Wednesday odds & ends

Got up early to head out to Cyberport to visit this ad agency on my short (very short, actually) list:

(They’re on the 12th floor; not the entire building.) I waited in this tinted holding cell quite awhile. That’s Yvonne you see out there at reception. (Remembering receptionists’ names has yielded me a decent ROI so far.)

The huge quote on the far wall reads, If you stand for something you will always find people for or against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you and nobody for you. So this is basically a statement against people who stand for nothing, which is exactly what the quote claimed wouldn’t happen. I’d write the author of the quote and protest, but he appears to have died in 1982.

To get to Cyberport, I had to take a crazy-minibus (I believe that’s the technical term for them) from Causeway Bay, so my hotel-to-agency trip took about an hour one-way. I started talking to a British woman in the minibus queue – she’s been in HK for 7 years. She goes, “At the beginning, I said ok, 2 years. 3 years max. And now it’s been 7; I don’t really know how it happened.” I looked across the street from where we stood and noticed this interesting storefront:

She tutors English and was telling me about a two-year old she’s been tutoring since he was 10 months old. “Mental, it’s absolutely men-tal! I mean, the kid’s to the point where he can barely say hello and goodbye.” Then she told me about a family of 5 who live in the smallest, most cluttered place she’s ever heard of. And “small” as in, 2–300 square feet. And amid all the clutter and chaos, an LV bag hangs by the door.

These are LV (Louis Vuitton) bags and I think they are hideous. What’s worse, they start at $1,000, so their main purpose is to inform others that you dropped that much on a bag. There are infinite copies and knockoffs (even a system for rating the quality of the knockoff) so even if you have a “real” one, many people will assume it’s fake. Breakdown: You just paid the equivalent of a mortgage payment for an ugly (it ain’t cute!), unoriginal bag that many  will assume is a fake anyway.

The British woman and I were waiting for the minibus, in the middle of talking, when a guy just walked into her, knocking her off-balance. She yelled, “Excuse you!” and he didn’t look or even seem to notice that he’d run straight into her. (And we’re standing along the edge of a sidewalk in a long line of people.) It’s something I’ve hesitated to complain about, but people here in HK don’t think anything of bumping into you, letting their purses and shopping bags hit you, coughing on you, etc. The sidewalk situation is the #1 thing I struggle with here.

It reminds me of ants on an ant farm: all crawling along, walking into and over each other, none of them seeming to notice. I hesitate to generalize as a rule, but Hong Kong people seem especially oblivious to their surroundings. What would happen if one of these bump-into-you-people turned up in say…Manhattan or Berlin, just walking into people and coughing on them? (They don’t cover their mouths when they cough, but when they get sick they’ll walk around with a medical mask on, so they don’t spread germs.)

On the minibus back to Causeway Bay, we stopped at a light and I watched a guy do the most intense smoking I’d ever seen: puff-ash-puff-ash-puff-ash. After about a full minute of this, I finally got out my camera (who knew he would go on that long?!) and shot about 3 more puffs before the bus took off. (Sorry it’s such a crappy video. Imagine him doing just that for a full minute!!)

Here’s two random streets near my hotel:

And finally, a quick 2am chat between Chip and me. (It was a work night for her! What was she thinking?!) How cute is Chip.

2 thoughts on “Wednesday odds & ends

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