Friday, October 13, 2006

Hong Kong

This morning we left Dorian (the rock star) behind in Guangzhou and the rest of us went to Hong Kong to meet up with a delegation led by the American Association of Community Colleges. This group has already made three stops for CC recruitment fairs in Bangkok, Chang Mai Thailand, and Seoul. They arrived in Hong Kong this afternoon about the same time that we arrived from Guangzhou.

We took the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong thanks to the arrangements made by the super-efficient Mary from the Foreign Affairs Office at GAFA. It took about an hour and a half to make the trip, then about a 30 minute taxi ride to the Conrad Hotel on Hong Kong Island. The Conrad is a very fancy and expensive place (think Conrad Hilton) and is quite a change of pace from the Experts’ Hostel at GAFA. The Hong Kong experience is very different from the China experience. Very expensive and much more modern than we have experienced for the past week, but we’ll get used to it.

Soon after unpacking our bags the group went to the U.S. Consulate for a briefing about the process of getting visas for Hong Kongers to travel to the U.S. for education. They have an approval rate of 98%. Students who can’t demonstrate the ability to pay, or whose name comes up as a match with the terrorist list are typically denied (or delayed), and just about everybody else gets to go. If only it would be like that for our 12 GAFA students who want to travel from Guangzhou next summer to Duluth. We still think that we can pull it off but we are going to have to do many more things rather than just cross our fingers and click our heels.

After the Consulate meeting, we were free for the evening. We went to “dinner” with "Anonymous" and Becky, two very nice people from Hawaii. Rita and I Skyped the kids at about 9 PM Hong Kong time before they went off to school for the day. I was going to Skype into an admin meeting back at LSC at 11 PM Hong Kong time. Can you see a potential problem here? There was a gap of almost two hours in between the two calls, I was exhausted from another day of hustle and bustle, and I hadn’t yet unpacked my personal alarm clock. So, I set the alarm clock in the room to wake me up and the stupid thing didn’t work, at least not the way I expected it to. So, sorry to the group back home for missing the meeting.

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