Look up and you will see the light, the light will lead the way~bonnie
Archive for January, 2011
The Chinese believes that when you are on vacation and is visiting a foreign place, it is lucky to purchase a lottery ticket and try out the luck of a visitor. When I return to Vancouver for visits, I would do the same thing, I would automatically purchase a few lottery tickets to try out my luck.
However, what I love best is the variety of scratch cards available at the lotto booth, I am especially attracted to these scratch cards. I remember as a child, I would tug on my mom’s jacket sleeves as she purchase lottery tickets begging her to put out a dollar and buy me a scratch card. People purchase lottery tickets to buy a dream, the possibility of winning, to try out their luck. I feel that when I am handed a scratch card, that piece of luck has been handed to me and I am the one to determine my own fate by scratching the play area. I feel playing scratch cards are more fun because you don’t have to clutch onto a piece of paper and wait for someone else to announce a winner ; rather, with a coin in hand, you will determine your own fate and know immediately if you have won. However, the allure of millions of dollars in a jackpot will continue to attract people to buy lottery tickets and let their minds wander to what they could do with that lump sum of money.
The following are three things that must be done when you arrive in Canada:
This is definitely not the first time Pretzel is away from me while I fly away, but it is the first time he is at a doggy hotel. I feel sad leaving him at the doggy hotel because it seems like such a miserable place to be at. I know it is a very good hotel,the dogs have their own individual room and even a balcony, I know Pretzel is not really “jailed”, but I know he won’t like it. Technically speaking, he is treated even better than at home, his sleeping area is sanitized every morning and he is walked two times a day, 30 minutes per walk. But I know he won’t like it.
When the doggy van arrived at the apartment to pick him up , we were both miserable. I remember specifically to not look into those frightened and sad puppy eyes, or else I would feel mega guilty and more miserable. So I yelled “goodbye pretzel” to his little behind while he keeps twisting in his little bag to make me look into his eyes.
An hour later, the lady at the doggy hotel called to let me know Pretzel has arrived safely, but I know Pretzel has major separation anxiety. Before, when I leave him at my grandma’s, he would be so anxious he would always throw up on the first day of his arrival. I was too nervous to ask the lady how he’s faring, but I just have to know. She told me not to worry, he has settled in ok, but he keeps shaking. Apparently they tried to calm him down and people are trying to hold him to soothe him, but he won’t let people touch him. Wow! Poor Pretzel! I always tell people I have an ADHD Maltese, and he is now transformed into a depressed little dog, sigh, drastic ends of 2 spectrum!
I know dogs are supposed to reflect a lot of personalities and characteristics of their owners, but I have no separation anxiety! In fact, I am so aloof, I can just get my ass up and just go, so why oh why, can Pretzel not take after that trait of mine?!
Every once in awhile, I would have cravings for foods that I cannot find in Hong Kong, which would then make me start counting the days until I reach good ol’ Canada for the good ol’ cravings, usually burgers, tacos, tater tots…the all American junk fast foods. I am all for packaging and upgrading a product, supporting the economic principle of maximizing the price by going niche, but I DO NOT believe in a niche gourmet burger! I am just unable to hand over close to $300HKD ($40USD) and up for a so-called gourmet burger that uses Australian Angus beef and serve to you on a warm plate with a fork and a knife! I also do not want a seafood burger that put a fried tiger prawn or a braised piece of lobster meat on top of a beef patty to feel like I am consuming at a high-end gourmet restaurant that requires waiters to wear ties and patrons to dress at the minimum “business causal”. All I want is a good ol’ American burger that is for sale at every food court in North America where there is a certain thickness to the slap of beef that is greasy and juicy between two pieces of sesame buns oozing with fattening and disgusting mayonnaise, ketchup and various condiments. I want a burger that after eating half way, I would feel grossed out for dumping something so greasy in my system–a guilty pleasure, something to enjoy in track pants and a hoodie. Burgers are full of calories and grease, they are not supposed to be “healthy”, so don’t give me the Japanese style of hamburger where the buns are actually rice patties and the slap of meat is a soy bean alternative, because that too, would drive me crazy! Oh, did I forget to mention that Burger King and Triple O’s have opened chains in Hong Kong? I know I am talking about burgers, but really, I am craving tacos.
I decided to bring my friend to “my favorite hole” in Tai Hang for dinner and I have selected an eatery that serves up delicious local cuisines; what I love about this restaurant is that you can dine inside or soak in the atmosphere and let loose siting outside on stools while chatting up a storm with your friends and the next table is talking even louder and everyone is just checking other people’s tables to make sure they haven’t forgotten to order “that delicious dish”. I love it! I have to sit outside anyway because little Pretzel always accompany me to “my favorite hole”. I specifically told my friend to meet me by 6pm and no later because it is a weekend and I know the eating joints will be packed–sadly I was right, she was 15 minutes late and by the time I made a beeline to my joint, I already spot the line up of at least 8 tables ahead, boo!
I got to tell you though, the wait is worth it, because their foods are delicious, and the thing I love most is while they serve up common foods, they add a little twist to them, give them a bit of pizzaz, so they seem all new and unique to customers, love it!
In my excitement of eating and forgetting how jam-packed the joint was that evening, I put Pretzel on a stool smack in the center and the waiter completely did not see poor Pretzel and thought the stool was empty and totally kicked it. My poor dog flew to the ground squealing, but he is alright. Just a bit shocked at the unexpected adventure and refused to sit on the stool by himself anymore and decided to crawl onto my laps during the entire meal, and my legs have pins and needles running up and down by the end of the meal.
“My favorite hole” is in reference to the eating streets of Tai Hang, there is a secret shortcut that allows me to breeze down the hill from where I live on Jardine’s Lookout to “my favorite hole”, with little Pretzel as my sidekick. I love this strip, love the shops, the people, and just the atmosphere these few streets possess–nothing pretentious or “hip” about it, just streets with people open for business serving good foods. It’s tucked away secretly from the hustle and bustle of Causeway Bay, the mega shopping district, yet it is totally possible to walk to from Causeway Bay for all those interested in some good cuisines from all walks of life–Japanese fine dining, pho, ramen, Japanese skewers, a good old bowl of wonton noodles, hot pot, “dai pai dongs” (outdoor eating), italian pasta, desserts, a good joint for drinking and haggling with friends, just anything imaginable, and they could all be found at “my favorite hole”, which is a few streets tucked away known as “tai hang 大坑”–literally translated as “the big hole”. It is a valley or a gap tucked away with an opening to Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, the 2 MTR stations closest to Tai Hang.
“My favorite hole” is slowly becoming more and more well-known to locals and people that do not live around Jardine’s Lookout, Tai Hang, Braimer Hill, and Tin Hau. Of course it is famous for good eats, but it is also a famous place for local celebrities to dine at because of its secluded location in the middle of the city. The food shows are really exposing “my favorite hole” to the world, sharing the hidden talents of famous chefs that are opening restaurants at Tai Hang, and the media keeps sharing celebrities sightings and “which star has dined at what place”.
I usually don’t eat there anymore over the weekend because of the crazy line ups that occur, as these eateries are small little restaurants that could only serve a handful of patrons at one time. That is what makes “my favorite hole” my favorite place, and I hope that while it is opening up to more people seeking good foods, the image of it in my heart will not change, afterall, I do refer to it as a “hole”, and not a “drinking strip” like Soho or LKF (Lan kwai fong)
OMG, I have discovered a little gem in the hustle and bustle of Causeway Bay that is going to become my lunch dig if I need to fly solo, I love it! Can you believe it?! I found a Chinese restaurant that serves single servings of dim sum, I love the concept! I definitely enjoy large gatherings when I eat dim sum, because then, you are able to order a lot of varieties of foods; imagine the challenge if you come in pairs, it is so hard to order more than 4 or 5 varieties because each dim sum comes in 3 to 4 pieces per dish. Imagine my excitement at discovering this restaurant, even if I go alone or in a pair, I can order as many as my heart desire because I am literally ordering just for myself, or if the person I am dining with doesn’t like the dim sum I like, then I only order 1 piece for myself, how cool is that!?! I absolutely love this single servings dim sum idea, and this little hidden gem is not crowded at all, making the environment nice and comfy if I want to stay and chat with my friends for a longer period of time. It is the first dim sum place that I feel is not loud and you need to speak even louder to talk over other tables having their morning or lunch dim sum, two thumbs up!
Three years ago when I announced I wanted to move to Asia, settle in Hong Kong and explore my potential and career opportunities, I was met with quite a lot of skepticism–which to a certain degree are validated, I suppose…
“Why do you want to move all the way to HK, it’s not like you know anyone there?”
“Their lifestyle and way of thinking is very different, they are more manipulative and you’ll be really naive there”
“You can hardly read, let alone write in Chinese, how are you going to survive?”
“When they known you’re from Canada, they’ll try to rip you off because they will think people from Canada and slow, naive and easy to fool”
“people there walk and move really fast, you’ll be pushed, it’s so crazy crowded with people!”
“no way! You’re just saying it, you wont’ go”
Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad, even from day one; there are definitely a lot of culture shocks I have to deal with initially, but I am a very open-minded person and quite adaptable, and settled in quite well. While I am not the fastest moving person out there, I am definitely not holding up people walking behind me and sucked in my breath and gut on the MTR when people keep cramming into the compartment, making us all become human sardines! In fact, on my first visit returning to Vancouver, I was originally walking alongside my friends and my sister and after a few seconds, they would be blocks away behind me! Lol, ok, that’s a major exaggeration, but they keep asking me why I am walking so fast and what is my rush!
Now, after a little bit over 3 years in HK, eek!!! I can finally type in Chinese! I honestly can get by and function without typing in Chinese at all, but it has started bugging me a little bit that I need to get my colleagues to help me type out words here and there if I want to communicate with my warehouse to look through inventory reports or making drafts of various marketing posters with Chinese writing and catch phrases I want the designer to follow.
I usually get by typing in the English words in google and hit the “translate” button and the Chinese words will appear, it started becoming a bit of a hassle because it could take me forever to copy and paste each individual word to make up a sentence. I finally decided to ask my colleague to get me one of those “penpower” pad he was using so I can write out sentences faster. His immediate response to my request was, “you need to know how to write the words before you can use the pad”. Duh! True, I might never be able to write complete sentences in Chinese, but being able to write a few words per sentence really shorten my translation process on google!
Teehee, I am a satisfied customer of this little innovative technology that I called the lazy way of typing in Chinese.
Growing up and raised in Canada, Christmas in my favorite holiday, but CNY (Chinese New year) comes very close to my favorite too; especially now that I am living in Hong Kong, OMG, the spirit and the excitement for the holiday is so thick and palpable, I cannot help but be just as excited and looking forward to it.
The CNY holiday is a time for family members to mingle and sit together and enjoy each other’s company, I am usually bored sitting and waiting for lunch to be served because my grandparents, relatives, and their friends will be busy enjoying their games of mah jong, and I will just be sitting around wondering when lunch will be served or why I dropped by earlier that I should…hees. Since last year, I started bringing little Pretzel along for these family reunions, since I am not married, I am given red envelopes of money, and since my grandparents love my dog to death, they will also give him red envelopes of money!
All $$bling bling$$ aside, because my grandparents are around and it is a very important holiday and tradition to them, their house would be decorated and you could really feel the holiday spirit during this special and festive time. The maids will be busy in the kitchen preparing a giant lunch to serve over 20+ guests, and I will see my grandparents smiling and beaming so much their eyes are practically closed. I tried scheduling my out-of-town holidays either before or after the CNY just to see my grandpa’s happy smile, the joy and happiness he feels during the holiday is written all over his face and I feel very special to be a part of that.
As I am writing and posting pictures of the special holiday from last year, I feel very excited and looking forward to the big holiday, which is happening in a little over 2 weeks! On Feb 3rd of 2011, the Chinese will ring in the year of the Rabbit!