Panasonic! Philips! Canon! Apologies but I’ve been looking at that glow in the dark skyline for far too long. I’d escaped to Victoria Harbour after a couple of ill-advised hours with some fifty-year old ex-pats, in some typical ex-pat bar called something like The Junk or O’Malley’s Irish Dragon. I’d just like to point out that telling Kathryn ‘The Mangler’ Duncan about this on facebook (they have facebook in HK!) she enquired if ex-pats were former postmen. No. And they’re not former arse-holes either. They’re current arse-holes, right now, in every sense of the word. Well these particular ex-pats were anyway, I’d hate to be accused of brushing with such broad strokes. The average Hong Kong ex-pat wears a blue shirt with a white collar, is either overweight or over-muscled and cruises round bars yelling down his mobile about containers needing riveting. Their heads need riveting. I had one guy telling me why China was a shit hole, why Hong Kong had no culture and why us Christians had to lead the way. He couldn’t answer why he’d stayed in Hong Kong for so many years but I think it had something to do with a 22 year-old Filipino bearing his children. The longer I sat with these blokes the stronger the sour taste in my mouth became. They wanted to be in white helmets and red coats, forcing the colonials out their opium dens and into some good hard labour, but instead they wore matching shirts and rolled bullshit around like dung-beetles (thank you Karl Pilkington). I drank up and hit the harbour, now here was something worthwhile!
I’d been sent down south to get my working visa sorted and the actual process of visa-fetching took all of fifteen minutes, which meant I had plenty of time to scope out Honk Kong. It’s fair to say Shanghai has a bit of a rivalry with Hong Kong, a bit like Glasgow and Edinburgh but with rather larger buildings. Shanghai’s got a fair bit to go before it impresses as much with it’s skyline it must be said, but the thing with Hong Kong is that it’s so compressed by the surrounding mountains it feels like they had to build skywards out of necessity. In Shanghai they have all the space in the world, they’re just doing it because they can. I won’t go into all the comparisons but I must say it feels good to be back in Shanghai, as Hong Kong is another level in terms of stress, congestion and noise. There were prettier women in Hong Kong mind, and no-one spat once. One major observation I had was the amount of deformed people cruising around. Maybe it’s because in China they hide most of them away (I’m not backing this up with any facts or definite knowledge, it just seems like something they’d do) but the ratio of deformed folk in Hong Kong was much, much higher. In just a short stroll down Nathan Road I saw, and I’m not exaggerating, two dwarves, a man with no back, an old guy with a huge melting face (the worst by far), a bloke with opposing eyes and a drooling woman.
So, I got the visa and came home. Again both my flights were delayed for unknown reasons (no-one minds about delays here but as soon as you deny them a blanket on the plane they go mental) and I’d especially like to thank my boss for buggering up the booking of my outward flight. I had to buy a new ticket at almost bankrupting cost and suffer the anguish of dealing with Chinese ticket officials for 90 minutes. I’d rather hang with the ex-pats.
Oh, also. This story with the Chilean miners buried under several hundred metres of earth. Ever since they got a camera down there I can’t help thinking it’s becoming just like Big Brother should have been. Imagine Chantelle collapsing in the zen garden because she’s suffering from acute vitamin D deficiency. “Day 37 in the Big Brother house and Bubble’s scratching the walls with his fingers looking for a gas-mask and a mineral pack.” Channel 4 missed a trick there.