Maria in NYC Music Project – Day 18, from HK

Today’s song is Ellis Unit One by Steve Earle. I figured I’d post the song first then write some updates.

So in Hong Kong I am actually the guest of some high ranking official in the Chinese government related to the governing of the city and its Chinese military presence. I went to their home, which is huge (300 square meters) and where the old English government officials used to live. There are military guards every where, they have army people doing their cooking, cleaning, errand running, driving, etc. We get saluted every time we leave the parking lot which is neat. They are relatives of mine in that I and their daughter share the same great grandfather. Her father is the government official, and they had originally wanted me to either stay in their apartment (the third floor of which is never used they say) or at the military base overlooking Victoria Harbor in the dorms they have there. Apparently, at all these locations I’m not technically allowed to enter and am only able to by virtue of staying silent and looking Chinese. I turned down their hospitality, and booked a hotel; I figured that’d be safest.

Anyway, they gave me a really neat water bottle, which I’ll post photos of later, and they took me around town, picked me up from the train station, and all of us had lunch today where I drank very expensive Baijiu with the father. I think we downed at least 6 shots of this 106 proof Chinese grain liquor, and apparently it was a 200 hundred USD bottle. I’m used to drinking the cheap 1 USD stuff but hey…it actually was better.

Lunch was at this very neat fish market right next to the harbor, I think on the very south side of Hong Kong island. First there were these boats, like classical Chinese style fishing boats as one would expect there to be in Hong Kong, kind of crappy looking, nets and rope every where, tiled roofs, that sort of thing. They were all in this tiny little marina type place and apparently all the fish they get immediately go into this long alleyway where there are just stalls upon stalls of fresh fish sellers. And I’m talking HUGE fish, lobsters, crabs, all kinds of shrimps and shellfish, sorts of things you might see in the states if you go to a fancy fish monger or a Chinese fish market, but never in this quantity. We had our choice of who to get our stuff from. Oh, and we were getting fresh sea food because what you do is by it from the vendors fresh, they bag it, then walk over to one of the restaurants next to the alley where they’ll be killed and cooked to order. Pretty neat. But the seafood, things I’d never seen before, or had seen some much smaller version of; it’s difficult to describe and I wish I had a picture but I just don’t…They had abalone of all sizes, half a dozen different kinds of shrimp of all sizes, clams, those spiral shell shellfish that you’d normally expect to find in aquariums, you know, that you make horns out of, I guess that’s a conch?, big traditional looking lobsters, even bigger blue and light green ones, what looked like hairy crab, snow crab, even Alaskan king crab, and more I can’t name, langoustines (which look disturbingly like pill bugs to me…), and fish, huge fish, gotta be over 100 lbs and I can’t imagine how they’d cook that.

So we took our order of langoustines, clams, a medium size fish, a big conch and lots of tiny ones, abalone, and those shells whose name I don’t remember but they’re vertical, kind of look like reeds or something, and the thingie inside sticks out one of the ends, I think they stick to rocks? We then walked over to a restaurant literally on the water’s edge, overlooking the harbor. The langoustines were baked, the clams were stir fried with Chinese spicy sauce, the fish was cooked into a fish with some of the big conch, the rest of the big conch was sliced and stir fried, the little conch were steamed and served with dipping sauce, the abalone were steamed as well, and the thingie that I don’t remember what it’s called was baked as well with garlic sauce. All very tasty, almost literally all things I’ve never had before, and you know, I’m not entirely dying to eat any of them again either heh…either. Seafood lover’s paradise I should think though!

But I over drank, as my Facebook status can attest to, trying to keep up with this high ranking military official as we discussed the relative difference between how guests behave in China and in the US. In China, they’re my hosts, we’re related by blood, and if I come to where they are, it’s expected that they will take care of all my needs and that I won’t have to lift a finger or even offer. This came up because I, like the good little American that I am, kept trying to pay for things and asking to take them out for dinner once to thank them. They would have none of it, and said that I can thank them by taking their daughter out when she’s visiting Beijing or the US but then I pointed out that by US standards, technically she’d have to take me out as thanks, at which point we agreed then that I will just have a personal double standard and try to be both the best guest and most gracious host.

Um…abrupt ending, but I’m tired. I drank way too much, kind of passed out back in the hotel room in the middle of the afternoon and fell asleep. I took a shower after I woke up, then went in search of food and found an Egyptian restaurant. I also wanted to capitalize on the fact that Hong Kong has more movies than mainland China so I watched Predators which was really quite bad actually, but it was all that was showing. Maria’s also not here and I don’t think she would have wanted to watch that movie so I figured it’ll be alright also.

I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures today, even of cats, which is sad. But it was raining and difficult since I was being moved around by these people and I didn’t want to impose any more than I already was. Ah well, this might be a pictureless trip of Hong Kong proper, but there are lots of train pictures, and I’m sure tomorrow I can get a few before I leave; it should be appropriate to get photos of the family that I’m with before saying goodbye.

I really do like this city though, have I said that before? There’s a part of me that really hopes Maria and I can move here one day. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a job also heh.

3 Comments

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maria | July 16th, 2010 

I hear that Predators is pretty bad, but doesn’t its plot remind you of the Hirogen?? I may want to see it yet. ;)

maria | July 19th, 2010 

Hey, where are the promised water bottle photos?

sean | July 22nd, 2010 

Well we may unfortunately miss it; I haven’t seen posters for it in the mainland yet…I wonder if it was a Hong Kong only thing?

And yes, photos of the water bottle are coming :P

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