Sunday, May 23, 2010

HK: Day No. 2

Got up. Talked to the fam. Watched a bit of TV (Breaking Bad, season 3, baby...). Put on my sun dress and my Nikes and ventured out for solo tourist day no. 2.

Today I took a ferry to Lantau Island, something we didn't do last time. At the pier, I saw this poor Filipina maid carrying a three-year-old, i.e. a kid that's way too old to be carried. He kept arching his back and screaming, occasionally swatting her in the face. His mom stood by occasionally threatening to no avail. He probably felt emasculated. Scarred for life from all that carrying. I'm joking, but seriously what's with carrying kids that are way too big? I saw this Chinese family come into church a few weeks ago and the dad was carrying a kid who looked like he was at least seven. Maybe the kid was tired, but church is at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. So wrong.

I took a bus up to see world's tallest, outdoor seated Buddha. I've seen quite a few superlative Buddhas now. The one in Ulan Bator. The one in Leshan. This was just one more. I know that sounds terrible, but I've seriously seen a lot. Then I ate lunch in the monastery vegetarian restaurant - mushrooms, bok choy, roots. Tasty, but not satisfying like a slice of beef or even a chicken breast would've been.

I took another bus to Tai O - "the Venice of Hong Kong" - this ramshackle fishing village where the houses are made of sheet metal and they stand on barnacle-covered stilts. Stray cats. Old people shuffling mah jong tiles. A market full of dried fish snacks. Piles of empty Blue Girl cans. Just the way a fishing village ought to be.

I bought a colorful handmade bag in the local market. The saleslady was about to scurry off to find someone to speak English when I asked her if she spoke putonghua, the common language. Then I asked her questions about her wares in Mandarin and she answered in Cantonese. Things like colors are similar enough between the dialects I could figure it out. I got a kick out of that. Kind of like last week I got a kick out of interviewing a Japanese textile manufacturer with a Japanese-Chinese translator, plus my friend translating the bits I didn't catch into English. The conversation kept going Japanese-Chinese-English, Japanese-Chinese-English. We probably all knew enough English we could've cut out the middle language, but then somebody wouldn't have a job!

For dinner I took myself to Lan Kwai Fong for a lame slice of pizza. To make up for the blah pizza, I had a drink in a bar afterward where a Filipino cover band was playing. Another losery first - going to the bar by myself! "This one is for you, lady" the lead singer said when they started playing Just the Two of Us. Embarrassing.

Tomorrow I'm having breakfast at the Foreign Correspondents Club with a PR lady, then I'm going to go sort my visa. After that I'm going to go ride the mid-level escalator and eat dim sum at city hall. Ta ta!


mozzis said...

My wife and I follow your blog from America. We enjoy your insights and your writing.

Leslie said...

Thanks!! I appreciate it :)