Social Icons


16 Oct 2005

HK: Steam Room/Pocari Sweat

Well, work sort of exploded, so I didn't end up going to Macau yesterday. I had some work business to attend to [oooh, that sounds nefarious, dosen't it?]. I will have to save that for my next trip.

I decided I wasn't getting enough excersise, so yesterday and today I've gone swimming in the hotel pool. As mentioned, its a lovely pool, and there is something else lovely I just discoverd today - the steam room.

The steam room at my gym in SF is a nasty sort of place, where it smells like death is growing. Not so here. Its all minty fresh, with no hint of death. Who knew?! Probably all of you did, but I was rather surprised. I also had a nice 5-head shower after the swim.

I bet you're still wondering what Pocari Sweat is. Its a sports drink! Fun! It sort of just tastes sweet. I've been accidnetally buying distilled water once in a while, making me nervous about my poor electrolytes, so what better to replace them than sweat? :) Hot. Also, they have this fantastic aloe drink "slimwel aloe". I love it. I think I will check out the asian grocery stores at home - it has super fantastic taste and texture, and I have a strong belief if I drink/apply enough aloe something good is bound to happen!

"POCARI SWEAT is a health oriented drink which supplies water and quickly absorbed...due to its fine osmolality..." mmm.


14 Oct 2005

HK: Women, tend your children

Shocking. HK is terribly dangerous for young ones. If you bring them here, you are placing them at great peril.

Yes, its true - the Listerine bottle does not have a child-proof cap. I've yet to confirm this, but probably dozens of little children die every day.

Please be careful. I am surprised at the criminal negligence practised by Listerine. It is our duty to freshen our adult breath, since so many little children have laid down their lives so we can have healthy teeth and gums.

Bottom's up!


HK: Hygiene

I thought HK would be super germ concious, with everyone sanitizing all the time and wearing masks everywhere and washing their hands all the time.

It is not so.

They are just regular, with a standard of hygiene one would expect in any first world country. People still touch doorknobs, eat with their hands sometimes when they should have washed their hands first, etc. - in fact, I think California with its many 'Wash your hands before you return towork' signs is more hyper about such things.

Talking to locals, they seem to think that people have forgotton about SARS, and have not quite learned their lesson.

I haven't forgotten you, SARS. Rest in Peace, dear SARS - gone but not forgotten. I will wash my hands in your name.

(I think I'm more likely to get Legionnaire's. I will stay out of minivans for this reason.)

HK: KennyG

If you're curious as to what the big K is up to, I suspect he's moved to Asia. While I was at the gym I was watching TV (biking) I saw him giving a concert with popular asian musicians. It was pretty trippy - I'm not sure if he's popular here or not, I will have to ask around. (Yes, the first TV I watched here was VH1, so sue me). Hmm, at the time this seemed very funny to me.

As a side note, I think I'm losing my ability to speak English. It is not being replaced by anything though - I'm just a simpleton now. The more I talk with people who mostly understand English (but not fully), the more I naturally simplify what I am saying, and move my hands around a lot. By the time I get back, I might not know any big words. Please use your grade six vocabulary when you talk to me. Thank you.

HK: Trip Extended

One more week away! Fun! This means I will try and visit Macau this weekend (oct15) - also I will try and visit Repulse Bay.

HK: Lounging with Locals

Thursday night I went for dinner with a supplier that I had previously met in the US. When I went for dinner I wasn't sure if it was going to be a business dinner, friendly dinner, weird-dinner or what....

Turns out it was quite fun! He brought his friends along, and we spent a typical Thursday night out in HK! His friends where two flight attendants, a fireman and a driver (he is in sales). The whole night we were in Tsim Sha Tsui (for your reference). First, we went for drinks. Apparently in HK they usually play games instead of just chatting over drinks. So first we played this INSANE game with blinking lights and beeping, where if you were the last person to hit the button when the beeping stopped you got this massive shock. That wasn't so fun. ;p Then we played dice games - the same one we play in SF with our bartender. Except they don't play with their bartenders.

Then we went for dinner - sushi. Average - we can get better/worse at home, depending on where you go. The interesting thing - one of the girls ordred this weird hot pot dish, but instead of a pot it comes in a paper in a wire basket - using some magic, the paper doesn't burn. It had a fish head or two, some mushrooms and some cabbage, and it had to cook for 15 minutes before we ate it. Even they thought it was moderately crazy.

Then I was tired so he brought me back to my hotel - they continued out for more drinks. HK folk tend to go to bed late - most restaurants don't close until 12am.


13 Oct 2005

HK: Fun with Foreigners/I only talk to Mexicans/I rode in a car

So Tuesday I bopped about HK island, roaming from mall to mall. I took the tram up to Victoria peak (the highest peak in Hong Kong) to checkout the view. I also hoped to checkout the sunset, but it was rather foggy, and it wasn't all that.

During the afternoon of useless mall wandering (in the fancy Causeway Bay malls) I decided I needed to have some human interaction. So it was time to go to Lan Kwai Fong, where all the westerners go.

Lan Kwai Fong had been recommended to me by a coworker, and I had to admit, it sounded interesting. HK's 'SoHo' district. I was curious - why DO all the westerners go there? It seems silly to go where westerners go, when I can go where westerners go.....uh, always (before now). But walking around the streets of HK you pretty much get ignored, unless you're trying to purchase something. I felt like a chat - and Lan Kwai Fong I thought would provide someone to chat with.

So turns out (SPOILER. If you want to leave LKF a mystery, do not read on) Lan Kwai Fong is sort of a pub street in HK's Central district. Its one block long, and has bars and German-style (well, German themed anyway) pubs. This is where the tourists to go have a drink.

First, I met a nice old Mexican man, who was here for business. He was actually an old German, and invited me to the bar he runs in Mexico. Perhaps I'll go sometime!

Then, the nice old man left, and I turned to the group of people sitting on the other side of me.

The fellow invited me for dinner with them almost immediately. Turns out they were going to have dinner on Victoria Peak! So I went there twice in one night. This invitation-fellow was also Mexican! (Although he was Swiss, version Francais). He was visiting his friends, so all of us rode up in this one fellow's car to the top of the peak.

I mention this car ride especially, because riding in a car in HK is quite unusual - most people don't have one. It was a Mini, which he recommended I do not buy, due to the poor low-end torque.

We had a nice dinner (he brought his sheep dog, quite a nice puppy) in a fancy restaurant on the peak, then went for mango pudding for dessert. They dropped me at the train (MTR) station just in time to catch the second-last train back to Mong Kok. I left the train station all walked the wrong way for several blocks, then decided to take a cab back to the hotel, because it was late.

Two Mexicans and a car ride in one night, not bad!

12 Oct 2005

HK: Amazing ATM Adventures

Like any good tourist, my time here is fueled by money. Shopping is the number one sport in HK, and it ain't cheap.

So naturally, Tuesday (remember is a holiday, so I have no work to go to) I find myself low on fundage, its time to hit the ATM.

You're probably wondering why this even is worthy of a blog post. I mean, I took out cash at the airport, I didn't ramble on about that...ah, but then, there was no Adventure involved!

I mosey over to the HSBC ATM in the mall attached to my hotel. I enter all appropriate numbers, wait for my cash - nothing. I get a little receipt that seems to indicate I've withdrawn HK$2500, but I see no cash, no bank card.

I am stunned.

It is hard not to cry.

Why would the mean machine keep my card? I've done nothing bad to it!

What am I going to do in HK with no money?? New shoes aside, I need to eat! And buy beauty supplies!

I go back to my hotel, hold back my tears, and explain that the ATM machine did not return my card or my cash. Too bad for me, its a holiday - the best they can do is call the bank for me tomorrow, would that be ok?

I took money out on my VISA. Ouch. I am scared to go look how much that cost me, plus the hotel fee for doing me such a kindness.

Where is my bank card now? Still in the machine. I can go get it on Friday, they tell me. We shall see. Word on the street is my trip might be extended, so I will need this card back!

Stay tuned.........

Update! HSBC says I cannot get my bank card, ever. Time to order a new one.....

10 Oct 2005

HK: My love affair with drugs stores

I have found myself in drugstore after drugstore. They don't even sell drugs. Where people get their medicine from, I'm not sure. Why do I love them so?

I am moderately fascinated by the chinese versions of day to day heathcare products. I'm not sure why. Does anyone need chinese toothpaste? It was 2 for 1.

They have most of the same brands we are used to seeing, but the chinese version - and the english on them is somehow off as well. 'Milk Bath', which I thought was a fancy milk bubble bath, is actually body wash. Huh. 'Cream Facial Foam' is for washing one's face, not moisturizing it. Made by Dove.

Seeing what the hotel shampoo/conditioner and high humidity did to my hair, I decided to dive into hair care products as well. I might even purchase 'style water' in case I need it (hairspray)!

It also helps that they are everywhere. I think I pass 3 or so on my way from the hotel to work. Maybe its just that they are a comfort - I know what should go in them, they are bright and shiny, I recognize name far I've popped in just to buy water three times, and left with an assortment of products.

HK: Crappy Internet Connection!

The quality of my Internet connection at the hotel is causing me to become quite irate. I find I'm spending far too much time sitting in my hotel room than I'd like. It all goes down like this:

The Internet is down. First, I play around myself for half an hour - resetting things, doing the usual. Then I call the front desk. Then the maid comes, looks at my computer, then she calls her supervisor. Then he comes and resets the ethernet hub, and unplugs things and plugs them back in. Super. Then he calls someone who actually knows what they are doing, it takes them ages. All of this time I spend sitting in my room when I'd like to be out doing other things. Bah!

What is making me especially angry is that there is a charge for Internet connection - and it doesn't even work! I also lost a blog posting last night and spent time on it last night as well. (I was too tired to call the front desk and go through all the shenanigans, I just went to bed hoping it would work). Silly me also did not bring my power converter to the hotel room for today, thinking I surely wouldn't want to spend more than 3 hours online.


9 Oct 2005

HK: This damn Jet Lag/the Pool

I still didn't really sleep the whole way through last night.
Oh well. I'm up pretty early, so I think I will go for a swim, then do breakfast in the hotel.
(I was actually trying to force myself to go to sleep, so I was pretty excited to learn it was almost 7 am, and I could give up the charade and get out of bed)

A fellow from work is coming to pick me up at 9:30, so I've got oodles of time.

I think I'll actually be a pretty horrible swimmer (I haven't swum in ages, and I'm feeling terribly out of shape) but the pool is just so gosh-darned nice!

The pool reminds me of Hearst castle - where you see these lovely pools, with columns and fountains and frescos and whatnot. But at Hearst castle, you end up thinking how its a shame that no one swims in such lovely pools. No so here - I can see peeps doing laps right now. Long laps - the pool is really really long. It is also repudedly nice and warm!

(A side note - I had to buy new goggles HK$48 cuz I forgot mine!)

I'm off....

HK: The big Buddha

So today I went to go see the big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha Statue)

I took the train over to Lantau Island, then searched in vain for the elusive 'bus 23', and took a taxi from the station instead. Aish, what a taxi ride (blue taxi, not red taxi - sheesh)! Its actually sorta far (~10km?) and on lots of little windy 'single file traffic' lanes.

The coolest part about the buddha was seeing a real buddhist ceremony going on in a real monastary (Po Lin Monastary) with real buddhist monks and nuns. But don't get me wrong - the Buddha itself is awesome. You can see it nestled in the mountains from really far away.

It also came with a Vegetarian Meal ticket. I hate to say it, but I didn't much like it. I was really stoked for this Vegetarian Meal (I had been wanting some tofu) but it just didn't do it for me. Its cute, there is a garden on the grounds that has a sign to the effect of 'No Alcohol, Only Vegetarian Food allowed here'.

Its neat how we were pretty close to the city, but it felt like you were off in the wilderness. There were even little villages along the way, without big tall apartment buildings. I wonder by it hasn't been developed?

I also went wandering down a path and bought some locally grown tea, and the lady spoke the best english I've had so far. She explained how to make the tea - all this from a ...well, shack by the path.

More later....

I'm in HK! And tired.


I will have to post more later. This is my first and only day off, and I've been up and about all day, but now its time to hit the hay!

My hotel has super comfy pillows, I can no loger resist them.