Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sea Cruise
So there I was with an equally inebriated English co-worker in back of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (the only institution that still has 'Royal' in its title, post-handover) at about midnight last Friday trying to figure out which boat to steal. They all looked good and at the time it seemed like the thing to do - one of those half-baked ideas that becomes fully baked after multiple trips to the open bar during the office Christmas party.
"Are they stocked?" I asked. "Food and beverages?"
He claimed to know how to navigate ("And I know the difference between port and stern," I replied confidently) and the rough plan was to cast away for no place in particular, grazing on whatever we found in the galley until we ran into a friendly port or were apprehended by the Chinese navy.
"Caviar and champagne. We'll gorge on that. At least the last one I was on had that. I reckon the book and movie and TV deals will make it worthwhile if we're arrested," he said.
"It's not a serious crime. Believe me, the public eats up a prank like this," I said, closing one eye while scanning the harbor in order to make the double vision boats turn into singles. Then we realized that we had no way out to the crafts which lay bobbing about 100 feet from the shore line. Beyond the yachts lay Hong Kong's glowing cityscape, a winking, multi-hued tableau of lights and skyscrapers that looked even more impressive if I opened both eyes.
We picked our way carefully through the beach muck searching for a dinghy, raft, san pan or row boat - any suitable craft. How we would haul ourselves aboard whatever yacht we decided to pinch hadn't been decided either, but that detail could wait.
"There!" he said, pointing to a metallic looking object shoved under a large piece of plywood.
"It's a wash tub," I said upon closer examination. "Not big enough. And no oars."
We decided to shelve the heist until later and returned to the club where the newspaper's editors were beginning to hoist glasses toasting a "great year" for "Hong Kong's finest newspaper!" The alcohol fueled accolades continued until they seemed like the same buzzing, blahblahblah speech. Struck suddenly by gin wisdom and inspiration, I interrupted to proclaim loudly: "I am Spartacus!"
I am happy to report that it brought the proverbial house down.
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