Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We're screwed.

Dammit. Apparently the feng shui master that visits our office every Chinese New Year determined that, in order to ensure the health of everyone in the office, a jar of salt water must be placed directly under my desk. I kicked that damn thing over three times today and then secretly refilled it from my water bottle. The office is doomed and my shoes are ruined.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dickstock 2012

Last week over a few beers, my buddy Max invited me to Lamma for Dickstock 2012 - a live music festival held in some guy named Richard's (hence the name) backyard every year. Food, beer, live music - I'm in. So last night we took the ferry over there and listened to great music, ate sausage on a stick, and drank our weight in Tsingtao.

My favorite band of the night, the Yung Shue Wan Curs:

And me with the handsome husband.

There's something surreal about listening to old Hank Williams songs during Chinese New Year with about a hundred other people in some guy's backyard on an island in Hong Kong while juggling a beer, a camera, and a sausage on a stick. Surreal and awesome. If you're around for it and wrangle an invite, make it a point to head to Dickstock 2013. If for the sausage alone.

Happy birthday!

Today is 人日 - the seventh day of Chinese New Year, it's translated as Human Day. This is the day all humans were created. So technically, it's everybody's birthday. You go get yourself some cake.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Satan Pony

I was having a perfectly lovely Friday evening. After a long day at work I met my handsome husband for dinner and drinks at our favorite bar, then we had a stroll through Central, stopped at a great used bookstore, and then wandering back to the bus stop I saw this:

WTF is wrong with graffiti artists in Hong Kong? Why must they paint the stuff of nightmares? (And this nightmare pony follows closely on the heels of this.)

Where's Banksy when you need him? I want something uplifting.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Snapshots of Hong Kong

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were holidays for Chinese New Year. But it's now Thursday and I'm not at work. Why? Apparently the feng shui calendar declared that today is not an auspicious day to return to work, so we don't have to go in until tomorrow - at 11 no less! (that being the optimal time to begin work in the new year). I'm not a religious or superstitious person, but giving me an extra day off is a good way to gain my sympathies. I'm now a believer.

So I'm taking my extra day off to clean out the photos on my phone. Here are a few random shots:

Hair falling out? Try this "Anti-Hair Fall shampoo" - endorsed by Jackie Chan!

Corn chocolate. Do not want.

Just a dragon getting on a minibus:

A huge banner hanging in Central - "Drug Driving may be Your Journey to Death." Never fails to raise my spirits.

Heh. Heh heh heh.

And these two had just wandered out of the KFC in the mall next door:

Kung Hei Fat Choi, again!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The saddest graffiti in the world

I have to find a new way to get into Central every day, because I just can't walk by this anymore.

The panda isn't crying - the paint is just running. Right? Right??

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hong Kong in orange and red

Most of these photos are pretty blurry, but this gives you an idea of HK's color scheme this time of year. The word for tangerine sounds like the word for "luck", so these little orange trees are everywhere -

And red, which is supposed to drive away bad luck and the legendary beast Nian -

At least, these are the explanations that Google gives me.

Also, here's what the streets of Tuen Mun looked like yesterday, the first day of Chinese New Year - eerily deserted:

It was like a "28 Days Later"/Chinese New Year crossover. No bumping into people on the street, no being blocked in by a group of 20 schoolgirls chattering and eating ice cream, no having the sidewalk blocked by an elderly couple walking side by side at .0025 km/hour... it was wonderful.

But headed into Central tonight for the festivities, which I'm pretty sure will be a different story.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dog(s and Thieves)

Spent a freezing New Year's Eve at Victoria Harbour with one of my oldest friends, beer.

Then headed over to Lamma to meet some guys at a bar and have more beer and somehow ended up missing the ManU game. But now it's the first day of the new year and I've got to pull it together - remember gweilos, do NOT leave the house today without plenty of these:

Your entire building staff is waiting. The cleaning staff will be in the lobby all day, sweeping the same corners for hours. The doormen will change shifts every ten minutes. The maintenance guy will magically find something to "fix" on your floor...

In other news, if you missed the video of the Chinese university professor calling Hong Kongers "dogs and thieves", it's been removed from YouTube as a violation of their policy on hate speech. But you can still see video of the original incident on the MTR here.

I don't know where I come down on this. Like most Hongkies, I definitely feel the tension at this time of year when the city is invaded by mainlanders. But pushing the emergency stop button because a kid was eating noodles? I guess we all have our breaking points, but mine is probably closer to "child pooping in a bag in the middle of the street" than "eating noodles on the train."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Danger Danger!

The temperature has dropped precipitously and the Hong Kong Government has issued a Cold Weather Warning.

Residents are advised to stay indoors, but "If you must go out, please avoid prolonged exposure to wintry winds."

Also, "If you know of elderly persons or persons with chronic medical conditions staying alone, please call or visit them occasionally to check if they need any assistance."

It is currently 55 degrees.

I'm dealing with the dangerous conditions like so:

And speaking of warnings, this photo is Hong Kong in a nutshell:

Build a beautiful fountain with floating flowers to class up the place; in planning stages do not anticipate that said fountain (a) is too small to contain the volume of water pumped through, and (b) is in the entryway to a popular restaurant; fix problem by placing FOUR warning signs around said fountain. Done!

It's lovely.

Friday, January 20, 2012

That time of year

Kelly gets home tonight after five weeks out of town. I was planning on going to meet him at the airport, but I'm pretty sure I don't remember what he looks like anymore. So I'm just gonna assume that whoever shows up at my door around 9:30 is my husband. This could make for an awkward pizza delivery.

And Monday is the big day - Chinese New Year. Hope everyone's well stocked up on these:

The bane of gweilo existence. Who do I give them to again? How much for the doorman? Wait - do I even know this kid? Oh god I forgot to go to the bank and I only have crumpled bills whatdoIdo??

You have two choices:

1. Hand out lai see incorrectly; or
2. Stay indoors for the next five days.

There is no other option. Choose wisely.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

With Chinese New Year coming up, I'd just like to throw this out there - more lion (tiger?) dances should be like this.

The butt wiggle at 2:07 delights me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Luck and prosperity for the New Year!

Today I had a meeting with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, during which the heel of my shoe broke off. I realized this when the meeting ended, I stood up, and promptly fell over.

"Well, it was nice meeting y-"
faceplant on conference table

Limping to my bus stop afterwards, I passed this sign at McDonald's - special for Chinese New Year, the Prosperity Burger!

That burger does not look like prosperity. Unless prosperity looks like a slice of human brain coated with teriyaki sauce. In which case I'm cool without any prosperity this year, thanks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The best part of my morning

This guy and his brother live in the dried seafood shop beside my office building. They're my favorite part of going to work and I love them.

They, on the other hand, do not seem to care about me at all. But I guess if you're a cat living in a seafood shop your life is pretty much perfect and you don't need some huge gweilo babytalking and messing up your hair every morning.

In other news, my office is blasting music and I am currently listening to a very odd new age cover of New Order's Blue Monday. I don't know how I feel about this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More progress!

HUGE EXCITING NEWS: The supermarket next door has just started carrying frozen pizza.

So this is what my grocery shopping looks like when my husband is out of town:

In slightly related news, it turns out that eating a 7-11 sandwich for breakfast every morning for a month has no negative health consequences.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Mark your calendars, people!

Apparently In-N-Out is coming to Hong Kong for FOUR HOURS ONLY on Sunday the 15th. I imagine the line will be longer than when the new Apple store opened, so get there early.

Information here!

Please god, let this be true...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What have I done??

Occasionally 7-11 runs a promotion where for every $10 you spend, you get a sticker. You then collect those stickers to redeem for one of the toys that they're currently carrying. You may recall that a few years ago I became obsessed with the kewpie doll food products they had. I love collecting this stuff.

But the current toys are Hello Kitty. And I do not like Hello Kitty. At all.

Here's how the story starts: recently at work I overheard one of my new coworkers say that she was collecting the stickers to try to get all of the Hello Kitty toys. So I started giving her all of the stickers I collected. And I collect a lot of stickers (when you buy your wine at 7-11, they tend to pile up). She's a huge Hello Kitty fan and was completely baffled as to why I would do this, so to avoid hurting her feelings I told her that I collected too many of these toys and my husband told me I couldn't have any more. Big mistake.

And when she said, "I'm so glad I found someone else who loves Hello Kitty!" (like that's so difficult to find in Hong Kong) I just nodded and smiled. Bigger mistake.

Apparently to her this all translated as "OMG I luvvvvv Hello Kitty SO MUCH but my meanie husband won't let me have them :( :( ;( "

And then the horror began.

First, she brought me a Hello Kitty keychain.

Then a small figurine of Hello Kitty riding a unicorn (pictured above).

Then a Hello Kitty mechanical pencil.

And today? Today a framed drawing of Hello Kitty.

My desk at work looks like a developmentally disabled gay unicorn vomited all over it. How do I stop this madness??

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

File this under "Things That Would Never Happen in America"

Today my coworker saw me having lunch and said, "Oh my god - you like cheese? I'm SO glad I found somebody else that likes cheese!"

Friday, January 6, 2012


Yesterday at the market someone asked me something in Cantonese when I wasn't really paying attention, and I immediately responded in Canto without going through the usual *translate Canto to English...okay that's what he's saying....now translate reply from English to Canto*. A great victory!

I used to think these little victories were a problem, because then people assumed I was fluent in Canto and would attempt to hold whole conversations with me. After faking my way through many of these, I've learned that faking it is one of the best ways to learn. So you go on with your non-fluent self and hold a full conversation with someone in Canto. The worst that can happen is that they think you're slightly mentally imbalanced when you answer "How many of these do you want?" with "Over there." And they already think you're crazy anyway.

In other mundane anecdotal news, coming home from work today I saw my bus pulling up to the stop when I was still a block and a half away. I started running full speed down the sidewalk, my coat flapping, tiny Chinese people flying everywhere, until I made it to the stop panting and sweating... and saw that it wasn't my bus. I stopped short while the bus still had its doors open and there was a moment when the driver and I locked eyes as I just stood there wild-eyed and gasping for breath. It seemed to last... forever. The driver looked terrified. Then he slowly closed the doors, and without ever taking his eyes from me, slowly merged back into traffic.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

All up in 2012

After ringing in the new year by drinking multiple miniature bottles of white wine on a flight from Texas, I'm settled back in Hong Kong. So far I've got to say that 2012 is treating me very well. The next few months are well mapped out, with one of my best childhood friends coming to visit next week, a trip to Australia in February, then a visit from my sister in March, then a trip to Barcelona in June, then (finally!) the Trans-Siberian this summer.

The only downside at the moment - I'm pretty sure someone broke into my flat while I was on holiday in Texas and replaced all of my pants with identical versions one size smaller. The police have been of no help.

I hope everyone else is doing great as well!

P.S. - Eff the gym - my new year's resolution is to be better about keeping up this blog. We'll see how that goes.