Monday, 27 April 2009

Hiatus in Honkers?

The missus finally arrived in Honkers and we've been exploring the local surroundings so hence the lack of visits to your blogs and updates on this ol' blog of mine. Her indoors has even started a blog of her own, currently documenting the long adventurous trip over here, so please wander over there and give her some encouragement by way of a comment - GauchoGal -

In the meantime just some quick headlines of what's happening here as we try and dodge the swine flu bug and other global disasters.

I found a new vice shortly after arriving in Hong Kong (as if I needed another!) The locals play a game called 'mahjong' which is like 'gin rummy' but played with tiles rather than cards. A friend hosts a game every Sunday and it's a lot of fun especially with a few beers. Since I come from a long line of gamblers and misfits - it's right up my alley or down a slippery slope depending on which way you look at it.
Junk season arrives shortly where a group of people get together and rent a 'junk' boat and head out for the day or night for a bit of a party. I've been out on one trip already and I suppose the term 'booze cruise' is appropriate but the back drop of the Hong Kong skyline makes it a cut above any other water bound shenanigans.

WARNING! - Pot Noodles are dangerously addictive. I had never tried them back home but here they are part of the staple diet and I am hooked. I'm convinced they have a nicotine like drug besides the m.s.g. and I am prone to jumping out of bed in the wee hours to boil the kettle and stir the pot to satisfy the craving. If only I could get out of bed with the same enthusiasm at 7am. Maybe I can patent the noodle patch!

The locals have banded together and made sure we wake up at a reasonable hour by renovating the apartment on the floor above so power drills and hammers are now the norm at 8:30am on Monday to Sunday. Gotta luv the community spirit here!

Tags: .Hiatus in Honkers, Mahjong, Hong Kong, China..
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Friday, 17 April 2009

East VS West - Cultural Differences

I've been raving about how much I like Hong Kong in recent posts but I thought it would be good to document some of my observations on the cultural differences between East and West.

In western culture it seems the norm for old folks to be banded together in bingo halls or homes for the aged where they are left to their own devices and seem for the most part bored shitless. I think the elderly here are given more respect and are definitely more active in society. Every morning they gather in throngs in the parks where they practice Tai Chi which is a form of 'blue rinse' martial arts (slow but graceful). I've seen 80+ year olds that put me to shame with the level of flexibility, dexterity and coordination they possess.

Middle aged/old ladies are extremely aggressive at barging and elbowing their way past you while queuing at bus stops, trams and trains. I've been knocked aside on several occasions.

Americans have a stereotype for being loud, but sit in a locals restaurant with a bunch of old Chinese men at the next table and you better bring ear plugs. They practically scream at each other in ordinary conversation.

Clearing the throat / spitting is more common on mainland China but also prevalent here especially the 'flem tonsil tango' - not too pleasant on the ears.
I've already blogged about how great the food is here but they do eat some strange stuff like boiled or deep fried chickens head (an acquired taste!)

Public Toilets can be a bit daunting at times with the squat toilet apparatus but you do get more thrust using this position.

We had our first cinema experience last night where the crescendo of burps and belches was 'almost' comical. It seems quite acceptable here to let rip, at least from one orifice.

Gambling is absolutely huge here but I've seen many people trying to 'pick a winner' of a different sort.

So if you want to blend here you should ignore western social etiquette and eat whatever you want, spit, burp and pick your nose in public. Maybe Homer Simpson was born here?

Tags: .Cultural differences Hong Kong China Asia spit burp flem pick nose. spitting.

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Friday, 10 April 2009

Four Floors of Whores

I found a cheap flight to Singapore (for u$d150 return) out of Maccau which is an old Portugese colony and about an hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. Considering it's Easter weekend that's a great deal. Singapore has a bit of a reputation for being sterile and strict but I haven't really noticed that too much on this or my last visit. It is not as scenic as Hong Kong but then again few places are.
The food in Singapore is fantastic and I sampled the renowned Tian Tian Chicken Rice supposedly the best in the country. It was good but I preferred the Malaysian version in KL. Alcohol is expensive especially wine and liquor. It's hot and humid here year round so the dress code is more relaxed with sorts and tee-shirt the norm and rarely jackets for business.
There is a big expat community and fairly young (late twenties early thirties) so quite an energetic youthful buzz to the place. They like to party here and there's no shortage of establishments to satisfy all tastes and desires including the 'four floors of whores' which is an entertainment complex (Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road) where apparently there are four floors with different bars and clubs but all offering one thing - Yup, it's a meat market where prostitutes offer their wares. Strangely enough prostitution is legal here but you can be arrested for spitting on the street or jaywalking and chewing gum is a big NO-NO!

Tags: ..4 Four Floors of Whores Singapore 400 Orchard road rd..

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Thursday, 2 April 2009

Shit or Burst!

Things have been a bit mad strange recently.  I'm in a strange land (nought new for me) but without the missus (new for me) and there's been no routine and little structure to everyday life. Much as I've tried, I have little or no job prospects as an ex-banker but that doesn't bother me too much although some say it should.  Should it? 

I tend not to eat super healthy (wonton noodles x 7 days a week) and stay up till the wee hours but alternately I hike like a demon literally drinking up the fantastic scenery that is only a footstep away from the centre of the city.  There's no shortage of social activities and the expat and local people are super friendly.

Her indoors arrives in two weeks time and I've moved from a friends large 2 bedroom apartment to a small studio apartment in preparation.  I love Hong Kong and I really hope we can make things work here but if not I'll chalk it down to a great experience and maybe head back here for a second try someday but that's unlikely in the big scheme of the logic world I live in, so it's "Shit or Burst!" as they say back home.   I hope it's not the latter as you don't want to see what wonton noodles do to my insides!

Tags: .shit or burst..

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