Lose the map

Welcome to LoseTheMap, former diary of travels around Asia, then account of everyday life in Moscow, and now with my family in Berlin - VERSIONE ITALIANA

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hong Kong - Shanghai

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/HongKongShanghai

Here we are again,
Hong Kong has been a real break, 8 weeks off from this maxi-holiday.

For my life is recently upside down, in these 8 weeks I've been... working!

Hong Kong was a British colony since the infamous opium wars last century, and in 1997 the rental contract with the smugglers ended, bringing it back to Mainland China.
Now it's a city-state with a unique relationship with CCP, who officially rules but in practice has little influence on people.
Money counts far more than politics.

Here there's freedom of thought, word and expression; people demonstrate for democracy on the streets, even though it looks like just a pretext for shopping and consumerism.
Metaphor of modern geopolitical paradox.
Nice, neat, clean, charming, english, a unique business city where Chinatown and Oxford street blend together, explosive mix of carts and Mercedes.
Meltin'pot of faces and races, many colors interacting in a cool style.

As soon as I stepped in "Asia's World City" an Italian expedition came over to greet me: my nephew, sister and mother!
The happy family adapted pretty well to this continent, enjoying - even too much - local culture and weird people, as well as the dubious hotel were i put them in...

Finally I could put all my knowledge about Asia and the Middle Kingdom into words, resuming 4000 years of oriental culture over a bowl of rice and tofu, teaching the use of chopsticks to my primitive fellows.
I've been spoiled by some pizzas, spaghetti and big breakfasts kindlyoffered by the family, I couldn't refuse...
After the crew left, I shake it up: I need cash, fast cash... what to do?
Waiter, bartender, graphic designer... mhmh so boring...

There I am in Times Square, the heart of Hong Kong, juggling!
Entertaining the crowd rushing from one mall to the other, I unleashed my not-amazing-skills of juggler and animator, crowning my performances doing statue, mime, or more generally, acting like amoron!
Very funny, and instead of kicking me out of the square this people apparently appreciated my abilities by taking pictures and throwing coins over coins in my hyper-style mao hat!

Tough life being a street artist, hided from policemen with low sense of humor and chased by yelling kids demanding fat and fast laughs, posing for pictures and creating a new silly sketch every 5 minutes!
Yes I had fun, but I took it seriously, and working everyday for 6 weeks, sweating and melting in the square, I managed to save some cash, which will be useful in the near future.
And while at night people outside were waiting for my shows, I spent most of my daytime inside my tiny rented room, getting in touch withfriends from afar and studying history, philosophy and globalgeopolitics, thinking about how to keep my adventure real.
Many words bounced over the walls of that room: past, future, work,holiday, working-holiday, India, Japan, Mars, universe...

In the end I'm aware that everything happens only in our mind, in a huge game of universal parallelisms, where only the present matters, where past won't come back and future is unknown...

Bearing memories from yesterday and reminding myself that tomorrow might be too late my choice came for itself: after my 1-year-travel-birthday on July 15th i greeted the former Britsh colony with fireworks over Victoria Harbour and set sail, walking into China.Again.

The gap between Hong Kong and China is still quite big, in the people, mind and atmosphere.

When I saw a train overcrowded with people who sleep, eat, pick theirnoses, shave their non-existent beard, spit nutshells, scream and mess around I realized to be back in a land I loved.

I get to Shanghai: Futurama.
Amazing hyper-modern buildings give a whole new face to capital-communist China.
Past and future live side by side with all their juxtapositions: ancient quarters packed with old-style Shangainese live squeezed between evergrowing skyscrapers, creating a vibrant and bizarre metropolis, who's almost feared by the unrivalled queen Hong Kong.
Shanghai, the Orient Pearl, is the China of the new century. Be ready boys.

The goal was to enjoy my second solar eclipse: after last year in Russia now I'm meeting old friends from Novosibirsk's time plus other buddies; but sadly the clouds were covering the sky and we couldn't enjoy the event that much...
Some trishaw challenges and Qingdao beerbrought smile in our faces anyway!

And while I was getting ready for the Silk Road and Xinjiang - ChinaMuslim far west - I met this dutch travel buddy who, showing me a boat ticket to Japan, easily convinced me to follow him.

Right man, Japan is calling me!
I change all my plans and just like kidding I find myself on a cruise boat, and after 48 hours floating eastwards i get to Osaka!!


At sunrise my dear friend, looking east, you'll see the shape of a madman who still believes in his dream.
It will be the dawn of a new great day.
The same dream goes on, hyper-real!

Konnichiwa MarcoSan, Arigatoooo!!

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/HongKongShanghai

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