Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Back But Not Home

I am back, I debated if it would be accurate to say "I am home" instead, but at this point, I don't think that would be true. Home is after all where the heart is. So, I am back but I am not home.

The 9 days of intensive work and almost constant (or so it felt) travelling from Sydney-HK-Guangzhou-HK-Manila-HK-Sydney was draining. The 7-hour wait in the HK airport because the Manila airport was closed to all air traffic until the cargo plane which was stranded on the runway due to its landing gear being damaged (I refused to believe it was something as simple as a stuck plane, I was convinced it was either a hijack or a terrorist attack. I mean how can the plane NOT be removed if that was all to it? But it turned out to be true, it was one of those huge cargo planes used to transport vehicles), was removed, did not help. It could have been worse really, stuck in the CX lounge in the home country was not a bad position to be for travellers. But since we were travelling since 7 am from Guangzhou, even the CX lounge lost its appeal after 4 hours, with no definite end in sight.

The heat was sapping throughout the trip. I slept well but it never quite felt like it was enough. Even treating myself to 2 deep tissue massages and an aromafacial over the weekend in Manila didn't rejuvenate me completely. Neither did the little bit of shopping I managed to do on the same weekend. It occurred to me that the apartment I was coming back to in Sydney was smaller than the room at Shangri-la Makati (pictured here) and I had just spent 2 nights in that apartment before I had hit the road. So I had spent more nights in the Shangri-la by the end of the trip than I had in my own apartment- fancy that!

When I got to HK, I bought a couple of fresh and cheap bananas to continue the wart treatment, I am pleased to report that my wart has completely gone. The food in HK and Guangzhou was excellent, I must have put on 2 kgs by the time I was done there. I also found the elusive macaroon in the Sogo food court in HK. I was too full at that time to have more than just 1 so I had the salty caramel marcaroon, it was delicious, a tad overly-sweet, fragrant and had a nice texture. A small one for HK$10, I had all good intentions of coming back the next day to get a couple more and also shoot some photos of the precious and rare commodity but had no time. So I've only tasted that 1 macaroon and now have to make do with the ghost of its memory until I renew the taste in reality. Every meal in Guangzhou was fabulous, I finally tasted the REAL version of the custard bun (liu sha bao) there, it's made with lots of butter and duck egg in the custard and is almost flowing in the consistency, whereas the ones I've had in Sydney is just like a regular custard wrapped in a "bao" skin (hence called "nai huang bao" here). After that version, I'm afraid everything else is just not going to measure up and I'll just have to live with the disappointment. In Manila, I valiantly skipped a couple of meals in a bid to get over the constantly full feeling I had suffered on the earlier leg of the trip after yummy HK and Guangzhou, hoping to atone for my gluttony.

It's back to eating healthy (healthier?) meals and walking everywhere to lose those extra kilos. With the heat that I came back to in Sydney (today was 34C), I think that would not be too hard to achieve (hopefully!!)...


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