Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cobras and Pythons

I wish I was referring to the latest Manolos or a trendy shot that you can get in a bar. Alas, I am not.

In my exercise class this morning I learned that cobras and pythons are indigenous to DB -- as common as rats and pigeons in NYC. Almost everyone in class had their own snake story.

One woman awoke to a crash in the middle of the night. An 8-foot python had fallen through the ceiling of her helper's bathroom. Poor helper! Apparently all was ok, she said. The python wasn't hungry so he didn't attack anyone. Coincidentally, her neighbor's cat had gone missing the day before.

Same woman said you see cobras all curled up all the time when you go hiking, something I've done on a weekly basis since moving here. Lovely.

Another woman heard about a Huskie that had gotten attacked by a large python. How could a snake take on something so large, you ask? Well, he just coiled his body around the Huskie and squeezed the life out of him. She didn't say if the snake actually ate the dog or not.

So now in addition to an epileptic seizure and heat stroke, I have to worry about Victor getting eaten by a python.

Dragon Boating

Dragon Boating is a huge sport here. It's so popular they've dedicated an entire public holiday to it.

Let's start with the basics. What is a dragon boat and what is dragon boat racing? Dragon boating is a sprint race involving large 22-person boats (canoes on crack, really) in the water. The second photo was taken from our bedroom window and is an actual race.

While Stanley is the main dragon boating hub, Discovery Bay was one of only a few other HK spots that held races. In true DB form, the town got decked out in Dragon Boat fever. Here's a view of the D Deck (where lots of our restaurants are) with the beach (starting line) in the background.

Here's the beach where each team had their own tent:

In the heart of the plaza were booths selling everything from ice cream to oriental rugs and a huge stage, where I'm guessing they presented the winners with trophies. New Balance saw a good marketing opportunity and asked some employees to hand out fliers. Anyone else thinking Halloween 2009?!

The beauty of dragon boating is that people of all ages, sizes and skill levels can participate. Usually, dragon boaters break down into 2 groups -- serious competitors and people who want to do something funny when they're wasted. We have friends who are serious competitors and who trained for a good 6 weeks leading up to the day (they came in 2nd overall!) Then there are these people, whose boats I'd rather be on any day!

We had a great first Dragon Boating holiday -- spent the day at Zak's with friends, drinking beer, eating calamari and enjoying the decent weather. Unfortunately things didn't stay that way. We came home to find Victor a little out of sorts and after taking him to the vet, on our way back home he proceeded to have cluster seizures. Vin and I literally thought he was dying. It was awful. After spending the night in the animal emergency room on HK Island, Victor was diagnosed with epilepsy. The good news is that it's a livable condition; the bad news (or good news for Victor) is that we'll have to give him valium up the pooper shooter during his next seizure to keep things under control. Now THAT should be a good time.

Here's a picture of our epileptic pug the when he got home from the hospital.


Let me start out by saying that I recognize the hypocrisy of someone who speaks only one language bagging on someone else's second or third or fourth language. And this post isn't about making fun of the English I've heard, but rather showing how when our language is taken literally it can be quite funny.

Case #1

I'm sitting in my doctor's office - -the same doctor I see pretty much weekly -- and on this day have decided to put an effort into my appearance. Now, I'm not saying my hair's blown out or I'm wearing a cocktail dress, but I've chosen to leave the jeans behind and am actually wearing mascara and lipgloss! In fact, I'm wearing one of my signature summer dresses, some nice high wedges and sure there may be a hint of cleavage, but I promise you nothing salacious. The nurse opens the door to let me into the doctor's office and, in front of the entire waiting room, says, "Ooooh, very sexy" and makes a hand gesture about my body. Suddenly I found myself wanting to throw on a sweatshirt and scrub off my blush. The last thing you want people to think is that you're getting sexed up for your doctor's appointment. No scratch that, the last thing you want is for your doctor to think you dress like a whore. So I scurried into his office and tried to not make eye contact with anyone in the waiting room when I came back out. This same thing happened again the next time I dressed up well over a month later (this time I was having lunch with a friend). She opens the door to the waiting room and says, "Ooooh, sexy today." OK, I decided, this lady is nuts.

Then yesterday I was off to an orientation for some volunteering work (the pinacle activity of any self-respecting housewife!) and decided to dress up. Again, very demure dress with NO cleavage and a hemline that reached my knee, but with heels and makeup. A woman with a dog (who I guess I've spoken to when I've been walking Victor) walks by and says, "Where are you going? You look so sexy." It dawned on me that Chinese women with excellent English vocabularies use the term "sexy" in place of "nice". They don't mean you look like you want sex; they just mean, 'hey you chose to dress up today."

If you're not surprised by this story, just take a moment to envision your nurse or a neighbor or a grocery clerk telling you you look "sexy". Um yeah.

Case #2

Our vet set us up with a very nice Italian woman named Fiorenza who had recently gotten a pug puppy named Pepe. She was going back to Italy for the summer and needed someone to watch Pepe while she was gone. Everyone in HK leaves for the summer, so while it doesn't make her Pet Owner of the Year to leave her new puppy behind for 3 months, it's also not all that unusual here. One day over lunch Vin asks Fiorenza how Pepe was doing after having been neutered the previous week. She replied, "He still gets sexually aroused; in fact just yesterday he had an erection." Vin nearly spit out his lunch.

This is Pepe (sans erection) with Victor in the background.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I suck

If there are still people reading this blog, I feel compelled to apologize for my silence. I can't decide if it's because I'm actually living life instead of observing it...or if I've been just plain lazy. Whatever the reason, it's been awhile since I've blogged and I'm here to repent.

The good news is that the dry spell is over. (I still retain the right to have another dry spell after this mini burst of words!) The next few blog entries are just random observations and not novel-like accounts of a trip or anything. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy them as they capture everyday life in HK.