Just some general bitchin’ and moanin’ about my life. Some people seem to enjoy these kinds of posts.
I used to do the HK/USA thing a few times a year and handled the jet lag pretty well. Now it’s just once a year and it’s a disaster. I didn’t have a single good night’s sleep during my week in the US and despite being back in HK for 10 days I have yet to sleep through an entire night. It’s been pretty tough getting through the work day, my energy level drops off rapidly in the afternoon, and Friday was a 12 hour day in the office. The result of this was that when I got home, around 8:30, I forgot all about dinner and just went to sleep.
Aside – Friday night when I got off the MTR at Hang Hau, I waited in the plaza for my gf to show up so we could go home together. I’m standing there smoking, a woman (Caucasian, for those who care) comes up and asks me for a light, lights her cigarette and then starts making conversation. She’s just moved to HK after spending a couple of years teaching in the mainland and has lots of questions about HK. She was in Hang Hau for the first time to do some tutoring and is finding the place unusual, to say the least. More on her later.
Hong Kong has been having not just hot weather but record hot weather. Every day has been scorching, especially in Sheung Wan, a concrete jungle with air conditioner exhausts blowing out into the streets everywhere and barely a hint of green anywhere to absorb this heat. And then on Wednesday, two of the air cons at home didn’t quite die but started coughing up blood.
Great, right? Contact the landlord. Guy will come on Thursday. Except he doesn’t come. End of day, an apology, he’ll come tomorrow. Friday, same deal, doesn’t come, an apology. Saturday he shows up, says the air cons need to be replaced, he’ll contact the landlord. Early this morning, an email from her. She suggests that she’ll replace the two air cons if I agree to pay the installation and inspection fees totaling HK$3,500.
I can guess what you’re thinking. Except (1) the landlord has been really nice to us so far, starting with when she came down 15% on her asking price for the rent and was willing to hold the place vacant for 3 weeks till we were ready to move in and (b) when the lease comes up for renewal, presuming she has a long memory, it could mean the difference between a 10% increase and a 50% one.
I’m trying to negotiate anyway. Maybe just split the fee? Maybe we pay the fee but she gives us air cons with heaters instead of regular air cons? No answer yet.
Saturday lunch, meet a friend and head to Anthony’s Ranch. Whatever else you might think of this place, here’s a secret. They make the best damn huevos rancheros in HK. It’s only on the breakfast menu but they’ll make it any time of day – if the right guy is still in the kitchen (and maybe only if they know you). Best meal I’d have all weekend.
Saturday afternoon friends came over, despite being warned that the air con in the living room was purely ornamental. It’s too damned hot to sit up on the roof so we’re sitting there in the living room, fan blowing hot air all over us, trying to stay well hydrated. I don’t know how they lasted there as long as they did.
Saturday night we head into Wanchai and, where else, Amazonia. And who’s standing in front of Amazonia smoking a cigarette? You guessed it, the very same woman I’d met in Hang Hau on Friday evening. She’s been in HK just a short time but long enough to love Icebox, the regular band there.
Anyway, we’re sitting there, me, my gf, this woman, some other friends, and as the evening progresses the place quite naturally starts filling up. And lately it just seems like there’s always someone looking to start trouble there. Invariably, it’s a tourist. In this case some German guy who got too drunk, too early, and seems to be looking for a fight. I don’t fight, I just move away, but it doesn’t help my mood much. We get out of there at 11:30. By the time we’re halfway home we remember that we never had dinner (the serving on the huevos rancheros at the Ranch is huge) and I’m not even feeling hungry so I just drive by the McD’s in Hang Hau so my gf can grab something for herself.
I don’t know what it is about the movie Rango. We’ve now made 4 attempts to watch it. And after 4 tries, we’re now almost an hour into it. I like it but it just keeps putting me to sleep. On the other hand, we had no trouble making it through the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring, cause I picked up the 15 disc (!) boxed set of the extended version of Lord of the Rings, now on Blu-Ray. 6 discs for the films themselves, 9 discs of bonus features (26 hours! who has the time?) not to mention coupons for downloading digital versions for one’s computer or mobile device.
Have also been watching season 2 of Elvis Costello’s Spectacle, which I also picked up on Blu-Ray. The second season was filmed at the Apollo in NYC. One show features a “dream band” consisting of Allen Toussaint, Richard Thompson, Nick Lowe and Levon Helm. Holy shit is about all I can say. There are two entire episodes devoted to Springsteen. Great stuff.
The album I’ve been playing the most this week is David Bromberg’s Use Me, his first studio album in at least a decade and a half. Some of it works for me, some of it doesn’t, but the stuff that works really recalls his great 70s output. Guests on the album include Levon Helm, Dr. John, Keb Mo, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, Widespread Panic, Vince Gill, John Hiatt. Also been listening to Dave Alvin’s latest – I prefer the rockier moments on it.
So far no answer back from the landlord on the air con. It’s dinner time Sunday night. The weekend went by awfully fast. Not feeling ready for Monday yet.