Friday, July 30, 2004

Soho in Hong Kong

There seems to be a Soho area in every major city on this planet, even in Hong Kong. Got together with Lisa and Annette for a movie yesterday afternoon, before meeting up with Arthur after work for dinner. He suggested that we visit Soho and pick the restaurants as we travel up the world's longest escalator to the mid-levels in Central. I think eventually the two ladies got sick of going up the escalator, because they quickly picked the first restaurant they saw on a small street. It was a fusion-Indian restaurant, which was something I have never had before.

Come to think of it, everything in Hong Kong is fusion-cooking. Pizza Hut and Spaghetti House are good examples of the HK-Italian food. Even the so-called traditional Hong Kong tea houses have food that were inspired or influenced by other countries. Steak and eggs for breakfast, sweet and sour pork with rice for lunch, and spaghetti bolognese for dinner - only in Hong Kong!

The bunch of us went to Lan Kwai Fong after dinner for a bit of drinking and chillaxing. Originally the girls wanted to stay later, but I think they didn't see any "reason" to. (read: no cute blokes) We left shortly after midnight..

Monday, July 26, 2004

Tour of Tourist Attractions

I have transformed from a resident (when I was still 12) to a visitor (when I was 16 and my only mission in Hong Kong is to shop), and now I'm a tourist. I have decided that I need to see the sights here, not only because this is my birth place, but I really haven't seen any. Plus it gave me a good chance to spend some quality time with my relatives..

My dad said that Stanley was a good place to visit, so I took a trip down there with him for lunch and walked around the beaches for a bit. It was surprising to see such a beautiful area in a city filled with smog and high-rise buildings. We had lunch in a restaurant that faces the beach, with the patio outside and the warm summer breeze blowing. It is hard to believe that half an hour bus ride from Stanley is the busiest place in Hong Kong on weekends!

Later that night, I went to Lan Kwai Fong with my cousins and my uncles. Although I've been to the area many times, my cousins haven't been during the night time so they wanted to see it too. We also went back near Stanley to Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay - there were so many people BBQing near the beach, playing group games, and having a blast. We took some pictures (although it didn't quite turn out) and then called it a night.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Members Only?! Sure.. I'm a member..

I was supposed to meet up with Arthur again for dinner on Thursday, but he was suddenly forced into OT so we rescheduled for Friday. Ended up eating with Candice and a few of those friends I met on Wednesday night at Sushi Tei (which we had to walk through a Watson's to get into). Afterwards, Arthur and I went to relive our favourite pastimes back when we were younger - arcades. He still kicks some serious butt in driving games! I swear, one of these days I'll need to get revenge.

Candice then suggested we go for a drink at a lounge, and of course I wouldn't refuse any opportunity to drink! We walked into a side street (which turned out not to be a side street after all, it just looked that way), and headed to a business building.

I thought to myself, "Why are we going into a commerical building?"

The nightview from the 5th floor is pretty amazing. It said "Members Only" on the door, and we just waltzed in.. After chatting with the owner for a bit, I even got a personal invite to visit the "member's only lounge" in the future. After a few hours of heavy drinking, Arthur and I stumbled back to the overnight bus stop and took our respective buses home. (the rest of his friends stayed for a little more karaoke fun)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Night Out With Old Friends

Finally had a chance to meet up with Arthur last night! He used to live in Toronto and went to UT for school, but promptly returned to Hong Kong after graduation. (he claims that he was 'forced' to come back for a job) In any case, it's been over three years since I've seen him! The first words that came out from our mouths were, "Wow, you gained a bit of weight eh?" Hehe..

Also met some of his friends at the same time, as they were hanging out at Green Box in CWB. Actually, I knew Candice back from Canada, but haven't seen her ever since she moved back to Hong Kong five years ago. She looks exactly as I remembered her - which I suppose is a good thing for a girl!

I discovered last night that people may speak different languages, have different cultural backgrounds, but the ways to bond, get familiar with each other, and have a good time, remains the same.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Clothes and Maturity

I finally had a chance to meet up with my friend Lisa today, as she just came back from a short vacation with her father. We were supposed to meet last Friday, but the typhoon stopped me from leaving my house. In any case, it took me a little more than an hour and a half to arrive at our meeting point. (sorry for being late again, I know how much Lisa hates it) We walked around Causeway Bay a little, and then we went shopping for clothes.

As we started picking out clothes, I couldn't help but realize how much older I have grown since the last time I shopped in Hong Kong. Now that I think about it, I don't even recall myself walking into G2000 or U2 and say to myself, "Hmm, that looks pretty good." Back in the days (as if I'm so old now), I used to think that I would only consider wearing collared shirts because of the dress code at work. Now, I actually consider them stylish and 'does not make me dress like I'm 16'.

Perhaps I have grown much older without realizing it..

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Typhoon Attack

Woke up yesteday to the news that they have issued a Typhoon 3 warning.. which they raised to a Typhoon 8 warning shortly after. The fact that all public transportation were at capacity, and that the entire city shuts down after the signal had been issued, meant that I had the whole day at home.
The weather actually wasn't too bad, considering the entire typhoon struck HK directly and passed by.. guess it wasn't a strong one. I spent the day at home reading magazines, watching television, and talking with my grandparents.
I guess it's good to have a day of rest.. time to think things through.. and "stop to smell the flowers", as I always said when I was younger..

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Unexpected Encounters

I was taking the MTR today (the equivalent of subways and metros in major cities around the world), and as soon as I stepped into the train, I heard someone calling my name. It was my aunt - what a coincidence. The chances of meeting somebody on the MTR is slim to none, given the frequency of the trains and the amount of people it carries each day. In any case, we met up for lunch near her office after she ran some errands, and caught up with each other's lives.

During lunch I received a phone call from a former classmate in university - apparently she arrived a week ahead of schedule! We agreed to meet up in Mong Kok to shop around for a bit after lunch, before she meets her relatives in Shum Shui Po later for dinner.

Surprise encounters x 2 in one day.. wonder what else is in store for me during my stay here?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Reflection of my view

I was reading the newspaper yesterday and found out that one couple in the showbiz just divorced. Normally it's not a big deal, but they both released a letter explaining the situation for the media, and this verse from one of the letters caught my attention:

Love is a rush of wild wind
The sun to the summer rose
Or it's a blowing on a distant trial
And when it goes, it goes..

For some reason, this verse seemed to really reflect how I view life at the moment..

Monday, July 12, 2004

It's All Relatives..

One of the benefits (some may disagree that it is actually a benefit) of being in Hong Kong is the big family gatherings and dinner. Last night I experienced quite a humourous moment that I thought was.. cute. The last time I saw my cousins, they were still short and running around like little kids. Now they are all grown up and talking about finishing secondary schools. Well, the fact that I remember them being born tells how old I am. Hehe..

In any case, for my graduation, the two of them gave me a self-made card - with a picture of a pig wearing the graduation gown. Cute. They also bought me this bracelet (yes, guys do wear them) with an engraving on it. On one side, it said "Best Wishes".. on the other side, it says "For Your Diet". I didn't know whether I should strangle them or hug them to death.

My aunts gave me this crystal paperweight for my new job, with a small stuffed monkey in a box. It was really simple but elegant, which I am sure I'll find a use for when I start work.

Dinner was the usual affair, except now I get to sit with the adults. As kids (and there were many of us), we were made to sit in a separate table because there just weren't enough room at the big table. Suddenly I realized how much older I have become, and that life is passing by me faster than I could keep up.

Seize the day, I say.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I Think I'm Melting!

Even as I arrived in Hong Kong at 5:30am and started to walk towards the bus station, I felt the infamous 'stuffy' smog surrounding me. It only got worse throughout the day - at about noon I felt I was going to collapse. I thought Toronto was bad, this puts Toronto into the 'clean' category.

I'm now sitting in a internet cafe, next to some punk kid (he cannot be more than 13 years old) playing Counter Strike. I guess this is the summer holiday for kids in Hong Kong too. The past few days I have been spending some quality time with my grandparents, and walked around my neighbourhood.

In any case, I should find something to do here.. this will get boring very quickly..

Monday, July 05, 2004

Leaving Vancouver

After spending the past couple of nights selling mops at the night market (I manage to sell quite a few with my.. ahem.. superb selling skills), and hanging out with the staff of my friends' business until 6am each morning, I'm ready to leave Vancouver for Hong Kong. It's quite funny how quickly I got to know them all, to the point that I was made fun of continuously throughout the weekend. Example here..

[Sitting in a very old Dodge van, which only supposed to have two people sitting in the front but somehow we managed to fit a box between the two seats for a third person. Marvin is driving, Janet is sitting in the middle, and I'm sitting on the front passenger seat.

Janet: Is this van equipped with air bags?
Marvin: I think so.. [looks around] okay, maybe just my seat. But that's all good.
Louis: Who needs air bags anyway? Marvin knows how to drive, we won't need them.
Janet: [points to me] It's okay, I have my personal air bag right here.

Except for that, it had been fun! I went to Stanley Park, Deep Cove, and all these other great tourist places in Vancouver. Today I'm taking the bus downtown, and walking around the shopping/business district. Hopefully meeting up with a few more busy friends before taking the flight tonight.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

It's Just Like Toronto.. Except It's Not Toronto!

I spent the last two nights at the Richmond Night Market with my friends whom I'm staying with, because they have a booth set up there to sell mops. After watching the soccer game on Thursday, my friend took me out for a driving tour of Vancouver. We drove through UBC (the campus is much, much nicer than what I'm used to), downtown Vancouver, and parts of East Vancouver. Afterwards we headed to the Night Market for setting up.

This night market reminds me of shopping on streets of Hong Kong. Small booths, selling things that you don't need. Oh and there is a lot of food stands also! I ate so much of those little snack food - fish balls, bubble tea, dumpling, etc.

Later on that night, my friend Emmy took me out to a club because it was her friend's birthday (and quite honestly, the night market got a little too boring after several hours). We first went to The Plaza, but because it was a Thursday night (disregarding the fact that it was Canada Day), it was pretty dead. Then we went to this club called Caprice. During the whole time, her friend seemed to know each and every single bouncer in the city as we could walk into clubs, bypassing the queues outside, and not having to pay cover. Suddenly I feel like a VIP! Hehehe..

On Saturday, my other friend took me on a tour to West Vancouver and North Vancouver. The contrast is definitely apparent. It looked more working-class in East Vancouver, whereas in West Vancouver, they have garages the size of houses back home. Of course, it also overlooks Vancouver and Richmond, and it has an extremely beautiful sea view from the top of the mountain. Only if I could afford a house here! (they run upwards to a few million dollars)

There are still a few places that I would like to visit in Vancouver before I leave. One thing stuck out as I was driven around yesterday.. that this city is just like Toronto, minus the smog and the heavy traffic jams in the middle of the day. Maybe it's not such a bad idea to move here after all..

Friday, July 02, 2004

EuroCup 2004 Surprises

It just happened! The Cinderella team - Greece, just made it to the finals in the most dramatic soccer match ending this whole series. Just incredible.

Thought I'd share that with all of you. Hehehe..

Arrival in Vancouver

Just arrived in Vancouver last night, and now I'm spending a few days here with some friends I met when I visited Taiwan five years ago. On the plane, I was asked to give up my aisle seat for some elderly person whom needed more room. Of course I obliged! After all, it was only a four hour flight. In return, I received several 'complimentary' glasses of wine on the flight.. mm.. I didn't realize that drinking on the plane makes the flight time seem so much shorter!

After I landed in Vancouver, my friend Emmy came by and picked me up from the airport. We then went to hang out with Jason and Marvin for a little bit, before Jason took me to another friend's place for a bit of drinking. Didn't get back to Jason's place until 4am - which was 7:00am Toronto time! Ahhhh..

This morning, Jason's mom was being extremely hospitable and cooked me some eggs for breakfast. Mmm, haven't had a proper 'breakfast' in a while. Now we're just hanging out at his place, watching the soccer game.. hoping to see more of Vancouver during the day today.