Monday, October 28, 2013

Fuzhou Trip part 3

The trip was great – mostly – and the hotel was very nice. We got a really good hotel because it was either that or a really cheap hotel – or stay at his apartment with all his roommates. The hotel made it very different from my first trip to China. Privacy is a wonderful and rare thing on this side of the world.

China is always a strange place to go to. Even though I live in Hong Kong, I still think of China as a different country. They’re technically the same, but they’re very different in a lot of ways. It’s like living in New York and visiting Kansas – except you need a visa and the money is different.

For this trip, we spent a lot less time sightseeing. Ryan showed me all the main attractions in Fuzhou the first time. This trip was about spending time with each other.

We got in a big fight – mostly because we never really see each other anymore. When Ryan moved to China, I thought it would be for a few months and then he’d come back to Hong Kong. That was 15 months ago. He’s obviously not coming back anytime soon. He makes more money there and, even though he doesn’t really like living in China, he likes it better than Hong Kong. I could never do my job in China so moving to him is out.

Since he left, we’ve taken a couple of vacations together and I’ve gone to Fuzhou and he’s come to Hong Kong, but we usually go months without seeing each other in person. We talk on the phone and Skype all the time, but it’s not the same. So we decided we need to make more of an effort. We’re not old enough to have a long distance relationship without physical contact for months at a time. We’re in our prime. We need to touch and be touched.

Ryan just might be the only foreigner in China who doesn’t have a thing for Chinese girls, but if 2 months ever turns into 6 months, there’s no way he’s going to be able to hold out. He’s at that age where a car commercial can give him an erection. I’m not much better. Car commercials don’t do it for me, but I want some action just as much as he does. The difference is that it would be easier for me to cheat on him than for him to cheat on me. I have more options. That and the lack of sex scares the hockey sticks out of him.

So we decided to make more of an effort and see each other more often. It doesn’t have to be a vacation or a week in Hong Kong or Fuzhou. Even just a day or two is better than nothing. Flights between our cities are short and not very expensive. He can come here without a visa and I have a multiple entry visa. I just need to get a new one before it expires. Getting a visa to China is actually a lot easier than people think.

We haven’t decided when we’ll see each other again, but it’s definitely his turn to come here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fuzhou Trip part 2

I’m leaving Monday for Fuzhou. Coincidentally, it’s the same flight that I took the first time. It’s also almost exactly one year since the first time. That one was in the beginning of November and this one is the end of October. We didn’t plan any of that. That’s just the way it worked out. The typhoons and work determined the timing more than anything else and I keep picking this flight because it’s the cheapest one.

Since the flight gets in just before midnight – which is probably why it’s the cheapest – I’ll just stay at Ryan’s house Monday night. He doesn’t want to pay for a full day at the hotel if we’re only going to be there late at night. I don’t think it makes any difference, but his way is cheaper and we’re not made of money. He also says it’s easier to go to his place from the airport after midnight.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fuzhou Trip

I’m all set to go see Ryan in Fuzhou on Monday. We’re both working this weekend, so Monday was the soonest typhoon-free day we could get.

Ryan suggested we stay at a hotel this time. Last time I went to Fuzhou, I stayed at his apartment. I don’t mind getting a hotel since he lives with too many roommates. It will be nice to have some privacy.

I don’t know why, but there weren’t a lot of hotel options. Maybe there’s a Chinese holiday that they don’t celebrate in Hong Kong. Nothing’s going on here, but something is taking up all the hotels in Fuzhou. Or maybe there just aren’t that many.

Our options were higher end 4 & 5 star hotels – like the Ramada, Sheraton and Westin – or cheaper dive hotels – Days Inn, Howard Johnson. There was even a Super 8. I had no idea they were in China.

We decided to aim high because why not. I live in a tiny Hong Kong apartment with 2 other people and he lives in a tiny Chinese house with 4 other people – and the occasional visiting girlfriend. A few days in a decent hotel will be a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Typhoon Fitow

Ryan & I have been talking about seeing each other in China. He says it’s my turn to go to him since he came here a couple of months ago. Before that he came to Hong Kong for the cruise – but we also went to China on the cruise, so on that trip he came to me and I came to him.

He’s right about it being my turn. He took time off work and came to Hong Kong. Now I should go to Fuzhou.

Then there was Typhoon Usagi. It was supposed to be the biggest storm of the year and they said it was going to hit Hong Kong directly. Obviously that wasn’t going to be a good time to go to the airport. Usagi turned out to not be so big and it didn’t hit Hong Kong.

So we waited for that storm to come & go. I could always go to Fuzhou afterward.

Then there was Typhoon Fitow. It never posed a threat to Hong Kong, but it was headed straight for Fuzhou. It ended up hitting north of Fuzhou, but it still delayed flights and caused all the usual transportation problems.

Now there’s Typhoon Danas. It’s headed toward us, but it’s supposed to turn right and go to Japan. Sometimes these typhoons go where they’re supposed to go and sometimes they don’t. I don’t want to book a flight to Fuzhou only to have it cancelled because of some typhoon that didn’t do as it was told.

After Danas, who knows. It’s still typhoon season, so you never know when another one will show up. We usually have a few days’ warning, but it also takes a few days to book a flight. If I book something tomorrow, there could easily be another typhoon by the time I’m supposed to leave. If I wait, there probably will be another typhoon sooner or later.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Life On the Amazon

When you have a book on Amazon, it needs to fit into a set category. If it’s a mystery, it goes in fiction/mystery/whatever sub-category works best. If it’s your personal memoir about your time spent in prison, it goes in non-fiction/memoirs/crime. If it’s yet another zombie story – like we need more of those – it goes in fiction/horror/zombies.

When I wrote Hailey’s Bali Diary, I had no idea which category it would fit into. None of them really works, so it's in travel/Bali. It’s not really a travel book and it’s surrounded by Lonely Planet and Frommer’s, but I still haven’t seen any category that suits it better.

Nudist Cruise was in travel/cruises. That made the most sense since it’s about what happens on a cruise. It seemed to be the right move because it sold very well in that category. It hovered around #5 for several months. Sometimes it would go higher or lower, but it stayed in the top 10 for a long time. I think that’s pretty good, especially since almost everything else in the top 10 in that category is from travel publishers that sell millions of books.

Then Amazon moved it to literature & fiction/erotica and sales plummeted. I have no idea why they moved it. There’s really nothing erotic about the book. It’s mostly about not being a nudist on a ship full of nudists. Any nudist will tell you there’s nothing erotic about nudism. Maybe Amazon considers nudism erotic, but I don’t think so. There are lots of nudist books that aren’t in the erotica category.

The funniest part is that erotica isn’t on their list of categories. No one can put anything there even if they want to. Somewhere along the line, Amazon decides what is and isn’t erotica and puts it in. In this case, they messed up. The worst part is, there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Everything at Amazon is automated and it’s very difficult to actually speak to a person. They respond to e-mails with computer-generated form letters that don’t do anyone any good.

It all seems pretty stupid to me. Not only am I losing money because of their mistake, but they are as well. They make money on every single thing they sell. While it was in the travel section, it was selling and they were making money. Now that they moved it, it’s dead and they’re getting nothing. Their piece of the pie was never going to make them millions of dollars - not from anything I write - but I don’t see why they’d want to throw away even a little bit of money, especially in this economy.