Archive | May, 2014

Return of the Noodle: a bigger playground

30 May

st paulsSo, I’m back. Sorry it’s taken so long. I’ve basically only just sobered up. Two-and-a-bit years in Hong Kong came to a fine finale in early May after a farewell party which ended in my apartment at midday. With a Glaswegian ‘small business’ owner and a random girl who looked like a woodland creature.

Clearing up I found a rolled up 20 dollar note filled with tarragon and a slice of cheese in a wok full of red wine. Standard. I’m not surprised the landlady took HK$800 off the bill, although that was technically to dispose of a £1,500 sofa because it was “dirty”. Gotta love landladies.

So here we are. London, bloody London. It’s just a bigger playground. And it’s all new and fresh and exciting. Like the first time I ever lived here 17 years ago. Except with more money. And no exams. Now, London may well be IMG_3222turning into a gentrified, airbrushed, oligarch’s paradise of chain restaurants, soulless bars and hipster twats, but I can’t get enough of it at the moment. You don’t know vested interests until you’ve seen a handful of property moguls and tai pans hold a city state of 7 million people hostage. London by contrast is a paragon of democratic accountability and multi-culturalism. And Edwardian beards.

The noise is everywhere. Of drunken sill people spilling out of pubs, laughing, joking. Or queuing to get into dingy cavernous basements where world class DJs have decided to play. The soundtrack is not endless car horns, and angry, shouty, humourless conversations. It’s not people running around making money with no time or inclination to enjoy it.

Yes I’m basking in a London honeymoon and I bloody love it. Everywhere the sky; bright and blue and pleased to see me. I swear there must be 200 words for “wet misery weather” in Cantonese. But the best thing about having London for a bride-to-be is that she’ll definitely go all the way.

hk

Goodbye HK friends

Hello again gentlemen!

Hello again gentlemen!

 

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The best of times: bai bai Hong Kong

2 May

HK night viewRight, that’s it. I’ve had a jolly nice time in Hong Kong over the past two years but, just like Fat Pang, I must now make like a pot of Jasmine tea and leave. Hopefully my departure from this Special Administrative Region of China will be a tad smoother and less tear-sodden than that of the British colonialists who bid bai bai 17 years ago. It’ll certainly be less controversial:

Now I’ve read some pretty self-indulgent “leaving China” twaddle from various flacks and hacks since I’ve been here and I have no desire to add to it. So instead here’s an easy-to-digest list of highs and lows.

Love it when you move in and it seems so QUIET!

Hate it when your upstairs neighbour turns out to be a 15 year old girl who spends her evenings screaming at her family. Every freaking night. Oh, and now the bulldozers have started. Brilliant.

Love the MTR – anywhere in Hong Kong for around a quid.

Hate getting stuck behind someone standing on the escalator (wrong side) watching TV on their phone.

Love listening to my neighbours have extravagant noisy sex at 3am; hate it when she leaves at 3.05 with a packed bag and tears in her eyes. She just did that by the way. Poor girl.

Hate it when it looks like you’ll be late for an important meeting because there are no fucking seats on the mini bus.

Love it when, yup, you always get one and actually make it with several minutes to spare.

Hate it when you meet a lovely bunch of people a few weeks before the big off

Nah, there’s no positive here, unless they turn out to be annoying cunts

Hate not being able to see as far as Kowloon on what should be a normal, sunny day. Cheers Shenzhen, you dirty bugger.

Love being able to hike up the peak from my door in just 40 minutes.

Hate not being able to do it for three months straight because it’s still bloody raining.

Hate standing on Wyndham Street with generic house music raping my ears.

Love bunker rave-in-a-cave parties. Shhhhh.

Love  no frills Cantonese food at dirt cheap prices

Hate Greek restaurants serving pasta, Thai tapas and everything else in Soho. Oh and when that local family run Canto joint is forced to close and gets replaced by a poncy jewelry shop.

Hate being cooped up in my tiny flat with the mould and mosquitos.

Love jumping off a boat into sea as warm as bath water. With a Tsingtao in my hand. And a slice of lemon drizzle cake.

HK night view