Friday, May 07, 2004

Hot Stuff
The Filipina waitress was about to call Hong Kong's version of 911 as I coughed and choked like a stroke victim after foolishly pouring about a tablespoon of "Hell Fire" hot sauce on my chicken fajitas. She'd offered it to me from the Mexican restaurant's "Hall of Flame" hot sauce selection.
"Hell Fire" is made and bottled en la Teirra Zero of Mexican cuisine - Illinois - I noticed after scrutinizing the label through tear-drenched trifocals about 5 minutes and two glasses of water and one of iced milk later. Who'dathunkit?
But whodathunk I'd be so happy to die on the spot after eating a simple Mexican meal that included a passion fruit margarita and all the guack and tortilla chips one could inhale, or later wander into a shop where the Chinese owner pipes up: "What can I do you for?" and after I tell him I'm in town from Shenzhen says "Welcome to civilization."
Meandering through an Asian cross between NYC and SF (many steep hills and diverse nationalities jammed stubble-to-Botoxed/tweezed chins) now-not-so-recently-arrived-fellow-barbarian pal James and I temporaily rose above it all by riding the "world's longest escalator" - 800 meters- which turned out to be fudging the fact in that it's a series of escalators, not one continuous one. Glimpses of narrow alleyways resplendent with Chinese shop signs and drying laundry gave us a feel of "old" Hong Kong and/or as if we were on the set of one of the classic '70s-era chop-socky movies. I kept expecting a guy with a Bruce Lee haircut to jump out of a doorway spouting something like "Beware! Your bones are about to be disconnected!" to which I was prepared to reply "I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way!"
But some signs were basic, too basic for a moron like me. The pitcher of passion fruit margaritas was pushing its' way through my aging, sagging bladder when I saw a biliingual sign with an arrow announcing "toilet". Looking down the "road" staircase I saw nothing but more stairs and shops. Oh, yeah, there was a tile building with a blue colored male figure on a sign above it, but I discounted that for reasons that will be revealed in the following paragraphs
"Gotta piss very badly" said I.
"Use the restroom down there," replied James astutely pointing to the jumble down the stairs from the "toilet" sign. "See the blue man figure?"
Aha! Yes.
Dazed as I was by sudden HK culture shock, I had assumed it was a sign for the Blue Man Group. Nonetheless, after one of the most blissful urinations in recent memory I found a dozing attendent and - thank you Jeebus - real soap and hot water and an electric hand dryer that deliverd the soothing, warm goods instead of using tubuercular rats to exhale their skanky, cold, breaths after a loose switch is flipped to drop some stale pellets.
I could get used to a place like this.

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