Monday, October 24, 2011
The weekender: beach, supermarkets, and cellphone service
First some beach shots from basically right outside the hotel. I hit up the beach on Friday; the water was a bit dirty, but thanks to years swimming in the water off Jersey, dirty water doesn't faze me as much as it probably should. There were some old men out in the water too and they seemed fine; I guess this made me feel better about going in. It's probably busier on the weekend. (Note, I wrote that Friday night, it's not true, it was just as empty on the weekend) But it was nice to take a 3 minute walk and end up on small local beach.
I found a supermarket for the first time. Nothing like the supermarkets back home. But there was so much good fresh food; I bought some marinated meats among other things. Delicious. I love the food here so far. They had a bunch of meat available by the pound. They had little plastic baskets with paper bags wrapped around them. You pick the meat you want and put it in the basket and then just take the bag with you. What's not clear is that you have to get the guy at the meat counter to weigh your bags before you check out. I guess I could have figured that one out. Fun fact: I couldn't find a small package of rice. They only sold it in sacks the size of pillows. It would take me a month of eating rice every day to finish that much. And where would I keep it? Come to think of it where does anyone keep that much rice around here?
So Saturday I found some shops on Hong Kong Island, a little more like New York City. I tried this chain of Japanese fast food places that's everywhere here: Yoshinoya. Eh. I also found an English language book store, but the choice of books was somewhat random. I guess I'll HAVE to check back in there from time to time. Twist my arm.
Today (Sunday) was really successful. I found the office. I really liked the area around the office. Kowloon Tong was nice, kind of quiet, a pretty park, clean. This was in the area outside the office:
Now I had heard that it was above a mall, I didn't realize that it was a HUGE, western style mall with all the expensive American and British chains. I wouldn't shop at these places in the States. Most of them anyway. I didn't want to spend too much time there (trying to explore the city and the culture). But I did venture into a music/video store. I loved two things about this.
A)They didn't have a rap/r&b section it was all just called "Urban". China, don't co-opt our racial PC hangups. No one's fooled when something's called "urban" in the States, and no one's fooled over here.
B)They sorted the movies by actor (I know Dad will get a kick out that). I guess if it works... but for instance, Pulp Fiction, one of my favorite movies, was listed as a John Travolta film. That's misleading to me. I think some movies are defined by the writer/director (Tarrantino films, Kevin Smith movies) some by the actor in them (Nick Cage movies, Jet Li movies) and some not at all (Fight Club, The Kings Speech). I think I can understand how this makes sense in Hong Kong though. If someone in Hong Kong is looking for a movie, they're going to think of the actors in it, not its niche in American pop culture.
The best thing about today though was that I found not one but two REAL honest to goodness supermarkets. With some local foods but with most of the day to day stuff that I need. The larger fancier one was in the lower level of the mall below the office. But this made my day. I felt so much more comfortable. So much worry about how I was going to get by completely disappeared. I've never been so happy to find a supermarket. They still only sold rice in apocalypse sizes, but I'm going to guess that Uncle Ben's size boxes are just laughable around here.
I now have a local cell phone number, e-mail me or something if you want it for whatever reason. I'm going to see if I can afford to keep my US number on a super cheap minimal minutes/no data plan just so I can hold on the number. I'll let people know about that one.
And I'll wrap up this long post with a little silliness. Some of you may remember my hip hop alter-ego, Cap'n Funky Fresh. Well like all great hip hop stars, The Cap'n needs to re-invent himself at this point in his career. Funky Fresh is retired and he will now be known exclusively as: