Of course, Robin. Even crime-fighters must eat. And especially you. You're a growing boy and you need your nutrition. - Batman*
saturday, jon and i spent 2 hours wakeboarding in lamma next to the fishfarms. the water was kinda choppy (it was raining in big wave bay where we normally wakeboard), but sitting at the boundary of rain and sun (slightly in the sunny side of course (stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, stay on the sunny side of life--TWO THREE FOUR!)) was awfully pretty. and i managed to give myself whiplash (and maybe a mild concussion?) by forgetting how to wakeboard, sigh. after a big breakfast at frying pan, we met with a few others at the mui wo ferry terminal for a 9km hike to pui o. as far as hikes go, it's not very challenging, but it's one of the more scenic ones i've done here (which i think is saying a lot). we saw lots of strange flowers and huge butterflies and stick insects (!!) and mating bugs (we interrupted a pair who had chosen the footpath as a romantic hideout. they flew apart as soon as we approached). we even found a hidden helipad. i postulated that it was a secret spy helipad for chinese gov agents or drug lords or something, but tim said it was in case someone got hurt on the hike (deduct 10 pts for lack of imagination). oh, and apparently, the top 5 things jon would take if he were stuck on a desert island are 1) tv 2) playstation 3) shotgun 4) power generator (for the tv+playstation combo) 5) something else frivolous. notice anything missing on that list? AHEM. AHEM. COUGH COUGH HACK! yes, thanks for bringing your betrothed. love you too dear.
we got to pui o just in time to start a second beach game (it wasn't really a coincidence that we were hiking there...the issue with pui o is that you feel so cut off from everything...that, and the sand). the sand is very firm and fine grained, which is to say, bad for laying out on, very very good for running on. and very very good for sticking to everything. i played a couple of points before deciding my time was better spent in the water (which incidentally, has a very good (read: low) salinity level and bigger waves than most hk beaches--they hold surfing clinics here too, which i guess we can do if we ever get bored on the weekends).
sunday was way more chill, altho i woke up with what felt like a hangover and a very sore neck (i blame the wakeboarding). we watched dark knight (finally!), and it definitely wins the award for the best batman movie so far. altho, if you think about it, not much of the plot makes sense, which i guess is why you shouldn't think about it too much. for those of you too busy/poor to visit me, i live 2 blocks away from where they shot that scene of him standing on the escalator. all of those places are right outside my house, and those tall buildings he's crashing thru are right near my office. it makes me feel mildly important and very special. like, i could've met him wandering around! and then i could've shown him some damn good eating places.
one HUGE complaint about the mcl-jp cinema in cwbay: it doesn't have any bathrooms!!! what kind of theater doesn't supply bathrooms on the way out?! i've been sitting in a dark room for over 2 hours, sipping on caffeine, crossing and recrossing my legs b/c i don't want to miss anything, and you reward me with...NO BATHROOMS?! the theater exit doors lead straight down a flight of sketchy stairs that deposit you into the main lobby outside of the paid area. even on the way into the theater, the bathroom next to the concessions sucked. it only had three stalls, none of which flushed, AND the floor is so shiny and black that you can actually see the person inside of the stall (not that i spent a huge amount of time looking, but i did notice). needless to say, as soon as the movie finished, i dragged jon thru the crowded streets by his arm until we reached a suitable sushi restaurant with a suitable pee place (quote: "OW").
we spent the rest of the weekend finding 2 new bookstores (not new new, but new to us, which is uber exciting b/c one of them is pretty comprehensive and the other one is an outlet, where everything sells for ~$39--the downside being that everything is grouped by price so not even fiction vs nonfiction categorizatons). i bought 3 new john irvings plus 2 saint exuperys and 1 terry pratchett (i know i know). the bookazine outlet is 2 blocks away from my flat in an old sketchy building with THE sketchiest elevator i've ever been in. it's a very small box a bit larger than a telephone booth with a folding door--you know, one of those doors that you thought weren't legal anymore. when the thing moved, you could see the walls moving outside. the outlet was only on the third floor so we eschewed the elevator in favor of the stairs, which btw, had uneven landings (as in the floor sloped and dented).
on the fifth floor, there's an absolutely lovely (and very hidden) nepalese restaurant (lovely horizon or something). it's behind an unmarked red door (no signs or ads for it outside the building either). it's gotta get all of it's business from word of mouth b/c god knows it's not getting anyone wandering in off the street. it has very good momos (himalayan dumplings) and curries, plus the added incentive of everything on the menu being less than $50. i had 3 lassi's for a total of $45!! that's unheard-of for a restaurant in central. the serving pace is leisurely and the courses came 1 by 1 (which is not necessarily my preferred way to enjoy a meal), but it gave us plenty of time to relax on the cushions and watch the bollywood music videos on tv. and that's my weekend in not quite chronological order.
* quote courtesy of http://greatsayings.blogspot.com/2005/03/batman-and-robin-quotes.html
so on my last night at home, july 3, we ate some chocolate cake and set off what turned out to be 3 very loud whistling/spitting/sparkling tubes. i kept thinking some finicky neighbor would come outside to tell us off (stupid foreigners who don't know when independence day is...).
and then on my actual birthday, naomi made me some yummy japanese curry and served us chocolate cake crumble out of martini glasses. we wanted to watch the painted veil, but her dvd setup objected, so instead we watched little man on hbo...that movie is special...if anyone is looking for a drinking game, you should watch it and drink whenever someone gets hit in the balls.
jon hid my presents in the bathroom (the poo is wishing me "happoo birthday")
and a few random pics from last year that i found on my camera (i've always associated wakeboarding with my birthday, since our inaugural trip was for my birthday last year):
airlines are getting stingier, which i think is fair. i'd much rather have to pay for food than pay more for tickets, but i was kinda surprised when my 5 hour flight from san fran to atl didn't offer to feed me. i was more surprised on my way from montreal to san fran when air canada tried to sell me a blanket and pillow for $2 (they assured me it was mine to keep--great, thanks guys).
as expected, once home, my mom spent the first 2 days pampering me and the last 2 days guilt tripping me about when my next visit would be. i told her i wouldn't come home next year b/c i wanted to spend all my vacation time in europe. we'll see how that goes. my dad showed his love by fiddling with my computer. the battery on my lenovo went kabonk so he bought me a new laptop for my birthday. it's a gateway something or other, and everything is bigger/better/faster AND it can play high def movies...but i miss my eraserhead mouse. i guess i'll get used to the touchpad eventually, but that eraserhead and i have a lot of good memories together (how am i supposed to play minesweeper with a touchpad?!).
as part of jon's grand tour of georgia, we visited:
- stone mtn: jacque caught me up on all the old high school gossip at miss katie's--the place where tiff used to waitress. they throw the "hand tossed rolls" at you; they used to throw the fried pickles too, but now they just come on a plate along with a bunch of other free fried foods (mmm...sweet potato fries and onion peels).
- coke museum: it's a lot fluffier than what i remember, but maybe that's age talking. the coolest part was seeing all the failed coke products (eg coke black--coke with coffee added). AND we got to meet the polar bear!
my mom, pretending to be a coke bottle.
jon amongst the natives
in the tasting room
a tornado went thru atl a couple weeks before we did, and it actually broke a lot of windows in the skyscrapers! how scary would that be?!
the plaza outside of the coke museum supplies loiterers with bouncy balls. here is me, refusing to run after the ball when jon is plainly kicking it in the wrong direction. playing with these balls set my knee back at least 3 days recovery time.
- six flags: we rode THE best rollercoaster ever. bar none. like, totally, THE BEST. it's called goliath. it takes you 200 feet up in the air (as high as acrophobia, the ride where you go up and drop straight down...every park has one of em)--that's 32 seconds of upwards going before you start downwards going. and then you downwards go FAST. it's the metal version of the great american scream machine. a modern classic. no loops, no frivolousness. just drops and speed. marvelous. there's also a superman where the seats go horizontal after you get on, so essentially, you're riding with your belly facing the ground...which would make me feel like superman, except your knees are bent (imagine a seated position), so instead, i feel more like a cow...MOOOO. anyways, i definitely think six flags GA beats six flags NE. there's nothing in new england that can even begin to compare with classics like the monsters' plantation and the log flume. speaking of classics, i cannot believe how rickety wooden coasters now feel. i thought my skeleton would get rattled to pieces. and, they've gotten rid of the viper. RIP.
and then we tried to go whitewater rafting in tennessee (ocoee, where the 96 olympics canoeing happened), but it was closed, and we didn't find out till we got there, so the day went towards visiting rock city (a very posh private garden turned public), eating bbq, swimming in a swimming hole (i needed to get wet somehow), and outlet shopping.
on tues/wed/thurs, they don't open the dam upstream of this place...so instead of rapids, you get pools.
i finally bought some work clothes. shopping in the US just feels better than shopping in HK. i know what stores i like, i know what size i am, and the salespeople are much more helpful (usually). i even felt comfortable enough to buy two dresses--the first dresses i've bought, incidentally, since middle school (i got tired of borrowing arati's clothes whenever i had to go to a function). speaking of shopping, we finally got that second guitar for rockband. now we can have a full fledged four member band! yay!
the weather held up beautifully for jazzfest (thanks meriweather--apparently, no one except me and dordor knows that meriweather is the blue fairy from sleeping beauty...jin even thought that sleeping beauty was the fairytale where she eats an apple and falls asleep...um, close but no cigar). everyone still looks exactly the same, except kathy looks cooler. phne had an awesome tournament, but i forgot to tell her to her face. smite now calls dor "dodo", which totally threw me off. and shuangy was still sick (altho worse this time than usual). and yelena is still beautiful (altho dordor is the only beautiful one who did the wave for me).
personally, i had a meh tournament. i am now solidly a reset handler...i'm too lazy to cut. i threw two completed backhand hucks to kdob, but turned two awful backhand hucks to stacy (one was a decision error, one was an execution error). i also had a perfect pass from jin bounce off my chest in the endzone (which hasn't happened to me in years). ah well. we lost to storm by a chunk in the semi's (after losing to fusion by 1 in pool play--everyone thought we would win until we lost. boo). at least we got to do the beaver cheer thrice and the log roll twice (once for james and once (sorta) for stacy). i love the log roll.
it was very good to see everyone again. liver gave me three boxes of girl scout cookies, and i'm still working my way thru the thin mints (after sneaking them thru both US and HK customs). today, i'm jetlagged and depressed to be back in dreary hk, where it's supposed to rain for the next 6 days.
3 cool cats.