can't ask anyone for help either, because no one speaks English and no one has a clue as to how to read a damn map. This was the first of many times that Jessica and I would get lost and walk aimlessly through the streets. And I do mean the first of MANY times. Not just in Macau, either, but for the next week and a half. In the end, however, it all worked out . . . sort of. I mean we did find the park, but never managed to find the lighthouse. Oy vey.

After many hours of good ol' fashion walking, we decided to head back to the apartment. But first we thought we'd grab a snack as we were both a bit hungry and it would be a few more hours before we'd eat dinner with Sara. This turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated. This ALSO would be the first of MANY times that a simple task such as finding something to eat would turn into something so problematic. We were quite surprised with the lack of restaurants in Macau. We would rhetorically ask, "People in Macau do eat, right?"

And then of course it began to rain. Hard. As if it wasn't difficult enough already to find a place to eat before the monsoon showers began. The streets quickly flooded into ankle deep water. We thought we'd try our luck down some side street before throwing in the towel. So we tiptoed our way down the sidewalk and street, avoiding large puddles while also trying to manage to stay as close to the wall as possible as there wasn't much of an overhead awning. The closest thing we could find to a proper meal was a bakery which was offering loads of free samples. It's safe to assume that we took full advantage of the present situation at hand.

After we loaded up on our free samples, we found our way back to the apartment where we unexpectedly fell asleep for the next few hours. It was dark outside when we woke up. I felt as if I had been drugged. "Is Sarah not back from work yet?" Jessica asked, as we were both ready to eat. ''I'm here! I'm here!" Sara said, who quickly raced out from her bedroom upon hearing Jessica. "Wow. I didn't even hear you come in," I said. "I really must have been out."

Sara and a friend of hers took us to a place to eat. I devoured my meal. I don't remember what I ate, I just remember eating it fast. Afterwards, Sara took us to a restaurant where a friend of hers worked; however, her friend was walking out the door as we arrived and he appeared to be upset. From the looks of it he had a hard days night. His slacks were dirty and he took off his uniform, rolling and tossing it over his shoulder onto his white undershirt as if he couldn't bare to wear it a second longer. He began speaking angrily in Portuguese.

"He said that he hates his job and that he's going to quit," Sara interpreted for me.
"Oh, okay."
"He always says he's going to quit."

He continued to rant for the next 15 minutes until we reached another bar. Jessica and I were surprised with how Portuguese sounded. We both simply assumed that it would sound like Spanish. Wrong. It sounded more like an eastern European or Russian language. Interesting.

"English! Speak in English!" Sara continually repeated to her friends throughout the night. And I continually felt awkward. They would speak English momentarily before switching back to their native tongue. "English! Speak English! . . ."

We eventually walked back to the apartment while listening to drunken tunes to the Beetles from Sara's friend. He played the guitar for a few minutes at the apartment before he wandered off for the night. I hope he made it home alright. I went to sleep on the couch and had a glorious nights sleep. When I woke up in the morning I found a note next to me written by Sara, which read, "Good morning, Adam! . . ."

Jessica and I attempted to meet up with Sara before we departed for Hong Kong. While Jessica enjoyed her habitual morning coffee fix in the cool confinements of McDonald's, I ventured out to find someone who would let me use their cell phone. I eventually found someone, but I caught Sara at a bad time as she was already out for lunch with her co-workers. However, she said that there was a beach party in Hong Kong in a few nights and that it would be great if we'd meet up. Beach party in Hong Kong? Sounded like plan.

Before Jess and I departed for Hong Kong we had one last mission: to see the largest casino in the world. We couldn't leave Macau without seeing this casino, called The Venetian, even for no other reason than to say, "Why, yes. Yes I did. I have seen the largest casino in the world," if someone was to ask in the future. And I mean that's what this country is really known for, really, for its legal gambling and casinos as gambling is illegal in China. I must have looked a bit out of place as I wandered through the casino with my rucksack. And I have to admit: Eh . . . Jessica and I really weren't that impressed with the casino. We didn't stay long, just long enough to take a few pictures and then we were outta there.

Too see the largest casino in the world: Check!

Macau: We came, we saw, we conquered - and only in 1.5 days.

Next Stop: Hong Kong


Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Blogs Coming Soon.......

Sorry for the delay. But due to my particular location on the planet I have not been able to access my blog, YouTube or Facebook. However, I have been writing in my notebook and will upload my blogs when it's humanely possible to do so.

The next series of blogs titled, "Lost in Translation: 10 Days Spent With My Cousin Through Macau, Hong Kong and China" will recount my travels with my cousin, Jessica, and our crazy, chaotic journey through the Far East.

So stay tuned . . .

"Oh, Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood! . . ."

-Adam (typed by my brother, Marc)