Thursday, January 28, 2010

Small world. Small man. Small pill.

So last night we went to Grappa’s Cellar to see Andrew Bird. He is the tiniest white man I’ve seen in a long time, but he was brilliant. I’ll post a snippet of the show once I figure out how to get it from Kelly’s iphone to here.

While we were waiting for the show to start, a lithe (emaciated) and handsome (he clearly uses boy-cosmetics) and trendy (his hair was a bit too long) young man (actually, this could describe any of the gweilos in our area) said, “you look familiar…” Apparently he was on the hell-flight with us from Newark to HK after Christmas, also got bumped, and also had his luggage “misplaced.” Additionally, he went to college about 10 miles from where we did. It’s a small, small world. Perhaps there are far too few ex-pats in HK. Or perhaps I’m running in the wrong circles. After six months here I shouldn’t be recognizing people everywhere I go…

This morning I realized I was out of my blood pressure medication. This is ostensibly prescription-only, but I’ve found that that rule gets bent quite easily. For example, the last time I went to the pharmacy to try to buy my birth control pills I mispronounced it and they tried to give me generic Prozac instead. So instead of making an appointment with my doctor, I went to the pharmacy and, sure enough, got my bp medicine OTC. This is convenient, but kind of annoying because the things that I really want – some DAMN DECONGESTANTS – are not OTC. So I’m just eating peppers and blowing my nose a lot, but at least I’m not going to have a heart attack.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More food

Another great discovery - close to our place and relatively cheap:

Chicken shwarma:


Hummus and pita:

Contrary to what this blog indicates, we sometimes do things that don't involve eating. Perhaps someday I'll post about those things. Once I do them...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An exercise in futility

Perhaps the most futile act I've ever engaged in: trying to explain to a roomful of four-year-olds with severely limited English skills that cows do not drink milk. I just gave up after a while and we continued with our animal game.

Also according to our game, horses eat cheese.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Until yesterday I hadn't been able to find any really spicy food here in HK (if anyone can recommend a good Sichuan place, please let me know ASAP) and I'm in pepper withdrawal , so I'm forced to make my own, such as curry ramen with kimchi (which I then doused in sriracha):

(The variety of noodles available in the supermarket is just staggering. I guess this isn't surprising.)

But yesterday I went to Indian Village for a chicken tikka roll.

It looks so innocent, doesn't it? But when I ordered it, the chef/owner asked if I wanted it spicy. Holy s*** it was hot. It nearly killed me - which is just perfect. This will become a regular meal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

High tea at Red

Went to Red Soho today for high tea to load up on sugar and caffeine before my Canto lesson. A few highlights:

Now I am fat and happy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Neon swine

A few days ago I posted a story from China Daily about a piece of glowing pork. And here is Kelly's latest song, inspired by green meat:


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Something for everyone

Wan Chai is a fairly stuffy commercial area that wakes up (apparently with morning wood) when the sun goes down. We spent last night exploring and trying to decide which of the available vices we should indulge in - Drinking? Prostitution? Gambling? We opted for the former and by the time we were done with that we were too drunk to engage in the latter two. But here are some photos of the services on offer:

This morning I woke up with a slight hangover and no one else but my husband in the bed, so I suppose I escaped lightly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why I start drinking at noon

This morning's class went a little something like this:

Me: (holding up picture book) Okay class, what is the puppy doing? *
Class: (holding up fingers crossed like they're warding off the devil) DIRTY! DIRTY! **

On the bright side, I discovered a new and delicious flavor of Mentos - fuji apple. I believe it has now overtaken cola as my favorite Mentos variety. Let's hope this small victory is enough to carry me through the day.

* FYI- the puppy was fetching a stick.

** Because the kids are mainly learning British English, and because they're only 4 years old and their enunciation isn't that great, they all sound like Ozzy Osbourne. So when you're reading this, make sure that "DIRTY! DIRTY!" is in your best Ozzy voice.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Up for some new snacks? Or just a little chicken?...

So you're out shopping and you find yourself a bit peckish. You're not hungry enough for an entire meal, but you need something bigger than, say, a tic tac. The perfect solution - roasted chick!

But you're craving seafood? Well then, I've got the snack for you: a can of cuttlefish in chili sauce!

Don't ever say I never gave you anything.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas in TX

Finally getting around to posting some photos of the Texas visit over Christmas...

Around my parents' place:

Dad with his miracle machine - an old refrigerator converted to a smoker:

A huge hunk of meat on the grill:

And ready to be eaten:

Our favorite honky-tonk, Joe's Bar:

Where almost everyone drinks beer, but if you order wine they ask you two questions - (1) Red or white? and (2) Large or small? (The large holds half a bottle of wine and costs four dollars.)

And finally, our New Year's Eve bonfire, at which Emily shot Mike in the crotch with a roman candle, causing Kelly to laugh so hard he stumbled into the electric fence:

An auspicious beginning to 2010.

At last

Our luggage was delivered yesterday by a small sweaty man who burst in the door, dropped the bags, yelled "TOILET?!" and then disappeared into our bathroom for ten minutes. But at least now I have clean underwear.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The latest from Continental

Three days after my luggage is lost...

Newark: Your bags are on the flight to Hong Kong - they'll be waiting for you when you arrive.

Hong Kong: Your bags never left Newark - they'll be on the next flight.

Newark: Your bags aren't here. Ask Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: We're so sorry - your bags must be in Newark.

Newark: ....

Me: Are you telling me that no one knows where my bags are?

Holly from Newark: Yes. No! That's not what I'm saying! Wait...yes. No.. They're... we're looking for them.

Me: *gives up all hope of seeing bags again*


From this morning's paper:

A man bought a piece of pork in a Shenzhen supermarket on Wednesday that glows in the dark. He noticed something unusually bright in his kitchen and was shocked to discover it was the meat. The glow appeared to come from around the bone.

"That's what she said" jokes aside, I would say this is yet another reason to go vegetarian, but I suspect that the veggies from Shenzhen glow as well. And as I'm not particular about the sources of the food I consume, I anticipate developing some sort of superpower in the near future. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for invisibility, but flying would be cool too. But I'd settle for an extra arm or eye or something.

Finally home, or Why you should never, ever, fly Continental

Since Kelly and I are going to be flying in and out of Hong Kong several times a year, we decided to maximize the benefits of all of that frequent flying by choosing one airline and sticking to it, thereby consolidating frequent flyer miles. We arbitrarily chose Continental for this - first mistake.

The flight there was uneventful, if a bit uncomfortable (as described in a previous post), but the flight back nearly killed me. Kelly and I were waiting to board our flight in Newark when an announcement was made - the flight was oversold and they were looking for volunteers to travel the next day in exchange for a travel voucher and overnight accommodations. We had a day to spare and thought the vouchers would come in handy, so we volunteered. This was the fatal mistake.

The woman processing the vouchers and rebookings had never done it before, so she had another Continental employee standing over her shoulder and correcting her various errors. At some point this employee was called away, and this must be the point at which our reservations were processed, because ours were the only two that were completely screwed up.

First, we were told that we could claim our luggage at carousel 9 - we just needed to pick it up and proceed to the hotel. This was one of the reasons we agreed to stay overnight - had we known that our luggage wouldn't appear (and still hasn't appeared) and that we'd be wearing the same underwear for the next 50 hours, we might have had second thoughts. So we proceed to luggage claim to wait. And wait. No luggage. We go to the baggage service office, and are told that it's impossible for luggage to travel without the owner on international flights, so we should continue to wait. Another hour later, still no luggage. We return to the baggage service office - oh, well, it looks like your luggage did go to Hong Kong after all. Wait, I thought that was impossible? No, their computers show that it wasn't pulled from the aircraft, so it definitely went - it will be waiting for us in Hong Kong. Okay...

Second, we were told that we would be rebooked on tomorrow's flight. Oops - I guess our lady rebooked ALL OTHER volunteers but "forgot" to rebook us. So we arrive at the airport the next day having been told that all we needed to do was swipe our passports at the kiosk and breeze to the gate, only to have the kiosk meltdown and tell us to see an agent because our itineraries don't match our passports. After waiting in line for one hour, we're told by an agent that we should've been issued boarding passes yesterday (everyone else who volunteered had been) but the agent must have "forgotten", so we were on the oversold list for this flight. That meant that we got seats only if others volunteered to give theirs up. Oh, and we asked about our luggage again - the computer couldn't locate it at all, but we were told it was "probably" in Hong Kong. Just in case, the ticket agent tells us, she'll put in an order for it to be put on the flight today - so if by some random chance it was still in Newark, it would definitely travel with us.

So we proceed to the gate and ask for seat assignments. No, you're on standby, you have to wait at the gate. So we wait. And wait. And wait. The flight begins to board. Other people on standby are called up and issued boarding passes. Still we wait. I visit customer service and the gate agent twice, asking what's going on - am told again to wait. At this point the series of missteps and the staggering level of incompetence has pushed me into a full-blown meltdown. Finally, the gate agent makes an announcement that they're closing the doors in 5 seconds and all passengers should be on board. I rush up and say, "Are we getting on this flight or not?!" - we should've been first on the standby list, as it was their mistake that landed us there. She looks surprised - what are your names again? I tell her, and she finds our boarding passes under a pile of litter on the desk. Sorry, they must have FORGOTTEN to call our names. At this point, I'm fairly sure that all Continental employees are either on drugs or have mild to moderate learning disabilities. But we finally get on the plane - not seated together, both with middle seats (something my careful trip planning had managed to avoid with our original reservations). Whatever, we're on our way home.

I settle in to watch some in-flight entertainment. The monitor promptly breaks.

We arrive at Hong Kong, proceed to the baggage service counter, and (this should come as no surprise) are told that our luggage never left New York. We tell them that it should have been sent yesterday, that even if it wasn't that an order was put in for it to be sent with us today, that the computers in Newark showed that it was definitely waiting for us in Hong Kong. No, no, sorry for the mistake, but their computers show that it's definitely still in Newark. We should received it the next day (today) by midnight. I'm not holding my breath. I have a feeling we're never going to see those bags again.

Moral of the story: NEVER, EVER fly Continental. And if you do, NEVER volunteer to give up your seat - the price you pay is much higher than the measly travel voucher you get in return.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Headed home

I'm looking forward to heading back to Hong Kong tomorrow, and this is why:

Me: *shiver*
My dad: When you shiver, it means that someone walked over your grave.

A few minutes later...

Me: *yawn*
My dad: When you yawn, someone's taking a leak on your headstone.

Gotta love the family visits.