<![CDATA[Yes, it is true. I'm about to get on a plane to the USA, saying farewell to Hong Kong (as a resident) for sometime. We're packing up and returning to Washington this evening, well, tomorrow, whatever.
I've really liked it here, but in the end, we had to go back to deal with some things in the USA that require our full attention. I suspect we may be back here one day--this is a fun place to live, but there are some problems that need to be solved in China first (pollution being #1). The city is losing a lot of families because of the air, though no one seems to notice yet as most people focus on making money day and night (problem #2 in China).
Anyway, off to Seoul tonight, then to IAD on a direct flight from Korea. No time to look around in Korea, but maybe there will be some good food in the airport (ha!)
<![CDATA[I saw an interesting story the other night on the Moken people, a gypsy like tribe of fisherman in Burma, Thailand, etc. They had relatively light casualties during the tsunami last year because they knew what was coming. How did they know? A campfire song tells the Legend of the Seven Waves and has been passed down by the generations over several hundred years. When someone saw the warning signs, that coincided with the words in the song, he sounded the alarm. It took people awhile to believe that the song had come to life, but they quickly scrambled for higher ground and were saved as the waves crashed their village.
Kind of amazing actually.]]>
<![CDATA[It's one of the Grand Sumo tournaments in Japan today. I have been watching a bit over the past few days (like I have anything else to do while home with this fricking flu) and noticed one guy was winning quite a bit. I finally checked it out and his name is Asashoryu, the mighty Mongolian. His 12-0 start to the Osaka tournament placed him only One Win Away from his 11th Emperor’s Cup and culminated a 27 bout win streak.
But today was different. Tochiazuma, the relatively average Japanese wrestler, fought with him for nearly 30 seconds until he managed to pull him down with a quick turn out of the ring. But the instant replay confirmed what the officials saw–it was basically a tie. Both wrestlers hit the ground at nearly the same instant. No way to call one the winner or the other.
So they fought again. The crowd was going nuts (as nuts as they could sitting indian style on these little mats) and the fight again lasted nearly 30 seconds before Tochiazuma flipped him over to break the unbeaten streak. The little cushions under everyone’s seats went flying on to the stage. A huge upset in a sport I never watch or really care about, but hell, I was sick and I had nothing better to do.
Way to go Tochiazuma!]]>
<![CDATA[In case anyone ever asked that question in Hong Kong, you'd have to answer "at the Rugby 7s."
The Rugby 7s were last weekend and were pretty fun to watch, not only for the sport but for the audience participation (singing along "Heeey Baby, I wannnaa know, will you be my girl?" and the general "imperialist" overtones of the whole thing. Here was an event in which basically EVERY expat in Hong Kong was in attendance. In fact, some of my friends who could find the place were given these instructions from me:
"Find some gwailos (white people) in Causeway Bay and just follow them."
Sure enough, they found us. The first words they said "I never knew there were this many gwailoes in Hong Kong!"
It was kind of odd. I don't really notice the fact I'm a minority because basically, I don't see myself when I'm looking at others. I just look around and all I see are people. Just people in my way, people trying to sell me things, people trying to take my subway seat. People.
Sometimes I have to make myself look and say "ok, how many Chinese are on this subway train....1, 2,3...and everybody" which is probably how many Chinese feel when they come to America and see all the white folk running around (though we have Africans and Latinos and a whole mix they probably aren't accustom to coming from 99.999 recurring Chinese-China).
Anyway, it was kind of interesting Rugby, a chance for all the expats to get together, do business deals (there were many going on) and catch up with old friends from "the club" or "prep school" or "friends of such and such in London." After it was all over they dispersed back into the general population, but it was kind of odd to see everyone all in one place for just a few hours.
<![CDATA[We went out the other night to sing Chinese karaoke at this swank karoke place with private rooms in Causeway Bay. I was actually kind of interested in participating, until I was unable to find any decent songs on the song list. Sure they had lots of Beatles, but no Clash, Sex Pistols, Garbage or anything written in the last 20 years (besides Brittney Spears and the Spice Girls). After belting out a rough rendition of Wannabe by the Spice Girls, I settled back to watch the Chinese music take over.
However, music was not present. Sure, my guests played songs. Dozens and dozens of songs, but with only 2 exceptions out of the 50+ songs chosen, THERE WAS NO MUSIC! It was just this sappy light blah-blah-blah singing that you would get out of a BackStreet Boys love ballad. No guitars, no strings, no keyboards, no drums. Just elevator music with love lyrics! AGHAGH!!!! I can endure hours of people talking Chinese, but people singing Chinese, without any redeeming musical value was a bit much to ask.
I finally broke down, pulled out my iPod and put on the New Zealand All Blacks war cry the "Haka". I did the Haka complete with leg slaps and chest thumps and screaming out in some Maori language "I am Death" basically. Everybody kind of paused and said "that was too scary" before resuming the "I love you, you love me" festival of singing.
And we stayed until 2:00 am and now I'm sick.]]>
<![CDATA[Well, I've made it a number of months here, but I guess fate would have it that I would have to eventually get sick in Hong Kong. Of course, staying out til 2:00 am singing kareoke and hanging out all weekend at a rugby tournament with less than stellar quality food didn't really help the situation.
So now I'm bed, feeling like crap, running a fever. Thank god SARS isn't still a threat or I'd be in quarantine by now.
Unfortunately, I've lost my appetite. Nothing sounds good--nothing tastes good. I look at food and get sick, and anything I eat I have to ask "how is this going to taste coming up?"--a lesson I learned the hard way after throwing up Fruit Loops once (man, those sugar coated things really really hurt).
Anyway, stuck in bed for awhile. Maybe I'll get some pictures up here.]]>
<![CDATA[Just got home from the Rugby World Cup at Hong Kong stadium. Hong Kong is known for hosting the premiere Rugby 7s tournament (as compared to a normal 15- a side rugby game) and this year they actually hosted the Rugby World Cup for Sevens. It was a pretty neat event, which is only part sport, part social occassion of the year for the expats.
Some friends were trying to find us and after failing to follow my directions (they didn't know which way was South) I finally gave up and said "Get to this point" (which we both knew) and then if you see a Gwailo (white person) just follow them. All the gwailoes in Hong Kong are here at the Rugby so you shouldn't have any problem. They did, and found us late in the day up in our seats in the upper deck.
The rugby was pretty good, with the semi-final games being the best events of the whole tournament. NZ vs. Fiji ended up being the final, and my adopted All Blacks fell pretty handily to a much stronger Fijian side. I think because the All Blacks didn't get to do a Haka they were playing slightly understrength. I did see some fans do a Haka, but it wasn't quite the same.
Anyway, pictures to come soon.
<![CDATA[Yea I saw a French film yesterday, but it was (for about half of the movie) the anti-French film which was kind of cool
36 Quai des Orf?Ã‚Â®vres is the address of the French police, kind of like Scotland Yard is in the UK. Two police captains are angling for a promotion, but they first have to find and eliminate a violent gang of armored car robbers (sounds like Heat). They also have some unspoken hostility toward one another regarding a woman (after all, it is a French film).
The movie is kind of a cop movie for the first half, with some rough stuff and explosions, but then turns into a kind of thriller / political movie in the second half as plot twists start to jump at you. The ending serves justice well, though you could kind of guess the last plot twist before it happens.
Anyway, not sure if it is out in America, but worth seeing when it does arrive.
<![CDATA[So the area under my desk is really scuffed up from shuffling chairs and feet over the last six months. As it was a nice shiny hardwood when I moved in, I wanted to restore the look to something at least similar.
I waxed the floor yesterday in the middle of the day to see if it would work. It did--it looked really nice, until the wife got home and slopped through the area I waxed not once, not twice, but three times. Each time I had to get a sponge and clear off her tracks and reapply a little wax here and there.
Finally, at the end of the night, I decided I'll do it again now that footsie is down marching through here. I did a large area, surrounded it with chairs and boxes and things so people wouldn't march through it.
Five minutes later she went around the box, between the chair, and marched through it once again.
Shades of the soup battle.]]>