December 13, 2008


I'm reluctant to post anything, because I really want to keep the elf video at the top of the page, but here goes. (And I have a sneaking suspicion none of you enjoyed it as much as I did.)


Everybody knows chickens don't have lips, and I saw the proof up close and personal tonight. We ordered crispy chicken (a half) and there it was on the plate, the chicken's head. Or, to be more precise, half the chicken's head. I think you're supposed to suck out the brains. But, um, no. Which is weird, because when I found the liver/gizzards, I went right after them. Same with the tail.

I have to admit, there is no rhyme or reason as to what I'll eat or why (not). Duck tongue, pig knuckle, chicken feet, eel, jelly fish ... no, thank you. Fried fish heads, kidneys, chicken feet, tripe ... no, thank you. I am embarrassed to say the list is longer that I'd like and it seems to be getting longer. How is that possible? And I have a sneaking suspicion that if things were presented to me, without explanation, I'd probably be okay. But until then, I'm gonna peruse the menu a little more closely.

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Speaking of food (isn't that the purpose of this blog?) I have finally found my perfect fruit. I've been waiting for tangerine season seemingly forever. Clementines, tangerines, mandarins -- whatever they are called in whatever country -- I adore them. And here, they are amazingly good. At the grocery store they come individually wrapped in little cellophane baggies. They are cheap -- about 13 cents apiece -- and juicy and sweet. They haven't been available long -- perhaps two or three weeks -- but I haven't had a bad one yet. They also sell them in the street markets, sans cellophane and with leaves attached, but I've had such good luck with the ones at the grocery store I'm reluctant to try any others.

You all know how much I like risk and change.


Have I mentioned we're back in the tiny apartment? The one the size of my living room in Long Beach (which is hardly a ginormous space)? Yeah, sad but true. I never realized how much different an extra room would make. But it does. Fortunately, the couch is big enough to a. sleep on and b. for both of us to sit on, barely.

Who would have thought I'd be yearning for 500 square feet?

But the two things I miss most are the view and the air. Being on the 23rd floor instead of the 2nd floor makes a huge difference in terms of air flow. And I was able to look out on the harbor all day long -- made the place feel really spacious. Here, well, I can see the fence on the patio and enjoy the aromas wafting up from the street.

Remember how I was lamenting the location of the last place? Well, I got used to it, and now that is our favorite neighborhood. That's the upside of moving around. If we stay, I now think we're likely to be in Mid-Levels. We managed to figure out most of the bus and minibus routes, thus minimizing a lot of the inconvenience. It's still no Tin Hau, in terms of shopping ease, but it more than makes up for it in terms of space and altitude.


The holidays are here and it's evident, even though the weather isn't really cooperating. But then, we're used to that in SoCal. Still, it feels weirder here than at home, so it probably isn't just the temperature. But I can't really explain why. We have a small poinsettia on the stove (no kitchen table) so it's festive. And a string of lights. Next up -- I find a menorah. They say you can find anything in Hong Kong, so I'll put that to the test.

All the malls have Christmas carols on in the background (and we heard them in the MTR, too). They bear some resemblance to American carols, but are slightly different. Same tune, different words. I like it; never knew how many different versions of Jingle Bells there were. Still, it feels holiday-like without the repetition.

There are lots of Christmas trees up everywhere, too. And fake snow. And lights on the sides of the building. And Santas and reindeer. The people here seem fascinated by it, taking pictures in front of everything like it's new. We haven't been able to see into any apartments to see if anyone is decorating, but the stores seem to be making some effort.


And can I just mention that getting around town above-ground is like being on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride? Every taxi driver (and some bus drivers) seems to have a serious case of flutter-foot. Good gracious. Some speculate it's because they spend most of their time in traffic and aren't used to going far. Maybe. But all that stopping and starting is seriously queasy-making. And on a double-decker bus, it's particularly bad.

On the minibus back from Stanley on Friday my driver behaved like he was in the Macau Grand Prix. I've never seen a minibus reach speeds of 71 -- especially on a windy mountain road. I don't expect my commutes to be thrill rides. Thank goodness for ginger chews, eh?

The highlight of that ride, of course, was when we hit the roundabout and he slammed on the brakes -- yes, the bus slammed on the brakes, explaining why there are seat belts on each seat -- and came within inches of the taxi who was trying to pass. I guess the biggest mystery is why there aren't more accidents. I've been in half a dozen near misses and I'm rarely on the road.

OK. Rants over.

It's like when I was a kid, driving with my Grandpa Aaron. Ugh.

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