Sunday, January 16

Going Dark

No Facebook, no Blogger, no Google Docs. 

Shit, what will I do with no Social Networking, or on-line spreadsheets? 

I am an almost literal facsimile of Jack Bauer in 24, when he was incarcerated in China. Or maybe Rick Rubin ... he's a few lbs heavier.

Luckily for me I have a mole with an Enigma machine in the form of Anne and her e-mail.

I've run out of 24 comparisons.

Sunday morning I ate at the hotel buffet. A definite combo of Anglo delights like Eggs Benedict and Hash Browns coupled with a noodle bar and dim sum.

I could hear the words of Anthony Bourdain in my head, reminding me that a Chinese line cook knows shit about how to make a Chicken Caesars Salad but everything about how to cook Chicken feet.

I compromised and ate a little of each cuisine.

Work was ... work. Although in our walled off private area we missed the 'Starbucks and pizza run' that all of the other American attendees seemed to be included in. And an hour later we also missed the 'chopsticks and chow mien run' that the Chinese help managed to organize.

Instead we ate our humble rations of cashew nuts and drank water.

Tonight I skipped dinner and went shopping at the local supermarket. Wow!!!

What a fresh produce/meat/fish dept they had. Old ladies spend an age picking out individual grains of rice and pistachio nuts, while the young ones do the same with a pick 'n' mix candy selection that would have put Woolworths to shame.

They had proteins I've never seen. Christ knows what it was, but with Chinese New Year approaching this stuff was flying* off the shelves. * Not literally.

I was looking for deodorant. Couldn't find any. They had 60 shampoos and soaps, shaving gels and creams, toothpaste, douches, tampons and all the other shit from that aisle, but no underarm action.

Check-out was fun. They charge for plastic bags just like some of the more progressive Western retailers. Also marks the first time I've seen Chinese people stand in line without pushing in.

I walked around and found a 'Watsons', which is like a Boots in the UK, or the personal hygiene department of a CVS in the US. I snagged my deodorant and went to pay. Just like every poorly written sitcom of my childhood, the counter where you pay is full of condoms and nervous teenagers summing up the courage to make a purchase. One of these spotty fuckers pushed in front of me, nice to see order restored.

Next door to Watsons is a jewelry store called Chow Tai Fook. I took a blurry photo of it. Why? Because I am immature, yet too cowardly to stand still when I'm photographing a homophone of the word fuck. Google homophone, it is not a gay mobile. While you have the search engine going check out Chow Tai Fook, they have decently priced jewelry.

Back at the hotel some kind of corporate event meant the place was full of young Chinese women in red ball-gowns with white shrugs, and Mary-Janes. The men in the lobby were all talking to each other with a hand cupped over their mouth. Either bad breath or filthy talk. Probably both.

My supermarket dinner was bread and Chinese cheese, nuts of undetermined origin, a Tsingtao and ... some Cadbury's Chocolate. 

I'll go balls to the wall with the Chinese food later in the week.

And so pre-dawn Monday morning for me equals Sunday afternoon for my darling Anne back home. We just Facetimed. Awesome to see her cooking in our kitchen with her apron on, while in the background I could hear the Bears beat the Seahawks! 

I miss her.

And as handy as he was with the computer, Jack Bauer never Facetimed anyone.

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