Wherein your intrepid narrator caves and buys chocolate from home - Tactical Ninja
Jan. 19th, 2011
03:13 pm - Wherein your intrepid narrator caves and buys chocolate from home
Apparently it's 22 days until the world runs out of IP addresses. Folks, batten down the hatches for Peak IP!
Yes, I know they anticipated this 10 years ago and put something in place to cover it. I will still be snobby about my oldskool static IP in 30 days time, because I can
Headlines from the South China Morning Post this morning:
"Kitchens at centre of shabby flats row": Apparently developers have been cutting corners when building apartments and the buyers and tenants are upset about the results.
"Fines for harming scenic beach too low, greens say": Some guys took diggers to a beach and used them to dig up sand, got fined the equivalent of $80 and $150 each. Folks think it's not enough.
These headlines sound strangely familiar..
Yesterday, after I managed to wriggle out from under my funk enough to do something, I decided to get out and about in the city by myself. Taking ferrouswheel and allyn's advice, I hopped a tram to anywhere. Having checked the internet and discovered I could use my Octopus (equivalent to Snapper) on them, I went and lurked surreptitiously on the street while observing the etiquette for them. What? I hate it when I mess up in someone else's country and blithely do something extremely rude without realising, so I spent some time making sure that wouldn't happen.
Tram is a pretty cool way to travel. It's $2 (35c) no matter how far you want to go, you just swipe your card when you get off. I didn't even look at the label on the tram I got on, and I ended up in Happy Valley, which has the racecourse and a large, very full cemetery. I'd quite like to get back to the cemetery while I'm here - it might be a bit macabre but I find cemeteries really interesting.
The thing that made me actually get off the tram was this - Golden Thing for Tuesday:
It's a dragon of blessing, which is there to bring good luck to the city. It looks like a fairly recent addition and sits almost underneath a large overpass. I do wonder what all the dragons would think of the way Hong Kong is - there are a lot of dragon references in the place names here which indicates a dragon population similar to the taniwha population in NZ - I don't think the taniwha would be very happy to be plonked under a motorway, but maybe Chinese dragons are a different breed. Their people definitely make an effort to look after their representations, anyway:
By this time I had no idea where I was so I started to wander around looking for food. The problem with food here is that you're spoiled for choice - it seems every second shop sells food and I find it hard to decide. So I walked. And walked. I went through the lighting-your-home area (kind of like Thorndon Quay if you squished it into two blocks and made all the shops sell lighting**), the banking area (12 different banks one after the other), and a proper food market with street stalls selling every vegetable you could think of and some I've never seen before, and some meat which was hanging in the open (it was only 13 degrees so not as icky as you might think - no flies). This looks like the place to go for vegetables in this area.
I also successfully located a bank that would change my shiny $1000 notes for smaller denominations - they are the equivalent of a $200 note and not many shops (especially street stalls) are really equipped to deal with them. By then I was getting tired so I sat down in the bank and consulted my map and discovered I was three MTR stops from home. Decided to walk home along Jaffe Road. It turns out that before Jaffe Road gets interesting, it goes through the area where the boy racers go to tune up their cars and buy shiny mags and tyres. It's also the place where Europeans (actual Europeans, like Italians and Portuguese) go for liquid lunches. At least, that's how it seemed as Very Happy Italians stumbled about among the tyres, anyway.
ANDANDAND! I found a bookshop! This is the first one I've found that has English books. Most are travel ones, but there were a few novels, all of them about expats living in Asia. I chose one called Blonde Lotus, which seems to be a Marian Keyes type one about a Norwegian woman who goes to live in China. On the cover was the sticker on the left. When I peeled that sticker off, the one underneath was the one on the right:
I think (hope) that these stickers are tongue-in-cheek...
Then I went to the supermarket, bought comfort food, and headed home with a Western coffee and some Cadbury's chocolate and read my book. Because downtime's important too right?
Hong Kong is a culture influenced by English culture and I have noticed a reserve - people here are even less likely to meet your eyes than Kiwis, and if they do they are less likely to smile. This, coupled with the fact that I'm obviously not from here and can only communicate with people who choose to make the effort to speak the only language I know, makes me feel very out of place and a bit lonely. I'm making an effort to smile and be friendly to everyone, but it's kind of tiring and a bit overwhelming. So yeah, downtime.
Then when we went out for dinner, I learned the pictogram for steak (or at least that's what I think it is):
I actually had a mango and apple slushy for dinner. It had seaweed balls in it, which tasted nothing like seaweed and instead were reminiscent of immature coconut in flavour. They popped in my mouth and were a lot tastier than they sound.
Then I helped Joel choose a bed and a couch for his new flat. They are being delivered next Wednesday, and after that we can move in. Wheee!
** This seems pretty common - shops of the same kind cluster together in the same area. I think the attraction of more people to the *insert whatever you're selling* district by knowing they'll have a better choice there, must outweigh the loss of margins due to competition -otherwise they wouldn't do it. Or it's possibly that since everyone goes there to buy their *whatever thing*, anyone opening a Thing shop away from the Thing district would go under due to lack of custom. Hmm..
The other thing I did yesterday was to send my CV to the Hong Kong Qualifications Framework in the email equivalent of a cold-call. At this point I'm tired, overwhelmed and a bit lonely, but I think I could live here. I would have to be working at a job that pays the same if not more than what I earn now, but if I want one of those I have to seek it out. So that's what I'm doing. This afternoon I'll spend some time canvassing provider institutions that write their own quals and see if any of those are worth contacting. If I get an interview while I'm here I'll get a bottle of dye and go brown. I can see I'd have to in order to be taken seriously here. ;-/
Today's mission is to Prince Edward, where there are about 10 different kinds of street markets. I will be just browsing around but if there's anything in particular that anyone wants, let me know. If I don't post tomorrow it's because I've been eaten by a giant carp in the fish market.