Hong Kong: Having survived a family vacation in Eastern Europe and a six-week ride across Western Europe, last week I returned home to Hong Kong to take care of some family business. Immediately after my return I naturally and automatically bounced into busy mode: things to do, people to see, places to go. Hong Kong is a city that moves fast and frantically, and I keep pace.
The primary reason I am in Hong Kong is to make sure my son settles well into the new school year. So far so good, if the second day of second grade is any indication. But keeping up with his busy calendar — the football practice (soccer to the Americans reading this) and Mandarin tutors, tennis coaching, playdates — is nearly a full-time job. I don’t remember how I ever managed when I actually had a full-time job. And when did childhood ever get so complicated, anyway?
Last week my folks also arrived from Stonefield Farm in Kentucky for a long stretch. Grandpa and Grandma are here for what I fear will be one big season of spoiling a second grader while I am on my Euro cycle. They have visited Hong Kong and Asia on many occasions, but never have they spent so much continuous time outside the US, which adds a fresh perspective and an added level of complexity to this visit. There’s also been a run on ice cream in Hong Kong since their arrival. But generally they’ve received a warm welcome in Hong Kong, including from my son’s new classmate who enthusiastically told them on orientation day: “I like old people too.”
When I haven’t been busy helping my family settle into new routines, I have been running around doing banal, unsexy Stuff That Has To Get Done. After a summer in Europe, this Stuff piles up, with taxes to file, passports to renew, dentists to visit, and personal finances to manage — or what’s left of personal finances after recent market movements.
It’s been exactly one month since I’ve been out of the saddle and I left my trusty bike, Bubba Too, in Innsbruck. I am anxious — itching, really — to get back into the saddle and to get on my way to Istanbul. My return to Europe is set; I depart August 28, just ten days away. I have charted a course to Istanbul through nine countries which promises to be awesome, adventurous, offbeat and if I am lucky, just maybe the experience of a lifetime.