Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekend Edition - A Long Recap

The first week back to work was kind of rough and a rude awakening from the gentle breezes on the beach, the young coconuts at hand, the Kindle within easy reach next to the sunblock, and the soothing sounds of the waves and the rustle of palm trees next to the infinity pool.

But the deal that I have been working on since forever and an age ago is finally proceeding to closing, and one of the final steps to ensure that it is happening before the end of January occurred this week.  It was a major milestone.  It was also the reason I stopped blogging for a week.  But it's a nice way to kick off a new year with a closing.  Makes you feel accomplished right away.

And now I'm back and happy to report that I had the most wonderful weekend. 

On Friday I walked to a little Italian bar in the Wan Chai area with a coworker to meet our respective others for a genuinely rocking double date.  With free flowing wine and negronis and little bites,  our quick cocktail "hour" went until nearly 9:30 pm.  Conversation flowed so well and continuously, like fast moving stream water slipping over pebbles, that we completely forgot about time and decorum.  We got rowdy and loud and laughed harder and louder as time went by.  Flushed with excitement, we proceeded down the street to one of our favorite little Spanish tapas restaurants, Plaza Mayor.  Useful sidenote: they serve their alcohol in fishbowls here.  Seeing the size of those glasses, I stuck to water.

Everything here is very tasty - a bit salty, but it probably wouldn't be very good without the salt.  My favorites are the olive and garlic bowl (which I skipped this time out of courtesy for all of my dinner companions, as I seem to soak up and then exude garlic at twice its original intensity), the flash fried squid, the garlic shrimp, the manchego, the simple salad...

Flush with the success of my Friday, I proceeded to conquer my Saturday with a brunch date with a friend at a Vietnamese restaurant in Causeway Bay (nothing like relishing a piping hot bowl of slippery pho noodles in a savory broth to start your day), an intense and fierce bout of hot yoga with two friends (in part because I inadvertantly picked the hottest corner of an already boiling yoga room) followed by one of the most painful and yet most amazing Thai massages I have ever had.

Seriously, this massage messed me up.  I couldn't believe how much pain she was inflicting on me everywhere.  For most of the 90 minute massage she was standing on top of me or putting nearly her entire body weight with laser beam focus on my knots as I struggled not to howl.  During one particularly unpleasant point I had to fake an injury on that part of my leg so that she would not continue to torture me.  And during another part I kept wiping cold sweat from my palms on my threadbare Thai pajamas and doing my best imitation of Lamaze breathing.

I am definitely going back.  But I have to give it another two weeks or maybe a month, when the pain can slip into the fuzzy recesses of my memory and I'm willing to submit my muscles and joints to that kind of intensity again.  During the massage, I could only think about the one episode of Anthony Bourdain's show where he was being contorted into pretzel like shapes he had never envisioned his body capable of achieving as he gasped endlessly, sweaty and red faced in the exquisite torture.  I also thought that there was no way I was going through childbirth without an epidural.

Emerging fresh from the throes of this massage, my entire body weak and tender from being mauled and pounded like raw meat, I went to try out a new establishment in Hong Kong, a super cute and trendy restaurant called Mrs. Pound.  (See next post.)  It was such a great time.  I was so excited from the overwhelming success of my Friday and Saturday nights that I couldn't fall asleep on Saturday night.  It's rare for me to be an insomniac due to excitement rather than stress, so this was really something. 

I woke up at 5:30 AM on Sunday and couldn't go back to sleep.  I think it was a combination of the soreness in my legs and neck and whatever voodoo my masseuse had cast on me.  I spent the time flipping through and looking at wedding dresses, responding to emails, procrastinating on paying bills and drinking coffee. 

By about 11 AM, I headed out to Shenzhen to run some errands.  Yes, not content to leave the day alone and idle my time luxuriantly in the apartment, I decided to go to China and pick up some DVDs, pick up a Chinese textbook or legal dictionary or two, and maybe eat a nice meal before returning home.  I am here to tell you that this was probably not the smartest idea, as I battled crowds and long immigration lines on both ends of the immigration crossing.  I didn't get home until nearly 7 PM.

It was my first time to Book City in Shenzhen - a street/area full of bookstores that are just chock full of Chinese books, spanning four huge sprawling stories, on all kinds of topics.  I was a bit sleep deprived and as I stumbled around in there, felt really kind of dizzy trying to navigate the bewildering stacks of books.  I went to the legal section first to see if I could find a good legal English-Chinese dictionary.  Those shelves alone covered jurisprudence, theory, traffic law, real estate law, marital law, international law, principles of mediation, arbitration and on and on and on.  But I came up pretty empty in the dictionary and legal terms reference department, except for an impressive looking leather tome that was about 480 RMB that had really weird terms in it. 

I then went to pick up a "Business Chinese for Success - Real Cases from Real Companies" textbook that I thought had promise.  It wasn't the original textbook I went to find, but this one had intriguing real world present day stuff that I thought would keep my interest, with articles discussing Ikea's success, the growth of KFC in China, and various companies and their successes and failures in China. 

I hope I spend more time and pay more attention on my Chinese this year.  I hate making resolutions but if I had to be honest I would have to say that it's that and being more fit/working out more that are my two resolutions for 2015.

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