Monday, May 31, 2010

Can a dog tell time??

Because mine manages to somehow know when it's dinner time...every day.  Sometime between 3:45 and 5pm, he starts The Stare.

On this day, he was asleep and -- no joke -- hops up out of nowhere and starts it up.  Check out the clock.

Hong Kong Corn is Wack!

Rode the bus yesterday after working out and unfortunately got caught in a tornado of kids who just got out of school.  (Note to self -- don't work out between 1-4pm.)

Being sandwiched between 60 12-year olds wasn't fun, but it did give me a front-row seat for some of the most hilarious conversations I've ever overheard.

12-year old British kid (with classic British accent) sitting with his three buddies: "When I was in America, I had corn on the cob there and it was, like, the best corn on the cob ever. Then I came back here [Hong Kong] and I ate corn on the cob and I vomited. The corn here is wack."

Temporarily distracted by another group of kids who were yelling, "She-Male, Female...She-Male, Female." I don't think they know what a she-male is; think they were just having fun with words.

Then I tune back into the boys convo and this kid is still talking about corn!

"There may be a few black parts, but you know it's good when you fry it and it's golden, not brown."

I've decided that instead of making this a blog about my newish life as a housewife, I'm going to ride the DB buses and ferry when school lets out and report back on all the crazy things kids around here say.  Between me and my Naughty Pussy friend, we should have a few NY Times best-sellers in no time!

Fat and Milky

I need to come clean about something.  There's a chance that I've lost my illustrious "housewife" title and have to close down this blog or name it something else.  I took a job -- part time only! -- and so have passed off the cleaning portion of my duties to a lovely helper named Lyn.  I still cook (every meal), clean the dishes and laundry, do all the grocery shopping, iron Vin's shirts and walk Victor 3 times a day.  

You know what -- forget I said anything. I am SO justified in my title.

Anyway, my new job involves planning community events -- so it's great because I'm out meeting people, using my brain and putting 11 years worth of skills to use.  All without the crazy clients or ridiculously unrealistic deadlines.  Nice, huh?

However, this being Hong Kong, it's never straight-forward.  See the following email I received from a printing vendor I'm working with:


I will send you the roof today.


Yes, I can now say I know someone named Fat.  And he's sending me a roof (not a proof).  Awesome.  

I wonder if Fat knows Milky, who just rang me up at our local drug store.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I miss black people

Well, black people and Hispanics, actually.  Living in NYC, you're surrounded by so many different cultures -- the majority of which are black or hispanic.  Now I'm surrounded almost entirely by Asian people (save for the white expats) and it's just so boring.  I have been known to count the number of black people I see in a week here and seldom get to my second hand...

I guess I really just miss NYC.  And when I have those NYC homesick pangs, there's only one place to go -- Posto Pubblico, my favorite local NYC Italian restaurant here that is run by 2 guys from Brooklyn.  Arancini, eggplant rollatini, a Grandma slice -- you name it, they serve it.  To kick it up a notch they play hip-hop from the early 90s -- Q-Tip, Mos Def, Beastie Boys, etc.

The best part though -- the thing that really pulls at my heart strings, is the sign that hangs over the door:

Yep --the real deal (stolen by the owners from a subway stop in Queens).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Inappropriate Giggling

This is an important one I'm about to share -- especially for Americans.  In fact, this and the durian posting should be the two things you remember if you ever travel to southeast Asia.

One of Victor's friends in the neighborhood, Jay a Hong Kong rescue dog, was being shipped to London as his owner was relocated there. Long story short, at the airport Jay jumped out of his crate and went missing.  For four harrowing weeks his poor owner flew back and forth from the UK to HK to organize search parties.  Everyone in the neighborhood got involved; we all wanted to find Jay.

Since I know all the dog walking helpers in the hood, I used to chat with Jay's walker routinely during the four weeks to get updates.  It was the same "he not found, ma'am" and we all went about our business.

Then, a few days ago I found out from a friend that Jay had been found on the airport premises...dead.  I was gutted; the entire neighborhood was.  Later that day I ran into Jay's helper.  She says, "Jay dead" and starts for a good 5 seconds.

Had I not had a similar experience in Vietnam a few months back I would've gone postal on this helper.  But I learned there that many Asian cultures laugh or giggle when they are embarrassed, ashamed or in the wrong.  Bizarre reaction, I know.

The Backstory:

As part of our Vietnam trip I planned for us to spend a few days in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was, according to the tour guide, only a 2-hour drive from Hanoi where we were staying.  It was a tough call, but I decided that 2 hours wasn't so bad for what was essentially an overnight stay since it was supposed to be so spectacular.

When our bus rolled up to Halong Bay FOUR HOURS after leaving Hanoi, I was rip-shit mad.  The guy who worked for the tour opened up the bus bus doors and I just unleashed on him:  "Two hours?? Where do you people get 2 hours??  We didn't hit traffic; there is no way in hell that trip EVER takes 2 hours.  Why would you tell me that???"

Instead of giving me some sort of excuse, the guy just stared at me with this big goofy grin on his face and laughed and said, "Let's get your luggage on the boat."  As if I hadn't just had this major meltdown on if there was nothing at all wrong.  So I said, "What is wrong with you?  Why are you laughing?"  Again, all of this is still in a majorly pissed-off, raised voice.  The guys continues to pretend like I've just said, "Hello -- great to see you! Where's the boat?"

We get to our cabin (me, still seething) and find a "guide to Vietnamese culture" pamphlet sitting on our pillow.  #1 on the list informs readers that Vietnamese people will laugh and smile when embarrassed or in the wrong.  It's the way they show deference while avoiding confrontation (something the Vietnamese try to do at all costs) and not to be misinterpreted as anything else.  Oops.

Hikah the Helper

Apparently I have a mental block when it comes to Aussie accents.  Last night, I was hanging out with an Aussie friend who was telling me a story.  It went a little something like this:

Friend: "So I was waiting there for Hikah to pick me up..."

Me: "Is Hikah your helper?"

Friend (very confused): "Um no, I said, 'hired car'."

It goes both ways though because as I was telling a story about a friend named Craig, she stopped me and asked, "How do you spell his name?"  I spelled it and she said, "oh, we say it 'cray-g', not 'kregg.'"

Aubergine, eggplant folks...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calling all Lonely Housewives

It's been over a year since my post on swinging -- the one about how DB is a hotbed of intra-marital gymnastics, and I've come to believe that this whole swinging thing is really just a myth.  I've become friends with many couples who live in the Marina and all claim to be swing-averse.  I've also never seen a box of detergent in any DB window.  Chalk it up to urban legend, I said.

Similarly I scoffed at the rumor about DB housewives being prone to having affairs with tennis instructors, maintenance men, etc.  "Why?" I thought. "Just because we're home alone a lot?"  That's as bad as the one about us all being ladies who lunch, play tennis, hand our kids over to helpers and blog about our inane lives...  Wait a minute!

Of course, there was that posting on an Asia expat chat board I read before leaving NYC -- something along the lines of "DB has total MILFs; a friend of mine is a repairman and he always gets laid out there on jobs." Another boastful man making up stories, I thought.

Then one night a few weeks ago I'm on the Discovery Bay forum -- a place where residents hiding behind anonymous monikers bitch about fellow neighbors, ask for restaurant recommendations, rat out bad helpers, complain about the ferry/supermarket/bus/(insert topic here).  It's an online microcosm of our community and where a lot of shit goes down.

So I'm on there and see a posting from a man named Thom.  It went something like this: "Looking for any lonely housewives or girlfriends who want to have a good time.  Send me a private message if you're interested." Is this guy for real?  Maybe this is some kind of experiment where they see just who and how many respond in earnest.  (I did not, for the record.)

Before I could get too far in my pondering I saw that Thom got a response (a public one) that read, "Geez Thom, can you be any more desperate, mate?"  This, btw, was written by some guy named "Big Schlong".

I kid you not.

Hong Kong "Logic"

Only in Hong Kong does this sign (seen when you get off the elevator on my friend's floor) make sense:

Girl Nuts

My Naughty Pussy friend (she's gonna kill me for calling her that!) has shared a few more gems from the playground.

First, apparently kids here have bastardized a very harmless saying and now run around calling each other "scardey pussy".

Even better than that, she came home to find her 10 year old son and 2 of his friends on the computer.  When she looked closer she saw the term "girl nuts" entered into the Google search engine and asked what they were looking for.  Turns out they wanted to see what girly bits looked like and assumed that since they have "nuts", they'd be able to see what girls have by Googling "girl nuts".

I'm scared to know what Google Images would come back with on that one!

Update: My Dutch friend just read this posting and shared her own funny story.  Her friend's daughter was doing a school report on cats and Googled "pussy with no hair".  Yes, the poor girl had quite a scare when the Google image results came back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grocery Store Treasures

Things you find at my grocery store:

Fruit disguised as hairy balls


Live Shrimp

It's unfortunate I can't provide the gut-wrenching sound of a fish being beaten to death because that's another "treasure" my grocery store provides...

I say "eggplant"; you say "aubergine"

There is nothing more humbling than not being able to communicate with people who speak English.

Case in point, the following exchange with an Aussie salesguy at our local sporting goods store:

Me: "I'm looking for some tennis shoes."
The guy points me to a rack of white Reebok shoes.
Unimpressed I say, "I don't really like these."
Salesguy: "Well, those are the only tennis shoes we have."
Confused, looking at the rest of the racks filled with colorful Asics and New Balances I say, "What about those?"
Salesguy: "Those are trainers."

Tennis shoes = sneakers = trainers