Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Random Observations 1/12/2012

  • Last week, we tried to go to the movies. I saw tried as we went to the movie theater expecting to see MI4, but as it turns out, they do movies here a bit differently than we do at home (like so many other things). In typical American fashion, we ended up hitting the theater about 15 minutes before show time and entered the line to buy tickets. My infamous line impatience quickly kicked in as everyone was taking at least a couple of minutes to purchase their tickets – why should it take so long to buy a couple of tickets? We soon found out when we got to the head of the line. Not only do you buy a ticket for the movie here in Hong Kong, you also reserve a seat. And for us, now only 10 minutes or so before show time, the only seats left were in the very first row. Uh – no thanks. So, we see that the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie is playing and some other random cartoon movie that I can’t remember and ask to check out seating availability for those (which is why it was taking everyone so long in line) – pretty much the same deal, with maybe seats in the first two or three rows. Again, no thanks. Back to the house it was – lesson learned.
  • For some reason, Hotelling’s law seems to have been taken to the extreme in all of the countries we’ve visited so far (Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia). Not sure if it’s something throughout Asia, but basically, all of the stores of a same sort are all clustered together, whether it be in a mall or on a street. Stuff for kids in one zone, home goods in another, sporting goods around the corner, and so on. I suppose that’s good if you want to comparison shop (you can easily move from one shop to the next), but woe is the customer who wants to buy a pair of sneakers but can’t find the sporting goods section.
  • We climbed Castle Peak last weekend with the boys. When we first got here, Doug and I did it together, and I thought there was NO way the boys would make it to the top. But they did it with no problem – not a single complaint. Part of this is due to the fact that it’s way less hot now than when Doug and I did it, but mostly it’s due to the fact that the boys are really good hikers now. We could take them just about anywhere around here, and they’d be fine. This is one of the things we really hope we keep doing when we get back as it’s truly an enjoyable way to spend the day with the boys. For instance, the whole way down (and we took this crazy long way down), the boys shared with us their ideas for books. They had some really creative and fun ideas, and it was so nice to just to hear them go on and one about them.
  • Although the boys don’t know much Cantonese, they’ve managed to pick up some slang and to mimic the Cantonese-accented English of their school peers. Quin has been particularly adept at this. At first, it kind of sounded like he was mocking them, but we’ve realized that he’s really just got the accent down pat. For example, on Sunday, we went to our favorite Thai restaurant for a goodbye dinner with our downstairs neighbors (who have returned to Wisconsin which we’re all bummed about). I told the boys they could get a soda, but told Quin no when he asked for Coke. He responded – che (best way I can describe it – sounds like le in French, but drawn out) which means noooo. The waitress burst out laughing as he had just totally nailed it. Wish we had been able to learn more Cantonese while we were here, but also makes us more determined to push the boys to work on their Mandarin this spring.
  • Doug and I managed to sneak out for a grown-up dinner the other night, my Christmas present to him. I know it’s a bit self-serving as I got to go too, but it’s hard to find a substantial present that doesn’t take up space in luggage! I’m going to let him blog about it, but for me, Bo Innovation was the perfect denouement to our time in Hong Kong – a mix of traditional Chinese with the new, modern and edgy. It was a truly exceptional dinner.

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