Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore -- or are we?

Between the throngs of Asian people and 85-degree February weather, it's rare that I forget I live in Hong Kong, China. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite with Vin and I having a "holy shit, we live in Hong Kong" moment. However, there is that rare instance where my mind escapes and for a split second I think am back on U.S. soil. It's not conscious-- more like when you catch yourself daydreaming and your eyes are open, and is usually triggered by something nostalgic or familiar.

Here are a few examples:

Vin and I were walking around the fancy grocery store (the one that sells Wheat Thins, Vitamin Water and Babybel cheese) and I spotted what I thought had to be a mirage... but no, there it was -- Diet Mountain Dew, my favorite soda of all time. DMD wasn't super popular in NYC so to see it in HK was an almost out-of-body experience. In fact, most New Yorkers scoff at the Dew, calling it redneck cola, but find me a lighter, crisper soda that packs a caffeinated wallop like DMD. It was so exciting that I forgot I was in a Hong Kong supermarket. Vin quickly snapped me out of it when he said we should take all the cans on the shelf (all 6 of them) because we didn't know when they would have it in stock again.

Women who claim that cat-calls from random men on the streets are insulting, degrading and unwanted are just plain lying. Who doesn't like a compliment -- and even better if it's from a stranger because they have no reason to lie (unlike, say, your husband or parents or friends.) Living in New York City, it was a rare commute to the office that didn't involve walking past a construction site. Believe you me, if I didn't get at least one comment or glance, I knew something was off (with me, not them) and made a mental note to find and fix the problem (e.g. did my pants needs shortening, was my dress too big in the waist, etc.)

Some cat-calls are just downright funny. One time my friend Lori and I were eating ice cream cones while strolling through Athens, Greece. This Greek man looks us up and down appreciatively and says in broken English, "Bea-yooo-tee-ful ice cream."

I'm sure you're like, "Where is she going with this?" Well, Hong Kong - like most of Asia, I suspect, isn't a big cat-calling culture. It just doesn't gel with their reserved demeanor. I mean, can you picture an Asian guy saying, "Hey, you're looking good today, sweetheart"?? No, probably not. So I figured my cat-call days were over...until two days ago when, as I'm walking through Central, this man comes up to me and clearly says something in his own language that resembles a cat-call. The lascivious look on his face told me he wasn't asking for directions. As I do in all such encounters I didn't acknowledge it and kept moving... but it made my day, my week, and my blog. Oh and for the record, the guy wasn't Asian -- he looked more Bangladeshi. But it still counts and still reminded me of home.

The one that fools me every time is walking outside of a movie theatre. I think it has something to do with being taken somewhere else mentally by the movie because the credits roll, the lights come up and we walk out of the theatre -- the whole time me thinking we're still in New York. Then we walk outside and I realize I'm not on West 66th Street and it comes crashing back to me that I am in Hong Kong.

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that stand out most.


  1. Is that a pic of the dude from the Diet Coke commercial where the women always watch him from the office building. I would cat call on him!

    I miss you!!! When can we skype again?

  2. I remember that story..."beeaautiful ice-cream!" made me lol when I read it this morning. And who that hot hunk of gorgeousness on your blog? My goodness. I'm salivating...and Adrian would approve.