Tag: Hong Kong

Back from Hong Kong

Junk

Just got home after a post-arrival Denny’s dinner, I love Japanese Denny’s, unpacked, and now I’m getting ready to do a bit of relaxing. Hong Kong was amazing, and our too short vacation was a blast.

Hong Kong is such an interesting place unlike anywhere else, a unique blend of Western European blended with Chinese culture that makes it a great and accessible place to visit. Not to mention, for a history buff like me, the city is fantastically unique as a Crown Colony birthed during the Opium Wars and governed by something of a unique hands-off minimalist government going on to become one of the richest cities in the world, and avoiding the civil wars and disastrous Communist purges happening next door in China. 20171214_125603380646878.jpg

I explored a good chunk of the city, ate at some fantastic restaurants, drank some great beer, and had a great time. Now I have a few days of vacation that I’m going to dedicate to working on writing and the gym to make up for all the feasting.

Heading to Hong Kong

hong kong

Hong Kong has always been at the top of my list of places I want to visit in Asia. It’s a city that was founded on capitalism and free trade, a city that mixes the best and worst of both the East and the West. On top of that Hong Kong is the setting of my favorite novels, James Clavell’s Tai-Pan and Noble House. If you haven’t read those books stop whatever you are doing and start right now.

tai-pan

Anyways, next week the wife and I are going to temporarily suspend our Gaijin card so we can become Gweilo tourists and visit Hong Kong. That means I will be hard to get a hold of on here and across social media. I plan on taking pictures and sharing, but enjoying my vacation will take precedence. I have much to see.

Hong Kong is the second time this year we are visiting one of the Asian Tigers, Taipei was the first, and we will have to complete the set with Singapore and South Korea after the baby is born.

In other news, the outline for my novella is almost complete, just ironing out some plot points and filling in the blanks. I’m planning to begin actual writing once I get back. The vacation should refresh me and give me some good ideas.

 

 

 

Tai-Pan by James Clavell

“I’m saying that some men are saints. Some are happy being meek and humble and unambitious. Some men are born content to be second-best.”

tai-pan

I finished James Cavell’s Tai-Pan today and it immediately skyrocketed to the top of my favorites. A masterpiece of action, history, intrigue, adventure, and romance. Most of all it had an epic ending that blew me away, unlike more recent writers that seem to choke at the finish line.

Tai-Pan is an epic historical novel about the opium trader Dirk Struan, who is loosely based on William Jardine, and  the founding of Hong Kong in 1841. It follows Dirk as he maneuvers, rival traders, corrupt Chianese authorities, close minded British politicians, and pirates, in order to solidify the dominance of his trading company, Noble House, and ensure the success of Hong Kong as a lasting colony.

A massive novel filled with violence, pirates, romance, incest, and political intrigue that would teach Littlefinger a lesson or two. Nestled into the main plot are several interesting side plots including one of the best tragic romances I have read and a very well done father-son plotline. All of the plot threads subtly come together and are fantastically wrapped up during the epic finale.

Most of all the main character, Dirk Struan, stands out as one of the most badass characters I have ever read. He is the ultimate model of a great leader. Tough but fair, able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the people around him allowing him to put each man to proper use. Dirk is a model hero who has the foresight to understand that Hong Kong is a vital port and must be protected. He also embraces the best of Chianese culture and mixes it with his own striving for a future where British and Chianese live together benefiting each other.

I have a feeling it will be a long time until Tai-Pan gets dethroned as my favorite book. It had everything I want in a great story and everything I aspire to include in my own writing. Read it. Read it now.