Hello, hello, hello….is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me….
Bidding you a Fond Farewell August 22, 2010
I want to acknowledge something. I never did an entry on Hong Kong street style. Why is that? I was too chicken to stop gals and ask to take their picture. There, the truth is out. What my lacking photos would’ve told you is this — the women here dress very smartly, almost too smartly, in my opinion. When I was a first year associate at Dewey Ballantine I will never forget when Junaid I-can’t-remember-his-surname (OR-I-just-don’t-want-to-post-it-here-for-all-to-read-but-I-bet-you-could-figure-it-out-if-you-really-wanted-to) called all of the Project Finance first years (of which I was one) into a conference room on the 35th floor of our posh NYC law firm. The reason for the meeting was to tell us (and by us, I am referring to the women in that conference room, not the men) that “Friday night clothes are just for that, Friday night. Please do not wear them to the office. Ever”. WHA? — who says that, especially at a law firm — I suppose that’s neither here nor there… Well, thank you Junaid — your words have been burned into my memory forever (rightly or wrongly). The point of that tangent is this — I am sort of shocked by the fact that women here wear their Friday night clothes to work (including 4 inch heels) EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. Please don’t get me wrong, they don’t look slutty, it’s just odd to me that sequins is acceptable in the workplace. But who am I to judge? If I have to be completely honest with myself, I’m just jealous that everyone looks so put together (and skinny) in this sweltering heat (bitches).
Moving on, as promised, I’ve included some shoe close-ups below. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included the following: (1) Black suede booty, (2) Tan pointy-toe and (3) Multi-color open-toe. All shoes pictured are courtesy of Billy Chan at LII LII Couture Shoes (Admiralty, Tower 2, 1st floor).
After hearing about my day trip to Stanley with the AWA gals, Husband was on board to go. We decided to take the double-decker bus there. The bus is a great way to see the city in aircon and up high. You can see a lot more from the top deck than from inside a cab. Once there, we hit up the market, unfortunately, the stall owners won’t let you take pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination (think of the pics from the ladies market, but way nicer). I’ve included pictures (and labelled them) of the rest of our trip below.
Over the weekend we had some fun at Red in IFC with Jen and Jurene. There are a few pics of us on the lounge couches that are not flattering. Note the pics where it looks like I’m whimpering “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” (You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the pictures below).
Next on the agenda — Sunday brunch with Jen. Then off to Lamma Island. Why Lamma Island over the Big Buddha (the largest seated Buddha in the world) on Lantau? Well let me tell you. When we asked Jen whether or not we should hit up Lantau and the Buddha, she furtively glanced from right to left before leaning in and whispering “Umm, they built that shit in 1993.” Gaaa. The Buddha was built in ’93 — it hasn’t existed for centuries? PASS. And so we did. Instead we decided to take advantage of an off the beaten path spot that Kelly Donohue told me about — Lamma island. It’s an old-school fishing island. We took a ton of pictures on the boat as well as on the island. We had an awesome time and hope the pictures capture how quaint this island is.
Now to address the elephant in the room. The title of this post is “Bidding you a fond farewell” for a reason. Our tour of duty in HK has come to an end. We are leaving on Wednesday and going on a quick holiday to Tokyo. BTW, who the F gets to say shit like that (“we’re going on a quick holiday to Tokyo” Double Gaaa)? My life is insane right now, insane in a very good way though. Anyway, Husband’s work is done for the time being, and we’ve both really wanted to go to Tokyo for some time. No time like the present. For those of you following this blog, not to worry, I am buying the Luxe guide Tokyo and will do my best to eat, drink and get pampered while there (oh the things I must do to keep my readers happy).
Earlier this week Husband asked me for my summation on Hong Kong. That’s an open-ended question eh? Given his penchant for list-making, I decided to give a stream of conscious answer that went something like this: (1) the sidewalks are incredibly small, (2) it’s unbelievable how many buildings are on HK island — how this island doesn’t sink is beyond me, (3) it’s hard to get used to the whole driving on the other side of the car and street thing — but I’ve managed to figure out which way to look before crossing the street, (4) people do not know how to walk — they push and shove, instead of simply dodging and weaving, (5) there is no counter-culture here, everyone is a conformist — they all dress exactly alike (which makes me pine for hipsters as well as pearls and twin sets), (6) there is very little cultural sight-seeing to do in HK, (7) the carbon footprint here is astounding, (8) given the polluted air, I’m quite surprised at how clean the streets and alleys are, (9) when we first arrived I couldn’t understand why so many women wore stretchpants under their dresses, now I get it — it’s to prevent thigh chaffing. Brilliant (I became a convert while here), (10) I like stir fried noodles a lot, perhaps too much, (11) I will feel totally at home hanging out in SF’s Chinatown now (and am really looking forward to doing so), (12) 5 weeks goes by in the blink of an eye.
Quick aside on the slide show below. I truly couldn’t be bothered to take the time to weed through our pictures and delete the bad ones. Honestly, I like blogging, but not enough to struggle for the 3 hours it normally takes me to post pictures for you all. Thus, enjoy the good, the bad and the extremely ugly (and a ton of pictures that aren’t written about in this post). This is our unedited film. (Yes, I know you will be able to tell how many re-do’s I actually make Husband take — what can I say? I’ve already admitted that I’m vain — but not vain enough that I won’t publish some of these horrendous pictures) So, with that disclaimer in place, enjoy.
Over the next two days, I’ll just be running errands (read: buying us two new suitcases to house all the stuff we bought) and getting us packed. I likely won’t post again until Tokyo. HOWEVER, Husband keeps threatening to do a guest blog. So, perhaps you all will be treated to that. Something to look forward to with bated breath, I assure you. He is a fine writer who will make you laugh out loud. I know he has that effect on me (blush).
Mm Goy Sigh Hong Kong. Until we meet again.
Harijuku grrrls, look out. Here I come.
Almost a local August 21, 2010
Sorry for the long pause in between posts. I’ve been busy. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on.
I joined the AWA (American Women’s Association) a few weeks back. The name of the organization is misleading because 60% of the members are Brits and Aussies. Anyway, I usually do one AWA event a week. Sometimes there will be a happy hour, an afternoon tea, or lunch and a movie at someone’s home. Recently I met a group of women for lunch in Stanley (which is a beachy town on the south side of the island) and then we walked around Stanley market. Unlike the Ladies market, Stanley offers a wider selection in a much calmer setting. Now that I’ve checked out Stanley, I’ll def. have to bring Husband here over the weekend — he will love the laid back pace of this place.
We’ve been back and forth to Kowloon multiple times for our fittings (clothes and shoes). On one of those trips, Daniel and Diane were kind enough to take us out to dinner. We went to Tandoori Nights and never was so much fun had. We weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary, but Daniel hooked us up. Since he knows the owners of the restaurant really well, we got to order off-menu. I ordered all of my favorites and we stuffed ourselves like it was our last meal. (Mom, don’t worry, your kadhi still reigns supreme) There were live performers playing throughout dinner. Then all of a sudden, we were the only people left in the place. So, like any good guju would do, we moved front and center and took over the place. We made songs requests, sang our hearts out and danced around like fools. All in all — one of the best nights I’ve had in Hong Kong to date. Thank you Daniel and Diane!
Husband and I went for a romantic (well as romantic as one can be in 95 degree weather with matching humidity) walk through Hong Kong park and ended up — you guessed it — in another mall. This time we went to Pacific Place mall. Are you all starting to realize there is nothing cultural to do here? The only “sightseeing” that seems to exist is to go to the mall. Oddly fascinating.
A tidbit for you all — Sunday’s in Hong Kong are the domestic helpers’ day off. So every inch of public space is taken up with friends visiting with each other after a long week. They lay down cardboard boxes, bring their mini tv’s and dvd’s, a ton of food and chill for the day. I know you’re wondering “why would they hang out outside all day long if it’s truly as hot as you say it is?” Ah young grasshopper, that’s because most of the helpers live with their employers — so they have to meet up outside.
I picked up my last pair of Billy Chan shoes — pictures are forthcoming in my next post. I’ve gotten a few requests to put up more pics of all the shoes — I shall oblige shortly.
Husband surprised me with a mid-week date that ended with a rooftop night-cap at Sevva.
Hong Kongers really fancy their Happy Hour and we were more than willing to partake in this ritual on a daily basis. When in Rome right? I don’t think HK’ers know what “Hour” means however — their HH’s run from 6-9pm. HA! More fun for us.
This is MAH-JOR August 14, 2010
Shoes, shoes and more shoes!
Friday finally arrived, which meant only one thing — my shoes were ready! So off I went to Admiralty to pay a visit to my new favorite cobbler Billy Chan. The two pair I picked up turned out so perfectly, that I decided (err, got suckered) into ordering a third pair. The pictures below cannot possibly capture the hasty frenzy with which Billy and his brother come at you with sample shoes. I wish I had video of them running about to and fro grabbing the styles and colors that I showed even the slightest bit of interest in. It was pretty comical, and quite effective as far as sales pitches go. Hell, I am walking away with three pairs, right?!!! (That’s Billy immediately below. I’m also sharing a few photos of one of my new pairs of shoes, which are Ferragamo inspired)
Husband and I finally took the Aqua junk boat cruise of Victoria harbor. The laser light show was pretty cool. BTW, I brought our terrible Costco camera that night and the pictures are pretty messed up because the camera just sucks. I need to buy a new one soon.
As every good Tai Tai should, I too have my favorite watering hole. My destination of choice is Pastis in SoHo. Olivier, who is one of the owners, and I have become fast friends. Oh how I love the French and their wine selection. The last time I was at Pastis, some gross old man slipped me a note — the contents of which I’ve pictured below. Deeesgusting.
Now onto my ode to Lucy. These are some snaps from our last morning together. Husband and I love to let her into the bed for snuggle time. Note how there isn’t much snuggling going on from her part — but lots of bed hogging.
Clothes, clothes and more clothes!
For the past three days, Husband has been happily watching the PGA championship on Slingbox. Yesterday I was able to tear him away long enough to take the Star Ferry over to Kowloon. We had lunch at Nobu and stuffed ourselves on the amazing Bento boxes. It was so incredibly good. Then it was off to my parents’ friends’ tailor shop. Husband walked in with the intention of only purchasing one or two shirts and one or two pair of pants. Well 2 suits, 12 shirts, 8 pants, 1 sports coat and 1 wrap dress (for moi) later — we finally left. But Daniel and his wife Diane (who own the amazing tailor shop) still had to introduce us to their friend, David, the “shoe guy”. Good lord, as you well know, I’ve already purchased 3 pairs of beautiful heels from the Chan brothers in Admiralty. But, Husband and I went nuts. It was as if we were under some sort of shopping trance. I think that’s what Hong Kong does to you. Ultimately, Husband bought 2 pair of really nice shoes and I am having a pair of brown eel skin knee-high boots made. Jesus. We must be stopped. This is BANANAS.
If the pictures are any indication of how much product there is to choose from. Just imagine the buzz with which you end up approaching the process. It’s intoxicating. I was pacing around like an animal — trying my best not to make rash decisions that I’ll later regret. I think I did alright. Oh, and yes, that is an actually crocodile skin. Don’t you love the before and after? I am so in heart with that black croc bag but it’s outside of my price range. Darn.
After all of that shopping, Husband and I decided to have a stiff drink.
I’ll post again once my shopping coma has worn off.
Long Overdue August 11, 2010
We’ve been busy for the past week. For the most part, Husband continues to work 24/7 (and I mean that quite literally). But, we managed to make some time for fun.
Random Husband spotting! We went over to Causeway Bay and discovered..you guessed it..another mall. Surprise surprise. I don’t think the word “recession” exists or is known over here. So, Husband and I grabbed a bite and took in a small art show that was in the mall.
So, a bit of background for you. Husband works for a law firm named Gunderson Dettmer LLP. Well, Mr. Gunderson is working on this deal and has been flying out to HK to meet with the client. On Friday night, I had the pleasure of being invited to dine with Mr. Gunderson. I was a little bit nervous to break bread with the named partner of Husband’s firm — but all went well when we discovered that we’re both total food and wine lovers. I even got my hair blown out for the occasion. Kelly, if you’re reading this, the blow out doesn’t compare to the wonders you do with my hair — I miss you terribly (and my salt n’ pepper roots are proof of that). We ate over in Kowloon at Hutong (a fancy joint that is Michelin starred). The views of HK from across Victoria Harbor were breathtaking. However, I was too embarrassed to bust out my camera in front of Mr. Gunderson — so you’ll have to wait to see those views until another time.
We finally took the tram up to the peak and had lunch at the Peak Lookout restaurant. It was fun, but I look a bit salty in the pics b/c we had to postpone the trip by many hours as Husband tended to all of his work. PLUS I can’t convey in words how darn hot it is here. If you take a bad picture you simply don’t have the energy to take a re-do. It’s just not worth the energy! Trust me, I am very vain — and I can’t believe I’m actually posting some of these pictures. But, if there’s one thing I know, people who read blogs don’t want to see scenery pictures only. So, I”m puttin’ it all out there for your entertainment (you better be entertained). I know that we don’t look too hot in many of these photos. Please reserve all comments on this front.
We took the ferry over to Kowloon and hit the Chungking Mansions for some Indian food. Husband’s guidebook said this about the place: “Say ‘budget accommodation’ and ‘Hong Kong’ in one breath and everyone thinks Chungking Mansions, a place like no other in the world. This huge ramshackle high-rise dump in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui caters to virtually all needs – from finding a bed and a curry lunch to changing your Burmese kyat and getting your hair cut – but you may be put off by the undercurrent of sleaze and the peculiar odour of cooking fat, incense and sewage. The building’s infamy is fuelled by tales both tall and true of conflagrations, crimes, and unclaimed bodies; everyone should come here once.” WHA? UNCLAIMED BODIES? Anyway, we ate some fantastic Indian food up on god-knows-what floor of this crazy-ass building and it was worth it.
After stuffing ourselves, it was off to the Ladies Market. The pictures speak for themselves. There were SO many people on the streets, it was insane. If you receive a souvenir from us — you can bet your a** that it came from the Ladies Market. There was so much stuff to pick from, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I spent an afternoon at Artjamming painting. They let you drink wine while you paint. Tell me — did my wine consumption help or hurt? You decide.
Some final thoughts and observations for you:
I’ve finally gotten used to the fact that there is literally nothing to do in this town before noon. So I wake every morning, see Husband off to work. Drink my two cups of tea and catch up on FB and email. Then I head to the gym for a bit. I come home and finish off my workout with one of my Bar Method DVDs. After that, it’s time to get ready and head out. WIth all this gym nonsense, I’m hoping I actually drop a few pounds while I’m here. We’ll see about that though.
MTV China actually plays music videos. Imagine that!
I’ve begun to fully embrace pushing and shoving on the sidewalks. It’s too damn hot to be polite — so, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
I’ve also fully embraced using my umbrella to make my own personal shade. It actually helps.
My blue and white satchel bag (pictured above) is hand-made by my mother-in-law, Diane. She is the best, I keep telling her she should open a store on ETSY.
I went to see Billy Chan of VII VII Couture Shoes. I pick up my two pairs of custom-made shoes this Friday. Stay tuned for pictures.
We’re going on the junk boat tour of V. Harbor tonight. Stay tuned for some night pics of HK. Should be good.
I love that our apartment posts the weather for the day in the elevator:
Until next time.
I Love Lucy August 4, 2010
This is really just for my enjoyment. I’ve been missing Lucy, so wanted to dedicate a post to her. I figured it’d be therapeutic for me to go through pictures and upload them. The below pictures were taken this morning at the High Tail Hotel (the amazing cage-free boarding facility Lucy is living at for the month).
FOUND – Milan Station — which is the gently-used bag store. Turns out it’s 4 blocks down the street from our apartment. I’ve walked by it three thousand times and never noticed it. My friend Esther (from SF) hooked me up with her friend Linne (who lives in HK). Linne and I met for lunch and quickly bonded over shopping, and one thing led to another, and then we were at Milan Station. Heaven on earth. If I can take photos in there, I promise to post them. They have EVERYTHING: Hermes, Goyard, Balenciaga, Chanel, LV, Gucci — and the list goes on and on.
HEARD — According to Linne, there is a shoe cobbler a few stops away on the MTR (HK’s subway system) who will custom make any sort of shoe for you — based on an actual shoe you bring in, or a picture. GAAAAA! Who sees A LOT of custom Louboutin-lookin’ heels in this Tai Tai’s future? I HEART Hong Kong.
Really, there is nothing more I could possibly add to this post to make it better. So, I will end it right here.
Gossip Girl — err, I mean, Andrea