Hong Kong: Feathered Fortune

This post is about animals.  Or rather, the lack of them except for a notable few.  Considering the latitude, I was really surprised not to see more wildlife around besides a few pigeons (not pictured, because I consider them flying rats).  Hong Kong’s urban areas are all crowded up on the shoreline and the interior areas are certainly green enough to support animal life, but I rarely saw any.  As for domesticated animals, it’s surprisingly free of strays for an Asian city, and apparently, people do not take their lapdogs everywhere like they do in NYC.  I did spot the occasional store cat, which I dutifully documented for entropyenator’s benefit:

Obligatory cat photo

Obligatory cat photo

Otherwise, it was up to a slightly bonkers party I attended to really see any people-animal action.  As part of the entertainment, a fortuneteller was giving readings to whoever was interested.  The procedure was that you told the fortuneteller (and his translator, the man leaning over the table) your question, and he consulted his birds on who felt like handling it.  One of them then hopped out of the cage and onto a deck of cards held on its side, where it pulled out one card with its beak.  After getting fed from that small metal box in the fortuneteller’s hand, the bird hopped back into the cage while the fortuneteller interpreted the chosen card according to your question.  Birds were surprisingly efficient, out-pick-in within a few seconds, but then, it’s a pretty easy way to earn your daily seed.

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Hong Kong: Langham Hotel

The blog’s been on a bit of a break, as both entropyenator and I were in Asia.  I was in Hong Kong for business reasons, and let me say, whoever decided to hold a conference at that latitude in May was an idiot, weather-wise.  Running around in at least business casual clothing in 80+ ºF heat, with humidity set at approximately Turkish steam bath, was an endurance, to put it politely.  And also?  Rainy season.  So please excuse the moody nature of the outdoor photos to come.

Thankfully, it was much nicer indoors.  I stayed at the Langham Hotel, which I’m told is a relative newcomer from a very old, distinguished British parent company.  It had some weird quirks to me, unfussy American–there’s a slot just inside the room door where you have to insert your room key to get the light switches to work (common to a lot of HK hotels, actually), turndown service (someone shows up mid-afternoon to flip down a corner of the blankets)–and some excellent perks.  A nice soft bed, power adapter provided in room to forgetful me who didn’t bring her own, representatives lurking everywhere waiting to ask you if you need help, and some very, very good food (including sugar lumps! shut up, I like to sneak them and crunch them in my teeth).  This is where I had breakfast every morning:

Breakfast buffet in the upstairs lounge, Langham Club

Breakfast buffet in the upstairs lounge, Langham Club

Their Tang Court restaurant is Michelin-starred and priced accordingly, and is probably the only place in the hotel where I felt a bit gouged in the wallet.  Tasty as the dim sum was, fancy as the ingredients were, you can get equally good elsewhere for less.  Otherwise, a way better package than the slightly dingy room you’d get at a middling NYC Midtown hotel for approximately the same price.

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P.S. I should mention that, while the appetizer bar (pictured below) was great, the Langham’s The Bostonian restaurant was the worst meal I had in Hong Kong.  Absolutely no salt, like high-end hospital food.  And before you point out the idiocy of eating in a restaurant designed to ape an East Coast steakhouse in Hong Kong, it was a business meal, I had to be there, I definitely wouldn’t have gone otherwise.

Appetizer bar, The Bostonian, Langham Hotel

Appetizer bar, The Bostonian, Langham Hotel

A Birthday and MBA Graduation Weekend

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The last class of my MBA was in early April. I worked really hard to turn in all my final papers, projects and exams early so I could leave that weekend having absolutely nothing to left. I was so damn giddy about this that I then spent the next week or so grinning like an idiot and doing silly things like making lists of all the productive things I could now do with my free time…and then not doing any of them.

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