Kung Hei Fat Choi! (or what I did on my winter vacation)
So the Lunar New Year holiday has come and gone and we’re just about a week into the Year of the Tiger. I’ve lived in Hong Kong for just shy of four years now, but amazingly have never been here for the New Year festivities. Like many other expats, we’d planned on using the three day holiday to take a much needed jaunt out of town, but in the end, a distaste for the extortion airlines routinely practice this time of the year coupled with a very profound desire to sleep kept us here in the territory. After completing our New Year window- for which I deserve absolutely no credit except for cheering Ellis and Brandice on as they twisted twenty strands of plastic peonies into something very much approaching art- we closed Moustache for 4 1/2 days, the longest break we’ve had since opening in September.
To celebrate, we took the advice of our guidebook (available in the about section of the j.a.daye website) and headed out to Victoria Park for the New Year flower market. To say this is a popular thing to do the night before the Lunar New Year would be an understatement of such epic proportions, I wouldn’t bother to mention it here were it not for the fact that I’d like to make a caveat to our guidebook entry on the event and recommend that you visit it anytime but the night before Lunar New Year. I also want to show off some of Ellis’ photos.
If I had to compare it to something, it would be Time Square at the other New Year’s Eve- something, for the record, that I would never even consider doing.
While it is ostensibly a flower market, there was, in fact, as much of this tiger-on-a-stick type merchandise on offer- and, at least on the night we visited, the far more popular purchase.
There were, of course, flowers, lots of flowers, and they smelled fabulous- especially given that the other prominent odor was stinky tofu, which cultural sensitivity alone prevents a description of how truly stinky it is- and if one dared jump off the human train and stand in their midst, he would feel completely transported from the chaotic urban scene.
But then he also might be confronted by a creepy looking bearded man up to no good, so probably best to accept the wafting fragrance and walk on by.
If there was an antidote to the madness of Victoria Park and a Causeway Bay experience to make it all worthwhile, it would have to be a trip to Sushi Hiro, one of Hong Kong’s best and most famous Japanese restaurants, on the tenth floor of the Henry House, sure to be included in the next edition of our Guide to Hong Kong.
Observant readers will note my attempt at a beard (supportive comments are more than welcome.)
Observant readers will also note Ellis’s lack of one. When we first met almost ten years ago, Ellis wore a moustache, and I’ve always thought that it suited him, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see that he had shaved the beard off; however, thinking two mustachio-ed men in a shop called Moustache was a bit gimmicky, I decided to give up shaving for the year of the tiger, which is quite a big deal for me, as I am something of an obsessive shaver. It feels good though, and definitely frees up a few minutes every morning… IN any case, I digress. The little doggy in the shot above is Bu, a very cute French Bulldog – Terrier mix from the Hong Kong Dog Rescue that we took for a walk in Pokfulam to see if she might be a suitable addition to our little menagerie. While Waffles had the same attitude towards her as he has towards the cats- which is to say, he literally took no notice of her at all- Bu was a bit bigger than we had expected, and so with a heavy heart we returned her, comforted with the certainty that she will be adopted very very quickly due to her amiable nature and complete cuteness. I know one doggy who is glad to remain the king of the bed.
Shortly after our trip to Pokfulam, a cold snap like none other I have experienced here gripped Hong Kong, and we were blisfully forced to spend the rest of our “stay-cation” in bed, allowing us to, among other things, catch up on our reading .
I don’t know if I enjoyed this book, so to speak, but it certainly confirmed what Ellis has been telling me for close to two years now: that I really should give up eating meat. Considering we haven’t cooked meat in the house since Ellis gave it up, this has been a surprisingly easy thing to do, though I think, for sanity’s sake, I will also need to give up restaurant reviews and food writing for a while too.
I’m dying to see this film, if for no other reason than Julianne Moore. Since it will not play here for another few weeks, I spent the afternoon re-reading the book. I did enjoy this one, though I could have dealt with a few more pages. It will be interesting to see how it translates to the screen.
I loved this book. My friend Dan has been telling me to read it for years and now I know why. If you are a fan of John Cheever, you must read it. If you are not, you should read it too. It’s famously dish-y, though beyond the scandalous man love revelations, I found it very inspiring and the Cheever family is so interesting it’s like a Woody Allen film. I have no doubt that this would make a fabulous movie, and I am very excited to get started on the biography of him that has just come out.
From our little island of warmth in a giant sea of freezing cold, we also took in the New York fashion shows: like everyone else, we loved Marc Jacobs and not much else; and of course we noted with sadness the passing of Alexander McQueen, commemorating it, like everyone else, with a You Tube retrospective of his fashion shows. I’d never been a great fan of his clothes in the shops, especially here in Hong Kong where he is like the national brand, but his runway shows are something else. I especially love the dancehall, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They one. To lighten the mood a bit, we also watched the complete first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Here’s to another year of legendary queens.