04.07.2010 89 °F
For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Hong Kong, July 1st marked the 13 year anniversary of the handover of HK back to China. This meant that many of the business would close that day. This also meant that I didn't find this out until I was leaving work the day before. I'm glad people tell me important stuff like this...
Anyways, so I had a free day to do what I pleased, which eventually involved me getting caught up with people back in America and reading. And eating. And falling asleep while doing both. Overall, it was a very, how do I put this, spiritually productive day. I like the sound of that; it sounds so much better than 'lazy'.
So, after going to work on Friday, I found the evening was open for me. Luckily, the World Cup was on that night, but after going from bar to bar and finding every one occupied by some sort of private party, I was ready to turn in and resort to catching the results the next day. Fortunately, on the corner of the block before my apartment I saw this little restaurant that happened to be showing the WC, so I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Walking in, the first thing I notice is that all of the tables are large round ones that seat 8-10 people, meaning there is no place for me to sit by myself. Second, I notice that not only am I the only white person in there (of course), but I'm also the youngest by a good 30 years. Everyone else is a card-carrying member of the CARP (like AARP, but Asian) and already well on their way to a good evening. So, the waiters set me up at a table with a couple of older gentleman and we exchanged awkward nods while I was waiting for my food to arrive. During the course of the match, another fellow who was sitting at the table in front of me approached me, put his hand on my shoulder as we had the following exchange:
Man: "Where you from?"
Me: "I'm from America"
Man: "You're from America? You're American."
Me: "Yes, I'm American."
Man: "Hahaha, you American. Where you from?"
Me: "Washington State."
Man: "Ahh, Washington. America have two Washington."
Me: "Right. I'm from Washington state, on the west coast."
Man: "Oh, so you not from Washington on right side, you from Washington on left side. Seattle. You from Seattle?"
Me: (simply for the sake of ending this train-wreck of a conversation) "Yes, exactly, I'm from Seattle."
Man: "Ah, Seattle. Seattle, Washington. Left-side Washington." (Pours me a drink). "Here, bottoms up."
Me: (confused and taking a small drink) "Bottoms up."
Man: (after downing his drink) "No, no, no, Bottoms Up."
Me: (getting out-dranken by a Chinese grandfather) "Right, bottoms up."
Man: (refilling my drink) "Good good good. Once more. Bottoms up."
Me: (clinking glasses) "Ok then, bottoms up."
Man: (staring at me with a huge smile on his face) "Hahahaha. So, where you from?"
Me: (Good god in heaven...)
Eventually he would go on to terrorize his other friends, but that was my start to a night of fun and enjoyment with my 50-year old Hong Kong friends. Pretty soon me and the other gentleman and the table were clinking glasses to goals and missed opportunities and corner kicks, and it turned out to be quite the fun evening enjoying the game with the people at my table, people at the other tables, and the restaurant staff.
The next day I decided to head to the south side of the island where all the beaches are and try to cool off. I brought my towel, a book, some snacks, AND SUNSCREEN, and trekked on over. It was a scorcher , but the water was nice, and it really was a relaxing day. The 4th of July was truly uneventful here, and unfortunately I do not get Monday off from work to celebrate our nation's holiday. Guess I should have worked for an American company...
Well, that's all to report this week. It should be a more productive week at the office, but then again, what do I know, I almost came to work on a national holiday in Hong Kong. Maybe one day they'll actually start to tell me things.
Until that time, still a blissfully ignorant American,