Back from vacation, and back on the job

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post.

I just got back from vacation yesterday, after a week spent on a beach on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island.

Well, it was a vacation for my kids, at least. I spent some of my time reporting and writing articles about stock exchanges and alternative trading systems in Asia.

Ironically, given the fact that the Hong Kong Internet system is generally much better than that in China, I could not visit many sites from my hotel, including the SPJ’s blog posting pages (which is why I haven’t posted anything in a week). I also couldn’t read Dilbert or Doonesbury.

The hotel’s Internet security system wouldn’t even let me proxy around it — and I tried hard. I really wanted to get my daily Dilbert fix.

Nothing else seemed to have been affected — I guess my hotel had a very effective but very weird firewall.

But except for the hotel-specific Internet problems, and my distance from my staff, it occurred to me how easy it would have been to just stay on the island. Lantau Island is one of the least populated parts of Hong Kong, but only a half-hour ferry ride right into Hong Kong central, at a cost of about US $2.50. The telephones are great, the weather is perfect, the scenery is spectacular.

I can easily do the bulk of my work there. And there’s a pretty decent Italian restaurant next to the ferry landing, and a Turkish place that seems to be a favorite expat hangout, as well as two grocery stores and a very nice English bookstore that sells both new and used books.

If anyone is interested in becoming a financial technology journalist who lives on a beautiful tropical island, drop me a line. I can give you some advice.

Signing off in Shanghai,