Sunday, January 28, 2007

A post about nothing.......

But without Seinfeld's ratings.

Yesterday was a very interesting day. No real reason for that, I meandered around Hong Kong, and amazingly enough left Wanchai relatively early. However it was just one of those days, a good day, with some unusual twists and turns.

Woke up at a reasonable hour-which is amazing in itself, given how late I stayed in Lan Kwai Fong on Friday night- and slid on out for some breakfast. Normally the hotel offers miso soup, which, among its other abilities is reknowned for its ability to cure a hangover. Today is was just congee and more congee. A food I have never really acquired a taste for. However I knew I needed nutrients and fluids so waded through breakfast, all the while reading the trials and tribulations of Hong Kong in the South China Morning Post.

Breakfast complete, back to the room to map out the day. Check e-mail, read some blogs, listen to the BBC on the "telly". Watch the maid flinch in horror when she opens the door to clean the room and sees that I have used all the towels and left water from the shower on the bathroom floor. (Next time I have to remember to put the curtain inside the bathtub......). Could you come back in 20 minutes please? I promise to be gone by then.

Out the door and out on to Nathan Road. The big question of course, which way? Jump on the MTR and head north to Mongkok and points beyond or back over to HK island. I opt for option 2.

The weather is nice, but there is a little coolness in the air. I emphasize the word little. You would never know that from the look of the Hong Kong citizenry though. They are all dressed in coats looking like the snow was going to start any minute. I've never seen so many girls in fur lined boots even in Tokyo or Hokkaido. What's up with that?

Meander down towards the Penisula Hotel, taking a quick stroll through their lobby. Someday when I can afford to blow 350 dollars a night on a hotel room I will stay there.

Through the underpass and come up the stairs to witness a scene I wish I had brought my camera for. Walking in front of the entrance to the stairs are two women with strollers, jabbering in Cantonese. In tow are two boys who could not have been more that five years old or so. Boy #1 turns around and smacks boy #2 for no reason. Mom #1 yells at boy #1 who simply shrugs it off. His attention was fixed on his victim, boy #2. He acknowledges Mom's remonstrance, then puts his hands on his hips and gives boy #2 a "There! I showed you!" type of look. The look on his face was priceless. An animated conversation between the Moms and the boys ensues in Cantonese and off they head for the Harbor. Me too.

Its a beautiful day, but with Hong Kong's characteristic haze on Victoria peak. The Harbor is especially "fragrant" this morning. Coming up to the walk of the stars I spot an Aerospatiale helicopter making some knots, paralleling the coast of Hong Kong Island. Somebody has some money! It gets lower and lower and it sets down just to the left of the Hong Kong convention center. I'm intrigued, because just in front of the where it sets down is the USS Rentz, tied to a mooring buoy. I'm surprised because, not having ever cruised in Westpac, I thought small boys went pierside. Must have sucked for the guys in the duty section and on restriction. The ship was just a stone's throw from the joys of Wanchai. At night with some imagination they could probably see the lights of Jaffe street.

While I thank God in heaven for never having been a ship driver, I always thought it must be really cool to be a surface ship Commanding Officer in a port visit like this. No admiral looking over your shoulder, no CAG and his entire staff, just you and your responsibility for what your crew does. Plus I am told there is no way a carrier could ever be anchored that close to shore in Hong Kong.

Time to move on. Down the harbor towards the Star Ferry. People still dressed like they are in Alaska in February. Pause from time to time to admire the view. Decide that I have killed enough time and head for the entrance to the Star Ferry. I wanted to see what all the fuss had been about.

Now here is where the weird stuff begins. Climbing the stars to the upper deck entrance of the ferry to Central, a Pakistani man or Indian man stops me and says that I have a lucky face. He says he noticed that I was there physically but my mind was somewhere else. (Which was true-I was thinking and talking to my self under my breath). He tells me that while I have been moderately successful in business I am seeking, I've not been really advancing in my life. WTF?

I thank him and try to move on, but the fellow just does not want to give it up. He tells me that 2007 will be a lucky year for me and that an golden opportunity will present itself to me in a couple of months. (For SJS, mind you this was after I read your e-mail....).He continues on pointing out his ability to read the future. He asks me to take my sunglasses off. He says my worry lines around my eyes show that I think too much. I'm trying to figure out : 1) if this one of the "destiny moments" that one sees in the movies or 2) the little bastard is waiting for the right moment to hit me up for money. Sadly, I decide its option 2. I thank him profusely, but tell him I really need to run. At first he seems determined to continue talking about me and my life but I think he finally grasped that I am buying the fact that he does not know me from Adam and I have a right to be suspicious. Nonetheless, the incident bothers me for a good while after. Did I just blow a good thing?

On to the Ferry admiring a really beautiful Chinese girl. Her eyes were to die for. (Her breasts were not too bad either. ;-) ). Across the harbor to the new Central Ferry terminal, which for what my opinion is worth is not as well located as the old one was. It also tries to look historic, but does not really pull it off well. If you come to Hong Kong in the future, be aware that you will not be were you used to be, especially in finding the right bus que.

Walk around Central, through the park and up to the HSBC building. One thing I have noticed in the past couple of days is the increased number of police I have seen around. In the park by the Legco building I finally figure out why. It must be open season on visa overstayers, because any woman who looks even remotely Filipino or Indonesian is being shaken down for their indentity card. One poor woman is sitting with a sad face while the policeman is talking hurriedly in Cantonese on his radio. He is holding what looks like an indentity card. ( The girls in Neptunes last night told me that the police had raided the place doing the same thing then.)

I decide its really time to check out SoHo, something suprisingly in all my HK visits I've never really done. So I walk on over to that marvel of suburban transportation, the mid-levels escalator. ( Or Travelator as it is known). Up, up, up the hill I go till I get to the holy of holies-THE KRISPY KREME store! Which just happens to be located next to a bar. Had a donut then moved to the bar for lunch. For what it is worth, they make great burgers at McSorleys'. Properly beered and fed I worked my way up the hill again.

One of the things I never knew was that there is a mosque in the mid-levels. That was a surprise. Saw several terrorists Muslims coming out. Spotted a book store-like an idiot I went in. 356 Hong Kong Dollars poorer I come out with a book about the 1956 Suez war and a John Grisham novel.

Stumble, and I do mean stumble, across the Sun Yat Sen museum. Its not a great museum really, however I have been to the one in Singapore so I thought it was appropriate to check the square here. The building it is in is beautiful-it should be- as it used to be a Mormon temple. Somehow the Mormons were "persuaded" to give it up in 2004.

Being a history buff of sorts I've always wanted see how the stinking commies PRC dealt with Sun Yat Sen given that he has a direct link to the history that became Taiwan and both nations revere the man. The exhibits were mostly factual, but the verbiage used was interesting. He is always portrayed as a revolutionary. That's suprising given the fact that he was also a real doctor and never held government office for that long. He did, however, set into motion the chain of events that brought down the Qing dynasty.

By now it was 3 o'clock. I decided that I thought I should see Kolwoon Bay-I've never ridden the MTR to that part of the New Territories. That decision proved itself to be a big mistake. The MTR lets you off in a shopping mall-complete with Ikea-but not near a bay at all. AND, as an extra added bonus, I got the distinct impression that I was in a gweilo not wanted zone as I walked around looking for a way out from the apartment buildings.

Which was troublesome, given the fact that I knew hordes of Indonesian maids and others would be converging on Laguna while I walked amidst the Scandavian furniture items.

So with the sun just beginning to set I beat a hasty retreat, via 3 trains, back to Wanchai.

As for the rest of the day........well you know the story. I did, however, come back reasonably early enough to awake today with out too much trouble. That is progress. Klong had their "closing party" last night. Cute girls in Blue Girl dresses pushed too many Blue Girl beers on me.

A good day- probably boring to read about. But it was mine, and for some silly reason I'm going to treasure it as I head for Seoul in a few hours. Silly me.


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