Wednesday 31 December 2008

Panda nonsense

I came across this while I was looking for a video of one of the Ocean Park pandas attacking a keeper. Please look, it'll make you smile.

Oh yes, one other thing...

A Hong Kong born baby has been infected with H9N2 virus - bird flu. There are more details in the news here. Bad news. Tamiflu at the ready.

(Vis a vis chicken prices: it might help to know that a catty is 605 grams)

Happy 2009!

Now that I have gainful employment, I spend my days in the retail mecca that is Times Square. (I should add that the office is in the building, I don't actually spend all day shopping) It's something of a monolith, here's one of the pics I took of the inside back in February.

The slightly freaky totem pole figures (=Christmas decorations) by Carrie Chau in and around Times Square have been removed, to make way for hundreds of scary-looking crowd barriers and a big stage. Times Square is due to be a big venue for tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations, with a big countdown, and possibly fireworks, not sure. The Standard, a free paper here (roughly equivalent to the London Shite and whatever the other rag was called) has more details here.

We're planning a night in with a friend. Basically now that we have an oven we are hugely over-excited about baking, roasting, grilling, crisping, all those things you can't do on a hob, so we'll be making pizzas. I know that many of you were deeply disappointed by our failure to produce the promised Christmas Pizza, so think of this as recompense. Hopefully we will then go to Carol's friend's office at Exchange Square to watch the fireworks over the harbour. Only 5 minutes long, not a patch on Mod-Autumn Festival's 23 minutes! I think we could probably see quite a lot of the fireworks from our flat - maybe I'll leave the webcam on for your delectation.

Of course 2009 here starts at 4pm at home, so I don't imagine you'll be feeling too festive at that time...however, midnight at home will be 8am tomorrow morning for us. Actually we probably won't be feeling too festive then either.

Monday 29 December 2008

Hiking HK style

We went hiking on Saturday with Elaine, a friend of Ross's from work. We started in Happy Valley, walked up to Wong Nai Chung Gap, and then headed off on Stage 5 and 6 of the Hong Kong trail. It was a seriously challenging climb for poor little me - lots of steps and steep inclines. The tragic news is that I have "flip flop disease" (seriously) which means that I should avoid walking too much. Obviously I'm ignoring that advice! We ended up near Stanley, where we went for yummy lunch.

The other big news is that we bought an oven this weekend, and Ross demonstrated his culinary prowess with a superb roast dinner. It's a super-multi-purpose oven, which can do anything automatically. Steam, crisp, cook, grill, microwave - just press "Go" and adjust the "doneness" buttons.

We started Ross's birthday with the obligatory bacon butties (bacon courtesy of the "crisp plate" in the new oven!), then spent too much money on a new amp and speakers before a Nepalese dinner prefaced by the customary espresso martini.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

White Elephant in the Mouse Pad

Christmas came early to Disney HQ last week. The focus of the festivities was the White Elephant – the idea is that everyone brings a wrapped present to add to the pile. It has to be something that’s new, but you don’t want. So a free bottle of washing up liquid from Watson’s would do, as would freebies from suppliers and unwanted gifts. Being a generous soul, I contributed an entirely unwanted, but pretty high quality gift – the Burberry passport cover that I got free as a “Christmas present” when I worked there. Slightly backfired, as everyone thought it was a Shenzhen rip off.

Anyway, everyone stands in a big circle around the table full of presents, and each person gets a turn to pick a present. However, you can either pick one off the table, or nick something that somebody has already got. Not really the Christmas Spirit is it?! Each gift can only be stolen three times, The most popular gifts were a teddy bear (?!), an X Men jacket (supplier freebie) and a Dior necklace (which was quite likely to be a Shenzhen rip off). It was….an experience.

We also had some amazing home made cakes and cookies, proving that not everyone in Hong Kong is oven-less.


The other Mrs M tells me that the parachute dudes were actually paragliding, which is what the other Mr M does in his spare time. That's just crazy.

Here's a video to demonstrate perfect landing technique (maybe)

Monday 22 December 2008

Crimbo on the Beach

Well, the holidays are here, and thankfully Murray the Ming Aralia has come back from the dead just in time (just long enough?) to serve as our Christmas tree, in the interests of saving us 650 bucks on a freshly-cut US one.

We've decked the halls, in a tasteful manner of course, posted the presents and even sent the cards. All that's left to do now is open 2 more windows on the Advent Calendar, belt out some carols at St John's Cathedral, avoid all retail- (and therefore crowd-) heavy areas, and manage one more day at work. Then we can enjoy Christmas Lunch at the Press Room, before calling you guys nice and early while you are opening your stockings! The Big Man (as Oliver calls him) doesn't know that we don't have a chimney, so we will be stocking-less, if you know what I mean, this year. Actually, FC might be suffering a bit of credit crunch himself. Either that or our tenants will be extra lucky this year.

We spent the day on the beach yesterday, chillaxing. It was about 24 degrees, with a bit of a breeze so there were lots of people hang gliding, or whatever you call it - you know, the dudes who jump off a cliff with a parachute? Anyway, there were lots of those, and quite a few kites, mostly being flown from sticks poked in the sand. Two of the parachute dudes laned on the beach, which caused quite a kerfuffle. Other than watching that, we mostly tried to figure out the rules of the popular ballgame played by all teenage groups at the beach.

Sisyphus, Bauble and Syble are in Oz, Carol's in the Philippines, and Tom & Rachel, Tom & Cathy, Anthony and everyone else we know are currently chasing each other across the skies to get back to Old Blighty for Crimbo. So it'll be something of a lonely one for us, but we hope to have lots of lovely webcam chats so you can admire our decos.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Firstly, an apology. I know you all wait with baited breath for the latest update from the land of deep-fried chicken gristle, but I have been somewhat busy. Secondly, two pieces of excellent news: I have a job, and we have visitors.

The ‘rents arrived on Sunday, and we’ve been trying our hardest to knacker them out ever since! The weather is a bit cooler here this week, but still warmer than London I think. It’s super-nice to have M&D here, every day’s a bit special, and it’s good to re-discover things, and remember how different our lives are here.

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes – I have a splendid day, which started with a bacon butty, and ended with a 7 inch chocolate truffle cake (via Vietnamese chicken salad, deep fried shredded beef with chilli and crispy duck). It’s a hard life….

Work-wise, I now get to watch TV all day in the office, cool huh? Well, that’s not strictly true. I’m working for the company that brings us such televisual gems as Scrubs (appletini!) Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy. Any ideas? Answers on a postcard.