Tuesday, June 21, 2005

High (tea) and dry at last

After battling monsoon conditions in Hong Kong for most of the day, we pampered ourselves with a spot of high tea at the Peninsula Hotel and prepared to fly to Beijing early tomorrow morning. Finally the rain has stopped and for that we are reverently grateful. The Old Testament-class deluge we experienced today would have demoralized even Noah. Massive driving sheets of rain hammering down by the barrels-full for hours -- frankly, we've never seen anything like it, ever. We surmise the indiginous peoples must not see it all that often themselves, given the "Amber Rainstorm Alert" signs posted across the city. Not sure where "Amber" ranks on the Hong Kong catastrophic rainfall scale, but I would hate to see Rumsfeld place the "Tiffany," "Crystal" and "Brittany" alert levels into play as well -- things are scary enough around here already. The cheapo umbrella Dennis bought on the street to fend off the elements was a joke; it wilted and flopped around until he finally just punted it away in disgust, a nice tight spiral fair-caught somewhere on New Queens Road. Using that umbrella was like trying to defend against Godzilla with a garden hose. Plus, augmenting said climatological conditions today was steaming, blasting, all-pervasive, shop window-fogging heat and humidity. So if the rain gods didn't get you, the sweat devils certainly did. Dennis so resembled a drowned rat that Terri was forced to laugh out loud at him on several occasions, all in the spirit of good marital fun. But we got our sightseeing in, by God, and we ain't stopping now, either, even though they are calling for dust storms in Beijing -- we kid you not. Howling rain, eye-stinging sand, triple-digit heat ... we're coming to get you, Eleanor, we just don't know what kind of shape we'll be in by the time we get there ...

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