Monday, June 21, 2010

Lessons learned?

Kelly is handsome, brilliant, hilarious, easy-going, but sometimes he doesn't, well, learn.

For example, he likes to spend hours at the cafe next door working on philosophy. Hours. A few days ago I walked by on the way to the market and thought I would pop in to say hello. I saw his computer sitting unattended on a table, but no Kelly. I assumed he was in the bathroom, so I waited. Five minutes passed, ten minutes... I got tired of waiting so I typed out a long note on his screen telling him that it's dangerous to leave his computer unattended. He thought I was being silly.

And yesterday, while he was in the bathroom at the coffee shop, his computer was stolen. He was actually surprised by this.

So, $1,200 and a new MacBook Pro later, he's getting ready to go work at the coffee shop.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup

The Hong Kong government recently issued a series of guidelines for citizens to follow during the World Cup. For example, people should remember to eat. They should try to go to work. They should get up and stretch every now and then. They should consider toasting goals with water instead of alcohol. Apparently no one is listening to this because the city is complete madness. The first game starts at 7:30 p.m., the last at 2:30 a.m. Bars are open all night, the streets of my neighborhood are insane, and there are people stumbling home from pubs at 6 a.m.

Last night Kelly was at a bar watching the USA-Slovenia game until 1:30 a.m. This was our conversation this morning:

Me: Why is your hair full of food?
Kelly: Leave me be!

*sigh* How many more weeks of this?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mainland hotels

On my last trip to the mainland I stayed in the Kai Ping Hotel in, well, Kaiping. This place is a prime example of why I love staying in the mainland. Here's my room:

Bathroom (this photo doesn't show the flat screen TV mounted over the huge bathtub):

Living room (also with flat screen TV):

And bedroom (with...flat screen TV!):

All of this was about $40 USD per night.

Also included with most hotel rooms are an array of sexual aids, like "Miss Sex oil":

which promises to "enhance woman sexualty" and "dispell peculiar odours." I didn't try it out.

And if you're really lucky, your hotel room will come with some Chinese fashion magazines. It looks like the guys at Jeep are still really into the double popped collar:

Aaaand apparently the new trend for this season is silver belts and mom jeans. On men with hair helmets:

And the perks just keep on comin'. Tomatoes fashioned into bunnies at breakfast:

And clean public "Tolies":

Additionally (and this is the strangest thing), the beds were soft - not the typical rock-hard beds you get in the mainland (although the guest services book did offer something called a "bed board" if you found them too soft.) I was fine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The cure for what ails you

I took another jaunt to Guangdong province this week to eat great Sichuan food and buy pirated DVDs (the packaging of the last season of "Lost" proclaims it to be "a Good-Heated Tween Comey") and will post some photos soon, but first some photos of the pharmacy I visited in Shenzhen.

The pharmacy is divided into sections so you can easily find what you're looking for. For example, are you both cautious and into sports?

How's your cheek? Eyebrow?

And...well...I don't know:

Within these sections you can find all sorts of miracle cures, like:


These are all the photos I could take before a pharmacist politely asked me to put my camera away. Damn! I didn't even get a photo of the "seal fur oil" pills with the cute cartoon baby seal on the front or the "Take Away Under Arm Smell" deodorant. Next time...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fun with scammers

Earlier this year Kelly and I posted an ad on Craigslist for an apartment swap. We were lucky enough to connect with a very pleasant family in Paris, but 90% of the responses we received were from scam artists. And not very skilled ones, at that. Look, I'm just not going to believe that you have a four million pound flat in London if you don't use capital letters, write "u" for "you", and can't spell "Britain" correctly.

Here's how most of these scams work. You get a response from someone who wants to swap apartments with you. The photos they provide are clearly pulled straight from the internet (one of the photos still had the watermark across it). If you look closely at the photos you'll see, for example, that the photo of the kitchen has a dining room in the background. But the photo of the dining room is a completely different room. If you ask about it, the response is that the flat has TWO dining rooms. But we can't expect these guys to be savvy about luxury properties, as a quick IP address search will show that most of them are e-mailing from Nigeria. Eventually they ask you for a security deposit and then disappear.

So you can see that it would take superhuman effort to resist having a bit of fun with them.

"Joe" emailed me, ostensibly from London but with an IP address that showed he was in Nigeria, saying this:


Am Joe, i have a two bedroom flat for swap at Gower Street,

Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6HG,it's very big apartment,it can accommodate
up to six people,......

it's as an allocated packing space

The flat is a 2 bedroom apartment and it has the following facilities:

Sheets & Blankets
Single Bed

The Living room
Internet Connection
cable and internet

The Kitchen
Full-size stack able washer/dryer
Plates & cutlery
Washing Machine
Electric Hob

General Description
And a balcony with a wonderful view of central London.


Wow! The apartment sleeps six people with only a single bed? The kitchen is furnished? And the living room is equipped with an iron? Sounds great!

So I emailed him back, saying that my husband and I were very anxious to see Farfel Square on Farfelnarfel Boulevard - is his flat close? Of course it is!

Hello Ellen,

yes my apartment is available and yes is very close to farfel square,how many people a re coming.



So I emailed and said I was VERY excited to be near Farfelnarfel Boulevard, and I hoped he was excited about coming to Hong Kong. Does he like Chinese food? The flooter dumplings with nooter sauce are excellent!

His next email, sadly, did not mention my flooter nooter dumplings, but asked for a security deposit. Well, I can't send money to someone who might not like dumplings. My email back:

Joe, do you like flooter dumplings with nooter sauce?

I anxiously await his response.