And a good Saturday afternoon to you from across the globe after another great day in the Lion City. Okay, the bull owes you a recap of his week in HK (as well as Taiwan, I know, I know...BACK OFF, RIEGEL!), so let's get right to it.
Sunday was an easy flight over, and it was SO NICE to NOT be a) in the Budget Terminal or b) on a Tiger Airways flight. Now granted, Tiger has done everything we've needed them to, but MAN was it nice to fly SQ (Singapore Airlines) again. Case in point, here's the treatment in coach, even for a donkey like me in row 54.
1. Hot towel upon arrival
2. Adult beverage of your choice upon takeoff
3. Full meal complete with desert
4. Selection of over 80 movies and 190 channels of entertainment (including language classes!)
5. Free headsets
6. Free refills of EVERYTHING
7. Blanket and pillow for EVERYONE
And all that on a 3 hour, 15 minute flight! Seriously - those cats KNOW how to fly. I watched "Limitless" on the plane, and it was REALLY entertaining. I'd read the book as well, and it followed it VERY closely for about 95% of the film. And whilst the ending was different, I must say that I actually preferred the film ending to the book ending.
I then checked into the J.W. Marriott, which has pretty much the swankest lobby I've ever been in. Picture a 2 story wine bar with a wall of glass that overlooks HK harbor - yeah, it was pretty sweet...
Monday was a full day of meetings, but the weather was AMAZING. Granted, it was hotter than 40 of 'em, but the sky was clear, and I had a GREAT view of the mountains and the water. I took some photos of the CBD (central business district), which features some AMAZING architecture (that looked so much nicer and clearer than when I was there in February. I was particularly fond of the Bank of China building, as that one featured prominently in "The Dark Knight" - good times.
That evening I met the Prime Minister, Mr. Andy Carter, at the Globe Pub in the Mid-levels. THIS, sports fans, was a THRILL for me, as I got a chance to cross off one of my "must do's" for HK. Here's the deal - as most of you know, each airline does a magazine that's at every seat. Tiger's got one as well (Tiger Tales), and since we were on Tiger flights FOUR WEEKS IN A ROW, I read the entire thing cover to cover (because you can't use your Kindle during taxi, takeoff, and landing). Well, one of the sections was about HK food and bev, and there was reference to the "Typhoon Brewery" in Hong Kong, which is a 1 man brewing company that specializes in Cask Ales (the guy's a retired pilot from Britain). He has a beer called "Typhoon 8" (I'm assuming Typhoon's 1 through 7 were as bad as Patient Zero for the Taylor Brewing Company), and it is currently only served at ONE PUB in Hong Kong - The Globe. So when Carter called and said, "Let's go to the Globe," I was JUICED! I had 4 of them, and they are quite good - it really is a proper cask ale! And whilst it wasn't as life changing as I'd hoped (and didn't come in a cool glass that I wanted to steal), it was a great beverage and a truly excellent evening, as I quite enjoyed catching up with Andy.
Tuesday I was the picture of boring, as I worked from about 9-11 straight through, taking room service in the hotel. Wild Card - look at me busting my tail for Shared Services - healing the world 1 Siebel ticket at a time, baby!!!! I really wanted to get up to the Peak on this evening, but the reality was that, after a week of vacation and knowing that the week in HK was full of meetings, this was my 1 chance to truly buckle down and get some stuff done. Plus I know that we'll be back in HK, and I want to experience the city with Muffin Puffin! However, there is 1 story from Tuesday that I must relate...
So I visited my team in Quarry Bay, and we went out for lunch at a Dim Sum place. The food was all GREAT, but once all the dishes had arrived, I found myself still quite hungry. Feeling that it was time to expand my horizons, I looked at the menu and ordered OX STOMACH. My team looked at me as if I was from MARS, as they'd NEVER seen an American request this before. One of them said that it was her favorite dish, but she wasn't sure whether or not I'd "like the texture." 10 minutes later the dish appeared, and I can now confirm something - she was correct. I did NOT like the texture.
Ox stomach is kind of like chewing on a fleshy sponge that's wrapped in 3 layers of slimy, chewy fat of various thickness. I had to chew each piece for about 8 hours before it was digestible, and I was queasy both at the table and on the cab ride home. So am I glad I've tried it? YES. Will I ever eat it again? HELL NO.
On Wed I was back out with Andy, but this time we also got Jill out as well. We then had a GREAT night, complete with 2 bars (and some Asahi draft) and an AMAZING meal at a place called Manchu Bistro. Seriously, this place was EPIC - complete with some WICKED soup dumplings and this REDONKULOUS fried lamb. Carter said that the fried beef was better, but I found this stuff QUITE life changing. Between the Nepal place and this place, Jenny and I now have 2 AMAZING places to eat upon our return to conquer the island (to say nothing of another meal in Macau, of course...).
Thursday was a quick one at work, as I only had about 3.5 hours of meetings before I had to jet for the airport. At the airport (which is ENORMOUS, BY THE WAY), I stopped at a Dim Sum place for lunch. I was the ONLY ANG MO in this joint, and clearly my knowledge of dim sum isn't what I thought it was. You see, back in Feb I'd ordered a soup dumpling in shark's fin because I'd been told that it wasn't really shark's fin, but that was just the name for the sauce. Well, I ordered that again (I'm VERY anti-shark fin dumplings, for the record, as they just cut off the fin and don't use the rest of the shark - they just pitch the dude back over the side to drown), but when I took my first bite and tasted stringy cartilage, I realized that I'd officially committed hypocrisy, as I think I WAS eating a shark fin. I instantly pushed that to the side, the guilt wracking my soul. I THOUGHT IT WAS THE SHANGHAI DUMPLING, DAMN IT! They weren't on the menu, and that was the ONLY soup dumpling they had!
Oh well, I then got on the plane, guilty conscience and all, and I drowned my sorrows in the movie "Suckerpunch." Not sure if anyone's seen this (same cat who directed "300" and "Watchmen"), but it was AWESOME. Crazy entertainment, body count of about 4 basquillion people, some great action sequences, and definitely worth the 2 hours invested (especially since it was free, of course).
I then met Muffin Puffin at Wine Connection, where we knocked back some GUUUUUUUUUD cheese before coming home, at which point I got to sleep in my own bed for only the 2nd time in over 2 weeks, which was a GREAT feeling. I just can't sleep without Muffin Puffin there!
Okay, that's the HK recap and definitely all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny