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March 30, 2007

Farewell My Lovelies

The bunny suit
Greta.  My bunny.

Today is the saddest of these 80 days. Laura and Greta left on a plane to fly back over the Pacific Ocean.

The morning was long and heavy.  We ate breakfast, then undertook the painful process of packing separate luggage. Greta was wearing her bunny outfit, which is my favorite. At around 10 a.m., it was time to say goodbye. I lifted her up, kissed her warm, tender head and tears were rolling down my cheeks as she smiled and made googly noises at me, which was a 180-degree role reversal for us.

(For all you male readers, I realize this wasn't terribly manly of me. But I plan on steer wrestling a yak in Mongolia to make up for it.)

We took their bags downstairs and a few minutes later, the airport shuttle arrived. Airport shuttles have an uncanny similarity, no matter what country you are in. They climbed on, walked towards the back, and sat down at a window and then waved to me as the bus roared off towards the airport. They are traveling east, and I am continuing west. I will not see them again until May 24th. Assuming I make my boat. There's a lot of geography between here and the Atlantic Ocean.

Farewell my lovelies
Farewell my lovelies

I walked out to Nathan Road and turned right. It's a busy street, choked with cars, double-decker buses and people, but there's a stretch where it's lined with banyan trees, which gives a city as manic as Hong Kong a flavor of tropical paradise.

I stopped in at a traditional Chinese medicine store, the one I saw yesterday with the bin of dried fish. It had a sign that said it was "government certified." A middle-aged Chinese man poured himself a cup of tea, then walked over to me. I told him I had a sore back. He pointed at his lower back and I nodded. He opened a cabinet and pulled out a small box of cream. I had fantasies of brewing tea from dried sea cucumber. But a jar will be more practical.

"Will this help my back?" I asked.

"It will help back."

"Does it have Chinese herbs in it?"

"Yes. Chinese herbs."

I stared at the box, then asked the man, "Do you have anything for a heavy heart?"

"Heavy heart..." He looked confused.

"Do you have anything to take if you feel sad."

He turned around again and lingered over a box of shark oil, then turned back and said, "No, there's nothing for that."

Nothing for me here


You're making me cry. Luckily I don't have a manly facade to maintain.

I have been trying to keep up on your postings and am enjoying what I read. Today was a little different. I don't think I could say good bye to my family. It would break my heart. You are a better man than me.

I count on 2 or 3 laughs per blog.This one brought a tear to my eye.Very touching.

Welcome to doesn't matter if they are 6 months or 16 years old....

Your post reminded me of the scene in Logan Airport on January 14th as I put my precious little one on a plane for her Junior semester in Italy. OK, she's 21 and not so little anymore but she always will be so in my mind's eye. There was something almost funny about cradling her face in my hands, imploring her to have a wonderful time between my sobs. I will be joining her on May 18th for a two week Mother-Daughter travel feast through Italy and Spain with her as my interpreter and guide before I bring her home. If it helps to soothe your aching heart a little, the past 11 weeks have flown by, thanks in large part to daily emails, Instant Messages and that wonderful internet invention, Skype.

You didn't cry when we parted ways you heartless monster.

I am shocked that you didn't relate the Banyan Trees you saw to the Hotel Bar at the Skyline Hotel - you must be overwrought with grief...

Hello! I have been reading your blog since the beginning, and enjoy the dry, sardonic wit. A tip for your travels: in Beijing, you must find the best Duck restaruant in the City, called Li Qun. I was there in 2005, and it is in a shanty town merely blocks from Tiananmen Square, and it will be, without a doubt, the best Duck you will have in your life! Don't be too afraid in the twists and turns to find the restaurant, it will be well worth it, I promise you.

Bon Voyage!

I totaly understand. Until I got my webcam I would cry all the way from Orlando to Jacksonville Fl on my way home to NC after visiting my son, daughter in law and new grandbaby. What a great joy it was the day I left and nine hours later talking to them on the internet. By the way my son is 25 and I still miss him. Your little one is such a cutie. I totaly am enjoying all your writing. Keep up the good work and yes a good cry helps a heavy heart. Vickie

I don't know which post made me cry harder - this one or the one that reminded me that the great Liberace is no longer with us. Congrats on making it halfway, Mark.

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