Friday, September 03, 2004

Cumple Anos Felices, Cedric!

Today, they say, it’s the Internet’s 35th anniversary, congratulations for this achievement.

It is also a very specialy person’s birthday, my brother Cedric.

Cedric is a person who does not just watch life passing by, he grabs it and lives it! A true brother in arms, a professional model with a very rich soul, who believes and shares with us messages like this one:

Se quanta que en el siglo pasado, un turista fue a Egipto con la finalidad de vistar a un famoso sabio.
El turista se sorprendo al ver que el sabio vivia en un cuartito muy simple, limpio y lleno de libros.
Las unicas piezas de mobiliarios eran una cama, una mesa y un banco.
“Donde estan sus muebles?” – pergunto el turista.
Y el sabio rapidamente tambien perguntou: “Y donde estan los suyos?”
“Los mios?” – se sorprendio el turista – “pero si yo estoy aqui solamente de paso!”
“Yo tambien…!” – comcluyo el sabio.
“La vida en la tierra es solamente temporal”

"Sin embargo, algunos viven como si fueran a quedarse aqui eternamente y se olividan de ser felicies.
El valor de las cosas no esta en el tiempo que duran, sino en la intensidad con que suceden.
Por eso existen momentos inolvidables, cosas inexplicables y personas incomparables!”

Cedric, una persona incomparable!
I wish you a very happy birthday with everything you wish for!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

They are selling the past!

It was only 10 years ago when I first arrived in Hong Kong and was delighted to see rickshaws parked in front of the Star Ferry Pier, in Central district, with their drivers sitting on them, waiting for their clients.
Back in 1994, these rickshaw drivers (or show I say runners) were not transporting local people as they used to do back in a more remote past. These drivers were trying to catch the attention of tourists making money out of the photos they were posing for. Back then I felt the nostalgia of something that was reaching its end and was disappearing.

The profile of these rickshaw drivers were old Chinese men with gig golden smiles, dressed in traditional fisherman’s black suits. They could not speak English but they had their techniques in fishing in tourist into their rickshaws.
What they did was posing for the first picture and then volunteering to take a picture of you, sitting on the rickshaw. Considering the innocent and pleasant offer chances are that you would have accepted as in fact I did. As soon as I sat on the rickshaw, it was lifted and in fraction of seconds I see myself being pushed away on the rickshaw. I still remember that the driver was so amused and was laughing when I insisted several time to stop. He didn’t, he went around the block, which made me feel quite embarrassed as this man was certainly in his 80’s.

When he came back to the beginning, I was a bit mad of what he did but gave him some money and kept a memory of something that will never happen.

Time flies and we are always to busy to pay attention to what we are loosing with that flight.
The other day I passed by again by the Star Ferry Pier and saw with sadness that the old men with the golden smiles, dressed in black fisherman’s suits were no longer there.
Only the rickshaws still remain, resting alone, waiting to be sold.

They are selling the past!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Living High in Hong Kong

Unless your are Li Kai Shing or some other Hong Kong tycoon, you can afford to live in a house in Hong Kong island.
Land prices get more expensive than gold itself.
Hong Kong island, is roughly in its natural status, a big rock that emerges from the sea. The existent flat land is usually artificially "created" by reclamation.
Every buildable spot gets easily occupied:

The developers usually utilize the land occupation to its maximum capacity. A little more than just 25 m2 can give space to 80 apartments:

Hong Kong is one of the cities in the world with the highest population density (for reference only: 247,501 people per square mile - 20 times higher than India's).

In 1998, with the move of the old Hong Kong Airport from the Kowloon Peninsula to Check Lap Kok, the building height restriction was relaxed, from 20 to >80 floors.
Today, aiming as usual to utilize the land, there are residential buildings being built with 80 floors or more, giving the impression that the 20 floor-buildings nearby are just tiny little house.