I ran to the grocery store on Friday for beer, and it was a MADHOUSE. People crowded the aisles (well, the beer aisle was clear, which was nice - usually it's full of elderly men spending 20 minutes picking out the ONE can of beer they're going to buy), the lines reached the back of the store - you could barely move. I finally got home, checked out the Hong Kong news, and it turns out that people were madly buying up all of the salt (iodine), bananas (potassium) and rice (just 'cause) in town in response to the threat of radiation.
But Friday afternoon I had to meet a friend at Starbucks. When I got there it was packed. No seats, a line of about fifty people snaking around the restaurant and down the stairs - again, you couldn't even move.
I thought "Great - some jerk has started a rumor that coffee protects you from radiation and now there won't be coffee in Hong Kong for weeks." But I'm a cynical ass. From 4:30-5:30 on Friday Starbucks was donating all profits to aid for Japan. And I'm even more of an ass for seeing the long line, being too lazy to wait, and buying a Nescafe at 7-11 instead.
The primary reason we traveled to this area of Shenzhen was that the last time we'd been there we saw that holy grail of all displaced Americans - a Tex-Mex restaurant. After almost two taco-less years in Hong Kong (soft tacos DO NOT COUNT), we were desperate. So in we walked to:
We started with chips and four kinds of salsa: red, tomatillo, black bean, and pico de gallo, and all were excellent. Tasted straight out of Texas. I have no idea where they get the tomatillos, but that was some damn fine salsa.
Kelly had one of the only vegetarian options - the Mexican crepe. Basically crepes filled with cheese and peppers. He said it was good, but didn't look terribly excited.
But here's what I'd been waiting for - TACOS. Four beautiful, crunchy, heavenly tacos.
One of the happiest moments of my life.
But we didn't only have Tex-Mex (although that would've been fine by me). We also had Indian:
And possibly the worst thing I've ever had in my life - Dunkin' Donut's "NEW Salty Munchikins!"
After we ate one the guy behind the counter saw the looks on our faces and just started laughing - "Hahaha! Terrible! Terrible! Hahahahaha!"
Last weekend Kelly and I decided to get away. To leave mobile phones and laptops at home. To spend time just... together. Getting to know each other again. Remembering why we fell in love. Gazing into each other's HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh... my god... *wipes tear from eye*
Sorry. We went away last weekend because we saw this amazingly kitsch hotel a few months ago in Shenzhen and we haven't been able to stop thinking about it. So off we went to... Cruise Inn:
This is an old cruise ship that used to be docked in Shenzhen Bay. But as the bay was reclaimed around it, it became landlocked. It's now a hotel/restaurant complex and it is a wonderland.
First the completely-over-the-top (even for China) lobby:
You can't tell from the photo, but yes - that is a moat filled with koi surrounding the grand piano.
And then on to our room. Kelly booked the "Romantic Seaview Cabin", which looked something like this:
(the most tiles I've seen in a bathroom, ever.)
But... why is this "romantic"? Because the bed is pink? Oh no. It's because that big pink bed is a waterbed. *cue 70's porn music*
After we stopped hysterically laughing, we went to explore the ship. This place is like the Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory of alcohol. Everywhere you looked there was a different bar with a different theme. There was the German beer garden (that brews its own beer) on the top deck:
The Sichuan place for Tsingtao and grilled corn:
The "gentlemen's club" for brandy and cigars:
And then "X-Ta-Sea" - a sports bar teeming with obese 70-year-old white men with young Chinese hotties on each arm, and an intensely bad cover band:
Lastly, here's Kelly at the demolition site in front of our hotel. This was an amphitheater and shopping area last time we were here, but is now completely destroyed. Of course Kelly was fascinated and we spent several hours (okay, minutes; but it seemed like hours) each day staring at the bulldozers.
Next post, what we did in Shenzhen (primarily, EAT).