January 11, 2004

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Quiet weekend for us. Mrs M is suffering morning sickness, however for her it's more an all-day kind of thing. The good news is that means Ubul is cooking nicely.

Friday night had a few drinks and dinner in Lan Kwai Fong. It had the usual mix of gweilo drinkers and Mainland tourists, each staring at each other in a mix of amusement and wonder. We had some dinner in what is affectionately known as "Rat Alley". If HK is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, this alley is one of the most densely populated places in HK. Five of us rocked up and were squeezed into a space for two. There are hawkers who shoves menus in your face, because it is well known in marketing that's the best way to get you to eat somewhere. The king of these is "Elvis", who has the sideburns to prove the King didn't die, he just became Indian and good at shoving people into spaces.

Saturday we had coffee with world-famous jazz musician Sean Wayland. He's actually an old school friend of Mrs M who's had one hell of an interesting career to date. I'm something of a jazz fan, although I've lost touch since the kids came along. But Sean is darn good. He does the whole enigmatic jazz muso thing well. He had a couple of gigs in HK before moving on to China. JC came along with Mrs M and myself as we sat in a coffee shop in Lan Kwai Fong watching the human carnival pass. Most entertaining was one of the waitresses, who in the hour we sat in the place managed to spill two bottles of water, one coffee cup and break a plate.

Sunday was quiet in the morning as JC decided she wanted to re-create our 9 hour flight from Australia to HK. She flew "the plane" (her bed), while Mrs M, PB and myself were the passengers. I'm pleased to say we arrived safely, and managed to watch Lady and the Tramp on the way.

In the afternoon we used our new status as Life Members of Ocean Park to kill some time. This is always a great stand-by as it's close to where we live. We set a record. We managed to get 127 metres past the entrance before we were stopped for a photo of JC and PB. After watching a surprisingly good seal show, which in fact traumatised poor PB no end, we headed over to the Pandas. One of them was good enough to be munching through his body weight in bamboo and JC and PB enjoyed watching him. Almost as much as the 50 Mainland tourists who were busy watching JC and PB. As we left the Panda exhibit I got the fright of my life when two young women jumped up and started patting and screaming "Hello baby" at both JC and PB. Like the pros they are, the girls ignored them, but Mrs M and I were taken aback. Even after one of them pointed and said "pretty" in JC's direction my only thoughts were (a) why aren't we charging $10 a photo and (b) let's get out of here.

As I pointed out to Mrs M, could you imagine walking the streets of Sydney, or London, or New York, or anywhere, and stopping a Chinese family and taking photos of their kids? You'd be arrested.

posted by Simon on 01.11.04 at 09:44 PM in the


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