Sunday, January 28, 2007

(Ain't It Funny) How Time Slips Away

"Well, hello there, My, it's been a long, long time. How'm I doin'? Oh, I guess that I'm doin' fine. It's been so long now, but it seems now it was was only yesterday. Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away."

Yes, it's been a long time since rock 'n' roll, but I guess I like it fine, so far. Settling into my new gig which is located in Wanchai, very near Hong Kong's Flesh Trade Ground Zero. We're about a bra snap away.

Ricky's Tattoo is a block or two down the line along with a bar that has advertised itself for eons as Where the (1973 007 flick) 'Man with the Golden Gun' was filmed. And across the street next to the "American Restaurant Peking Food" eatery and the "Prince Edward Department of Social Services" (where I saw a large yellow bus for the "Hong Kong Spastics Association" parked recently) is tucked the squalid Crazy Horse bar. Not affiliated in any aesthetic or legal sense with the upscale Paris and Vegas outfits, nor, I suspect as a veneration site for the late, great Native American warrior..

Nah, perhaps the best part besides the upscale Russian hookers sometimes wandering into the ground floor lobby to use the restrooms affliated with the martini bar next door is the public hoops court next door. I go down umpteen floors about once every 90 minutes in an effort to both cut down on and sustain my bad cigs habit to watch the players, such as they are.

Spirited but not especially skillful doing their best Lebron, Carmello and Yao Ming moves. I'll sum it up by roughly quoting a tall, black sailor on leave from the USS Kittyhawk who, along with his shipmates, was awash in booze and Filipina hookers as I exited the building one recent night. "I love, love this court. Everytime we're here I'm on it. Bumping these guys, I feel like Lebron. I am Lebron!"

I don't feel like Lebron most days. Or myself on others. My new digs are great, the work undemanding and I'm with mostly American coworkers whose experience in China and multiplie linguistic skills far outstrip my ability to order ice water in Mandarin and to boast that I've eaten dog and have toured the exotic the Sun Yat Sen Museum in nearby Xujai. Or, uh, a discovered a CD supplier in Shenzhen who sells both John Coltrane and Yiddish folk songs. Sample dialogue from a couple beers- after-work:

Co-worker with mega years and multiple Chinese language/dialect skills: "So I was in (remote province accessible only by yaks or PLA choppers) and I thought she was speaking Shauguan! HarharharI Choke, spit. Turns out she was saying it in Kejia! (Table erupts in sympathetic laughter, more beers for all!) So I replied in Xiang....and then her brother whips out one of those White Storm Discipline Seung Style Long Swords and I spit out my baby panda brain salad and I say...."

Still I have some hopes. The other day the mention of a by-now old murder trial here came up. An American expat wife named Nancy Kissel had laced her hub's milkshake with a load o' sedatives and later beaten him to death, a crime for which she is now languishing for eternity in a Hong Kong prison. On the bright side, I mentioned that I'd been the keen mind who'd coined the term "Milk Shake Murder" for the first headline that had become a catch phrase and slug line worldwide for whatever wires were picking up the story.

A hush came over the newsroom and the guy who knows a zillion Chinese dialects and said quietly: "That was yours? You wrote that? You started 'Milkshake Murder?' That's cool. That's something to be proud of." Eh, maybe he was joking, gently mocking me. But you take what you can get even if you're not Lebron.
Trivia -

The American Restaurant has been around for decades. You should go some time, it's vintage HK and all the waiters are over 100 years old. The Peking Duck is not bad, the rest of the food pretty blah.

Bottoms Up Bar was originally in Tsim Sha Tsui and moved to Wanchai a year or two ago. In TST, it was the last remaining legal topless bar in HK; I don't think they still do topless but no great loss because all the women who were topless there were there when the Bond movie was filmed. And the Bond movie wasn't filmed in the bar! They did film the actual exterior but all of the interior shots were done in a replica on a UK sound stage.
Thank you for that, Spike. I was grasping for the Bottoms Up name in writing this and multiple brain farts kept erupting.

Also, thanks to earlier factoids from you I was also vaguely aware that it wasn't as advertised, but damn, I love the sign. Vintage stuff.

As ever, Justin
""So I was in (remote province accessible only by yaks or PLA choppers) and I thought she was speaking Shauguan! HarharharI Choke, spit. Turns out..."

I just shit pants laughing at that one.

Don't let it get to ya, you'll find your zone. I've known a few polyglots and unfortunately for most no matter how many languages they learn they remain solely fluent in Dickhead.
You ain't nothin' till you've been to the Sun Yat Sen Museum in Guangzhou which SUCKS ASS!!
Milshake Murder. Good one.
Sorry, I somehow got my brain stuck on John Coltrane doing Yiddish folk think maybe the same engineers who got Nat King and Natalie Cole to sing together could get Coltrane doing Yiddish folk songs? I'd pay to hear that.

Good to see you back on line. Happy 2007, or whatever it is in your part of the world.

I also speak passable Assface.
@Du Yisa:

Touche. Nice blog.
There is a Sun Yat Sen Museum in Guangzhou? I live there and I have never heard of it.

Guangzhou. The only tourist attraction here is the airport and some stone goat. Now, if it was a stone camel, well, there would be a reason for the masses to flock to Guangzhou.
John, as I mentioned, I used to date a woman who lived in GZ, and she used to take me walking around the old parts of town. Nothing too touristy but some interesting old architecture remains. And I almost got shot for trying to take a picture of the Army post ...

Yes, there is a Sun Yat Sen museum in Guangzhou, but it's more of a memorial meeting hall/museum kind of place. It looked kind of impressive from the outside, but it wasn't.

Here is a picture of it, and another. Here is a picture of the interior.
Justin, Delighted you are getting back to your old style as a would be Hunter S.
I have complete faith that you will not only find your niche, but create one on the way.
Macau, too, has an old 'former residence' of the good Dr. Sun Yatsen. Your collection won't be complete without that one.

Guangzhou is a great place to walk around and get lost. Shamian Island is a great place to kick it, wit all my UK homiez, who be re-living they glory days, bathing with Unilever and sipping Lipton with biscuits.

Justin -- beware the cute Filipina hookers. They're riddled with rheumatoid fever.
aaah Peking Duck at the of the last of a kind...Suzy Wong territory...just up the road from the SanFrancisco bar where fat teenagers gyrated round bending steel poles!!!
...and gee ain't it surprising, how time...just slips away." Odd choice of songs, Justin. Brudder Ben, John Oliver, and I played one night at the old Olympic Lounge, backing up Lee somebody, who did this song. I don't think my bluegrass chops on standup bass were quite what he had in mind for his lounge act, cause he never asked me back!
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