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It was awesome to see a familiar face in Hong Kong. My cousin Joel was in HK broadcasting for the East Asian Games. He covered synchronized sword fighting, badmitten, and wind surfing… no joke. We met up for dinner and I was relieved to hear him say, “Anything but Chinese.” So we headed to Al’s Diner in Lan Kwai Fung for a Yankee-friendly feast and dined al fresco. Sitting outside in LKF is an invitation for pesky people to sell, buy, solicit, or otherwise annoy. But, with the right attitude, it can be entertaining.

Before we even ordered drinks, a man *dressed* as a monk approached. These faux-monks prevail in any area with a combination of  1. Westerners, and 2. Alcohol. Faux-monks want you to think they have no worldly possessions or money and rely on you to give them alms. This grievous deception is one of many schemes to part Westerners from their money. The orange-robe-clad “monk” went straight for Joel with an outstretched arm. Of course we did not comply. About 3 minutes later, a woman selling blinking, pink devil horns approached. “80 dolla” she proclaimed, to which Joel replied “20 dolla” and she agreed. There’s a lesson in bargaining for you. 20 hong kong dollars is about 1.60 US. To cap off the evening, yet another panhandler came up to us with a sneakier than usual look about him. He was selling buttons shaped like a certain part of the male anatomy and announced to Joel exactly what it was that he was selling… in a voice about 3 decibals louder than neccisary he pointed to the buttons (which were also blinking) and exclaimed, “penis!”. Yes sir, thank you we can see that because it’s blinking.

All in all a great night, thank you to Joel for giving me a call when he was in town. It was so good to see him.

Some things just do not belong on a pizza. For example: squid, octopus, imitation crab legs, or 1000 Island Dressing. Let alone all together as found on the “seafood pizza” from Pizza Hut.

Next time, it’s Ham & Pineapple for me!

The best part of HK winters are the amazing hikes! Some highlights:

5 Dec – Dragon’s Back: Distance: 4.5 km, Highest Point: Shek O Peak 284m

6 Dec – Jardine’s Lookout: Distance: 8.5 km, Highest Point: Mount Butner 436m, Jardine’s Lookout 433m

13 Dec – Lamma Island: Distance: 6 km, no peaks.

So I’m just sitting here looking up where to buy mini cookware for my new toaster oven, when I hear the smallest tap on my door. I wasn’t even sure it was a knock, but I trot to the door anyway. Standing before me are two eldery Chinese women with big smiles on there faces. I thought for sure they were at the wrong address, “Can I help you?” I ask, to which one of the women replies, “Ah yes, we hearing for Jehova Witness.”

Never in a million years did I think that I would have  JW knocking on my door in Hong Kong. You can’t escape them…they’re everywhere!

Kappu closes in on Hong Kong

Kappu closes in on Hong Kong

Typhoon Kappu hit tonight and this morning. It was a “Signal 8” warning with sustained winds at 38-73 mph and gusts up to 113 mph. I didn’t get much sleep because of the pounding winds against the window (which to my dad’s horror … I sleep right under!)

Suprisingly the schools don’t make 3 year old kiddies troddle through the wind/rain to learn their ABCs, so I got the day off! I even got to leave school early when the first warning came in, a signal 3. It was a rush taking the ferry home and then trying to make it to the store in time to get food/water because once it goes to the next step, signal 8 (i know, i know 3-8 doesn’t make sense) everything is shut down. It was signal 3 when I got out of work and even then the wind took my breath away! At one point I saw a man riding his bike and for every 3 laborous peddels he took, he only moved 2 feet.

Whatever happened to cereal prizes?

I was eating Frosted Flakes when I noticed a little extra rustle coming from the box. Suddenly, brown and green flashed and I felt a flurry of sticky footprints down my arm. My eyes registered what it was just as his tail flicked behind the washing machine.

It was a lizard in my cereal! My heart was pumping like I just ran a marathon and now it skips a beat with every little noise. On the positive side, a little research revealed that the little guys don’t cause any damage and eat cockroaches. I would rather have a lizard than a cockroach. But really I would rather have NEITHER! Anyway, now I have an unnatural fear of Frosted Flakes… I consider that “causing damage”.

It was a fine morning as a I strolled out of my building onto a busy Hong Kong sidewalk and came shin to face with… a pig carcass, split in half. It appears the restaurant next door was getting it’s delivery for the day. I Don’t think pork will be on my menu any time soon!
A Wild Boar (pic from wikipedia)

A Wild Boar (pic from wikipedia)

“The week of pig” continued with a much needed retreat from the city. In defiance of the 90 degree weather, I joined 40 others from a www.meetup.com hiking group and set out on an adventure into the wild… boar that is. The route was Tai Tam reservoir via Wild Boar Path, about 8km – (4.9712 miles). I had not considered the possibility that there could be a reason for the name “Wild Boar Path”, that is until the hike leader pointed out a boar BURROW. Now even though “Wild Boar” was quite literal, the term “path” was abstract. I say this because the leader was tying yellow ribbon to trees so the laggards would know where to go. Forgive me for not stopping to take pictures, I was busy fighting through the branches, and thick spiky grass on the 40 degree trek. I did not want to become one of the aforementioned slackers, hunting for yellow ribbons amongst the boar burrows. Now to get real, this part of the hike was actually very short and was meant as a taste for the more difficult hikes, or perhaps the leaders way of getting people, myself included, to start wearing pants as is suggested by the group site. The rest of the hike was fantastic.

View of Tai Tom Reservoir

View from the hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more piggy thing… my Chinese zodiac sign is the Boar.

I miss being understood, family, friends, not being afraid to walk into a store, drink the water, breath the air… personal space. It has been less than a month and I know it will take more time, yet the nagging feeling to just forget it and go home won’t go away. Everything is soooo different here. My social cues are all out of whack!