Singing Songs and Dancing Light

Downtown Hong Kong

(This post is part of a series about my trip to China. It all started here and here.)

If you are going to sing karaoke in the afternoon with co-workers you don’t know super well, here are a few tips…

1. Katie Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It” might be a little much for the first song.

2. But, it isn’t as bad as Mumford and Sons’ “Winter Winds”, with its story of lost love using metaphors of plague, pestilence and death.

3. Everyone sings better when you pick better songs.

4. Everyone sings better when after they drink green tea and whiskey.

The awards for the afternoon went to…

1. The best singing award went to Rachel, because I mistook her voice for Alicia Keys‘ voice and even when I was looking right at her, it was hard to believe someone in the same room as me could sing that well.

2. The best video performance award went to Derrick Tuggle’s dancing to I’m a Lonely Boy by The Black Keys because you don’t have to make a big production of it to have fun.

3. The best song award went to Adele’s “Someone Like You” because everyone in the room lived their worst breakup all over again, even if they had been married for ten years or more, singing, “Don’t forget me, I beg…” as if it happened yesterday.

Later that night, my friend and I were at The Peak, high above the Hong Kong downtown. We found a restaurant with no wait and were seated at a table with a great view just before the lights on the downtown buildings started to dance in patterns with changing colors. Sometimes it comes easy.

I’m glad I got on the plane.

And lucky for me, there was not asteroid hit and WWIII did not start. I made it home to half a million hugs and kisses. I want to go again, with Blue Eyes next time.  Remind me of that, next time I think about falling down the escalator so I might break something and stay home.

The Trouble With Open Spaces in Hong Kong

Growing Up Austin

I don’t like to plan everything when I travel. Maybe plan one or two things in a day, then leave open spaces where I can walk around in whatever direction looks interesting. The trouble with this in Hong Kong is that this usually leads to shopping.

There are places to shop in every neighborhood, on every street, on both sides of the street and on multiple floors. There are flea markets, souvenir stands, huge malls and tiny boutiques. They are selling purses, purses, purses and shoes, shoes, shoes, along with watches, electronics and cosmetics, some real and some fake, at any price you prefer. No matter where you are or where you are headed or how much time you have in your open space, there is a store right there, waiting for you.

One afternoon, my friend and I were minding our own business, having a drink and getting foot massages, then taking a walk. Just for fun, we stepped into a boutique dress shop. Right away, a sales lady named Fanny started pulling dresses off the rack for me to try. She didn’t check sizes, she knew my body by looking at it and she knew her clothes. I came out of the dressing room in the first dress and she said in broken English, “Off, off with that, feet, fix it!” and she handed me a pair of high heels. Apparently, fashionable dresses cannot be tried on with socks.

I tried on a few fun dresses, then it got a little crazy with a leather mini-dress with an over-sized knit turtle neck collar, a black jump suit with gold beading on the top and a black spandex mini-skirt with a gold-sequined tank top. I might have bought it all, if the clothes were 50% off the price marked, instead of being 50% off with the price already marked. I got the fun dresses in the end, now I just need new shoes.

My very favorite shopping find was unexpected and inspired and it started when I noticed…

1. There aren’t many overweight people in Hong Kong.

2. There are more women with small breasts, like mine!

3. Hey, wait a minute! Get me to a lingerie store!

And there they were. Size 36AA. In multiple styles and colors. I can tell you from a lifetime of struggles shopping for bras that this size bra is more rare than a UFO sighting in a big city with multiple witnesses and the cameras rolling. Shopping for bras has made me cry more than once, as I asked the clerk one more time, “Is this really the smallest bra you have?”, “Can I order a smaller one on-line?” and “Maybe there is a pattern I can buy and I can sew it myself?” I bought all the bras they had in my size. Lucky for me, there was enough open space in my suitcase to get them all home.

(My trip to China started here and will finish later this week.)


Fish Ball Soup for Breakfast

Growing Up Austin

I did not want to get on the plane to China. The trip was too far for too long and I imagined what it would be like if I never made it back. You know, if an asteroid hit the Earth or WWIII started while I was gone and the only way back would be walking on land and swimming across the ocean while hunting for my food and sleeping on the ground (sometimes on islands).  My kids would need me and I would miss them and it didn’t feel right to take that chance.

My new day job has great geography. The Austin office is 1.7 miles from my house, for a less than 10-minute commute. The travel is to Los Angeles, New York City and China, three amazing and fascinating places.

Yes, this was GREAT, until I had to drive to the airport to start my 10-day trip to China. I wondered if I would get fired if I changed my mind and went back home. I had managed to make it worse by deciding to stay three extra days in Hong Kong for fun. What was I thinking, to be gone even longer, God Damn it, maybe if I fell down an escalator I could break something…

I got on the plane.

I’ll share a few thoughts form my trip this week and next, like this one…

I was having breakfast at the hotel in Hong Kong and before me was a choice. On one side was the omelet station, with diced tomato, onion, mushroom and cheese to mix with your two-egg omelet. On the other side was the noodle station, with four types of noodles I didn’t recognize, white round rubbery-looking balls, something green and leafy and an unknown broth.

That’s how I came to have Fish Ball Soup for breakfast. It was very tasty. But it didn’t go well with coffee. Other than that, it was very good.

(See here and here for more China posts, mostly about shopping, bad karaoke and being glad I got on that plane after all.)