I’m back off to the mainland today.  We’re going to Guilin, where everything is imaginary and toilet paper doesn’t exist.  We’ve been booked a package tour by my aunt, which is cool, but at the same time, I haven’t been on a package tour since I was 11 and didn’t know any better in Europe.  I’m exactly the opposite of package tours in terms of traveling style.  While package tours involve air conditioned coaches, five-star hotels, and following around a guide with a flag, my kind of tourism involves public transportation, random strangers’ floors, and making it up as you go along.  I guess the older you get the less interesting this kind of activity becomes.  I mean, my family doesn’t even exactly understand why I’d rather carry my hiking backpack than a rolling suitcase.  (To me, the answer is obvious: I can offroad and you can’t!)

Also, I’m not going to have to deal with the Great Firewall again.  I’m leaving my laptop here, much to my horror and chagrin, because it’s probably a little useless to have it in the middle of nowhere.  Though without it, I do feel a little naked.  My dad is worried about me breaking it; I pointed out I lugged it around Paris for a week.  Still, he insisted that Guilin is no Paris (and it isn’t), but I guess he doesn’t really get the whole sleeping-on-strangers’-floors thing either.

Being back in Hong Kong is weird.  I can visit most blogs without a proxy.  People are talking about Tienanmen (yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the event), and people are talking about democratization, and the sound on CNN doesn’t lag behind the picture because the government is trying to prevent you from hearing certain things.  People don’t look like they are trying their best to modernize quickly after squirming out from under the heavy heel of Communism.  There are no Communist blues (the color of nearly all clothing in the Old PRC) in Hong Kong.  People look…well, they look regular.  Maybe a little more slapdash in terms of what clothing they put together when, but they dress a little more like my friends might.  It’s actually kind of a mindfuck I didn’t expect.

I think I might like Beijing better than Hong Kong, though, for all that.  People here seem to have a sense of doing what is socially acceptable; in Beijing nobody gives a fuck.  You get left alone in Beijing.  I guess the little kids here are kind of cuter (or maybe just the little kids who live in my aunt and uncle’s building), but Beijing is a lot more haphazard, a place where people seem to be playing pretend.  It’s fun.  It’s kind of scary.  It’s very exciting.  I miss the city already.