All right, I got my German bowel-movement tea (don't ask) and my King Diamond DVD waiting for me so I'm ready to finish this sum bitch up. Bring it on Hong Kong.
I have no idea where we left off so we're just going to start off with the nice Korean dinner we had one night. There was a huge sign outside the place that read, "WE SPEAK ENGLISH," which seemed kind of odd but we went in. Yes, they did speak English. Very well. It kind of weirded us out. I don't know why but hearing an older Chinese (Korean? Wait I don't remember if it was run by Chinese or Koreans) spit out rapid-fire, amazing, English and then throw in some slang was just odd. But the food was so delicious. We weren't hungry enough for Korean barbecue (except I kind of was but I didn't want to bully Elliot into eating sizzling meat, hur hur that's what she said) so I got my stand-by Jap Che noodles and Elliot got... something. They were like tubes of noodles with veggies. Both very good.
The next day, we decided to go see the big, giant Buddha. Now, I was kind of excited about seeing the big, giant Buddha. It's a big, giant Buddha for crying out loud! All peaceful and big and giant. Who doesn't want to see a big, giant Buddha? Pish tosh. Oh, and to get to big Buddha you have to ride up by cable car.
I love cable cars. They were my favorite part of the skiing vacations my family used to go on. Besides the tost (grilled cheese) and tea/hot chocolate we'd have in the little restaurant at the bottom of one the slopes. And the game room with the pinball machine. Not to mention the foosball machine. Back in the days when I used to be good at it. Grr. Okay, I liked all the supplementary stuff to skiing. Skiing itself is kind of a take or leave. Since we haven't been in years it's more of a leave. But anyway, cable cars = good, creaky fun high above land!
Yeah the cars went rather slowly and swayed quite a bit and they had gaps where freezing wind snaked in and made me feel like we were in a rusty deathtrap but we lived. We went up a pretty long way but it was so cool seeing the big, giant Buddha slowly come into view. It lay just beyond one of the highest hills and even though it was a hazy day, it looked so majestic. And that was about the only impressive thing about it. The place was like a bizarre theme park. China Presents : Buddhism! There was a Starbucks, a Subway and various other fast food places and fake snow and Christmas music piping out of everywhere (you could get your picture taken with Santa!) and cheap, touristy crap. They also had an animated feature starring monkeys named Doofus and Clever. It was the most underwhelmed I've ever felt at an international landmark. The Buddha itself was all right. I'm actually surprised it wasn't plastic seeing as how commercial the entire place was. But it was big and we could climb the 300-odd, yup OCD me counted, steps up to it's base. Of course, I was excited because I didn't do my research and thought it was a historic place. It's barely 15 years old. The spiritual, mystic monastery right next to it? Still under construction.
I had fun laughing about it with my equally disgusted boyfriend. It became a running joke, "So help me God, I'll take you back to Ngong Ping!" That was the name of the place. But the most magnificent thing happened on our way back. We passed this couple, we can only assume a husband and wife, and the man looked like he was ready to kill himself (or more likely, her), he just looked like the most brow-beaten man ever. His wife was this rather large lady and all we heard her say, for about a full minute was, "MungmungmungmungMUNGMUNGMUNGmungMUNGmung." She said it maybe 15 times and she had no teeth and I sincerely hope she wasn't having some sort of stroke because oh how we laughed. I mean, we walked away really fast before we cracked up, but still. Hilarious. I guess you had to be there.
Then we got stuck in the cable car, suspended above water, with a Korean family for about half an hour. We assume someone threw up even though the announcement said there was just, "routine maintenance." Suuuuure. We did get a nice view of the sewage treatment informational facilities though. And the airport. Yes, the view was a little lackluster.
My Elliot and I don't really fight that often, and we usually resolve it in minutes, but we did have kind of a tiff in Hong Kong. He kept saying I looked miserable and I kept trying to tell him I was fine. Dumbest argument ever. I mean yeah, I was sick the entire time so I probably did look terrible but I don't ever really exclaim like a crazed banshee when I'm having the time of my life either. I absolutely hate it when he thinks I'm having a bad time and feels guilty about it because come on, I'm not a child. If I'm not enjoying myself I'll excuse myself and go do something else. Hell, I've done it with my other friends. Some nights I just don't want to laugh at fat hipsters at our bar. I'll bid them all have fun and hang out by myself at home or whatever. I was getting mad at him for being overly concerned and he was getting mad at me for not making any plans to see places and I guess it was secretly that we were both kind of disappointed with Hong Kong and taking it out on each other. I guess we assumed it would be like Japan where we had a blast but eh. But we cleared that up pretty fast. And then spent the rest of the time taking Hong Kong with a grain of salt. Thanks Hong Kong :D
Hong Kong is known for it's tailors and Elliot wanted to get a suit made so he found one of the more famous places, Samm's, where his dad and grandfather had also gotten suits and went in for a fitting. They had a pretty great marketing scheme for customers; offer them beer. It's Hong Kong, nobody cares about anything! So after every fitting (there were 3) Elliot would just walk back out into the city, carrying his open, and free, beer. He got two suits made there and they're excellent. One is a deep charcoal color with bright orange lining and the other is dark, dark navy with subtle pinstripes and a royal blue paisley lining. Yeah, my boyfriend has Iranian taste in his clothes. Loud and paisley. Thanks Hong Kong :D !
On one of these days we also ventured back to the Walk of Fame and took pictures of all the stars' names we recognized, both for our friends and for ourselves. We found Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat among others. I also took a picture of Elliot with the Bruce Lee statue. There were a bunch of school kids prowling around the area too, and they were conducting surveys for class. We got stopped a couple times each and asked questions. One girl who interviewed me also took my picture. I assume it shall become a Chinese internet meme soon. The questions were mostly about Hong Kong and the food in Hong Kong. They were short and kind of fun, actually.
We still hadn't heard from our friend Nikki so we went on making plans by ourselves. The next morning, after getting a breakfast of French toast at this little place run by a sweet old Chinese man, we rode one of the subway lines all the way to the end, outside the city, to try and find a certain monastery. There were signs pointing uphill and I was still a cauldron of boiling mucus (yep delightful, I know. I woke up every morning hacking and coughing and spitting out chunks of green phlegm. I am the most attractive girl in the world) and walking was cause for a weird stabbing pain in my ribs (I seriously was falling apart for ten days. When did I become such a weakling? Need to start hitting the gym again, I guess) so I asked if we could take a cab up. The guidebooks even recommended we do that. But the one cab that stopped was kind of a jerk and it just turned Elliot off of the whole deal so we decided to go find something else. We got on another train and followed a path to a secluded little garden. Elliot had looked up locations from Bruce Lee movies he'd wanted to visit and this was one of them. It was so quiet and so pretty; lots of big trees and small pools filled with giant carp and turtles again. Yay, turtles. There were archways and a couple buildings that we weren't allowed in but we could see inside and they had just rows and rows of pictures of people and incense burned everywhere.
There were big cauldron-like things set up everywhere and what looked like incinerators. Oh. It took us a while before we realized it was a type of crematorium center and those little flakes floating everywhere weren't leaves or blossoms, they were ashes. Human ashes. Thanks Hong Kong :D !
It was still pretty cool though and we got back to the city in time for lunch. This is where we gambled with our lives and picked a random place off the street to eat. Elliot and I both ordered our food, and milk tea which everyone around us was drinking and it looked really good, and waited in trepidation. There was an Istanbul Kebap branch right across from us so that was our back-up plan in case we were served something particularly inedible. That day I learned that lo mein in China is THE SAME AS IN AMERICA. It kind of blew my mind because I thought that was an Americanized dish. But nope, totally had noodles with sprouts and meat served to me. But I don't know what kind of meat. I'd like to think pork. Let's say it was pork.
Oh who am I kidding, it was probably horse.
Elliot had a dish of beef and rice and we both ate quite well. Our tea was also delicious, and let's just try not to think about how the the glasses probably hadn't been washed since they were first delivered to the restaurant. Everyone on the street was watching us eat too. There was a group of Indian men just staring. When my food came, a man walking by looked down, looked back at me, gave me big smile of approval and walked on. I guess I passed some sort of test?
That night we went to our stand-by of Japanese. How sad is it that we had to have Japanese as our stand-by? Poor Elliot. All he wanted was roast pig and we couldn't find one place. Hong Kong really let us down in terms of food. We went to this Indian arcade type place that was all stuff from India and we had lunch there and although I enjoyed the music videos (all of whom I recognized and could name the stars in them and the movies they were from) the food was kind of bad. I guess I'm a meat snob because the cuts of chicken there were terrible and the rice was not at all good. I also really wanted to try the crab with chili, a Hong Kong trademark, but I knew it would just come served as is; this giant crab staring at me from the plate and I would stare at it and it would stare back and I'd have no idea how to eat it and it would just be an ordeal. Next time I guess. Or we'll go to San Francisco and try there. We did find a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain went to, though. His picture was splashed across the door. Anyway, Japanese was good and I decided it was finally time to have my Tsing Tao. Yes, I ordered Chinese beer at the Japanese restaurant. It came in a bottle the size of a large, wine bottle. Elliot didn't have more than a couple sips, his tailor had supplied him wit enough earlier, so I drank most of it. I was feeling no pain by the time I got up from that table.
Wan Chai is simply the best place to walk around when you're buzzed. I wasn't drunk or tipsy but I was at that nice point where you really can't work yourself up about anything but you've still got your wits about you. It was a nice state to be in as we walked around the hooker and "dance" club section of the city. And by dance I don't mean dance. It's unfortunate though, every time one of the "dance" ladies called out to us, it just broke any spell her looks may have sought to cast. Yeah, the language of love, nay seduction, it is not. Then we rode the double-decker tram back to the hotel. I got a nice hot Nescafe from the 711. I really enjoyed the trams and the cans of Nescafe drinks, hot or cold.
Thus ended another night in Hong Kong. We still hadn't trekked out to the metal bar a MetalSucks reader had sent me a message about, or to the "old" Jumbo, but hey, I had my beer. Still prefer Kirin. But thanks Hong Kong :D !
Up with the cable cars.
The big, giant Buddha
The animated monkeys. You may wonder why one's head is up the others' ass. I wonder too.
Elliot and Bruce Lee.
Peaceful crematorium garden.
Where we assume they dump the bodies.
The tram during the day.
On the the tram, empty street at night.
Warnings on a bus. Hee, boobies.