Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yo Ho

Vin started working remotely with a woman named Yolanda Ho.  After a few email back-and-forths, her manager jumped in and called her Yo, which means she goes by the name Yo Ho.

I wonder if she knows how many rap songs she's named in?!

For those of you keeping score at home, Morgan Stanley Hong Kong has a Chewbacca and a Yo Ho working for them... and those are the ones we KNOW about!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Movies in Hong Kong: A Love/Hate Relationship

I know I've waxed poetic on the the movie theatre experience here in Hong Kong and, while it's just lovely once you're inside the theatre, getting there can be F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G!

As some of you may know, I have a dirty little secret -- I'm a Twi-Hard.   The latest installment from the franchise (Eclipse) was released when we were in NYC.  Clearly, I wasn't going to prioritize Bella and Edward's love affair over seeing friends and family (although I did when New Moon came out at Christmas!) so decided to wait and see it when I got back to Hong Kong.

Information critical for this story: Hong Kong movie times are not the same throughout the entire time it's in the theatre. Whereas in the States a movie will have the same 7:20pm start time for the 5 weeks it's in the theatre, a movie in HK could play at 7pm on Thursday, 8:10 on Friday and 10pm on Saturday.  They don't post the times until 2-3 days before, either.

The Wednesday I'm back in HK, I decide to buy tickets for Eclipse on Friday night; however the website displays only showings for Wednesday.   Finding this odd since you can order Friday night tickets for other movies on the site, I decide to swing by the theatre on my way to lunch.  Here's the frustrating conversation that ensued:

Me: I'm trying to buy Eclipse tickets for Friday.
Movie Person: Eclipse may not be here on Friday.
Me: Oh, so today is the last day for Eclipse?
Movie Person: Maybe.  We don't know yet.
Me: I don't understand. How can you not know?
Movie Person: Ma'am, this movie has been out for a long time already.
Me: I understand that but what's going to happen between now and Friday that dictates whether the movie continues?
Movie Person: BLANK STARE
Me: OK, what about tomorrow?  Is it showing tomorrow?
Movie Person: Maybe.  We don't know yet.
Me: So you're telling me that the 3:30pm showing of Eclipse today may be the last time Eclipse is shown in your theatre?  But, there's a possibility you will change your mind and decide to play it tomorrow or Friday?
Movie Person: Yes, that is correct.
Me:  That is ridiculous, but give me a ticket to today's show.

Later that night I go online and, wouldn't you know it - Eclipse tickets are available for an 11am showing on Thursday morning!  Only in China would a business put tickets on sale for show less than 12 hours before it's airing -- for an 11am Thursday showing, no less!  Where is the logic??  Someone please tell me!

In other, less-frustrating, more-hysterical movie viewing news, check out the sign that they posted regarding the movie Inception:

They charged us more money because Inception is a "long" movie.

Smuggling for Somalis

There's a great couple in our building whose enormous German Shephard dog is Victor's BFF.  She's Nordic; he's British and, while we haven't spent any time indoors with them, you can tell they're cool people.

One morning, a few days after returning from New York, I run into the guy while walking our dogs.  We proceed to have the following conversation:

Him: Were you away on holiday?
Me: Yes, we were back in New York.
Him: Man, I love New York.
Me: Oh, you've been?
Him: Yeah, I used to be a smuggler.
Me, trying not to sound alarmed: A smuggler?
Him: Yeah, I used to I used to smuggle...
Me: Drugs?
Him: No, nothing that bad.  I used to smuggle illegal plants in for some Somalians living in Harlem. I guess they had this plant that they liked to chew on and it was banned in the States.  So, some guy paid me and a few of my friends a few thousand dollars to smuggle these plants into the country.
Him: Actually, I'd call myself a courier more than a smuggler.

My mind immediately went to Banged Up Abroad and I thought, "How on earth did he get them in?  No one's body cavity can hide an entire plant!"  He said they just put them in suitcases and walked right through customs.  

His buddy got busted once, but they let him go.  Five years later he takes his new wife to NYC for their honeymoon and gets rejected by customs at JFK.  He's permanently black-listed from entering the States.  Someone had A LOT of explaining to do to their wife!


Walking through the mall today, I had the craziest, most unexpected experience:  a Chinese man held the door for me.

First time that's happened in 19 months of living here.

I'm still not convinced he was local...or that it really happened.

The Great Cultural Debate

What happens when six women (2 Americans, 3 Brits and 1 Irish lass) get together over a boozy birthday dinner?  Well, besides getting tipsy, we got into a major debate that pitted Americans vs. non-Americans a la the Revolutionary War.  We weren't arguing over politics or whether ketchup works better with fries (excuse me, chips) than mayonnaise.  No, the great debate was over circumcision.  Yes, of the penile variety.

It started because I admitted that my friend's newborn son's penis was the first uncircumcised one I'd ever seen.  (TMI?!)  After incredulous reactions by the Irish/Brits, some of them admitted that they'd never seen a circumcised one before.  Who knew the Atlantic was the Great Penis Divide?

It got a little heated when they asked why we Americans circumcised anyway and my fellow American explained that it was a matter of hygiene.   Friendly tip: Implying that someone's husband and sons have dirty penises is not a good idea.  I also ruffled some feathers when I said that an uncircumcised teenage boy would have a very tough time in a U.S. high school.  Can you imagine how fast THAT news would spread?!

When all the shouting was over, I did leave wondering why circumcision became the norm in the States while the rest of the world (save for Israel) leave their newborn penises alone.