Last weekend, in a rare convergence of people-I-know-from-Australia, I visited my friends Rory and Natasha in Hong Kong. Neither of them are actually Australian (Natasha lives in Singapore and was just in HK for a few days visiting her sister, and Rory is Scottish and recently moved from India to HK), but we did share one end of the first floor of a dormitory at Trinity College in Melbourne for 5 months). Unfortunately the circumstances were such that I did not actually get to see both of them at the same time. I had one Rory day and one Natasha day. But not necessarily in that order.
This is Rory and Ira, who very graciously invited me out to Ocean Park for the day:
Rory is in the front with the hat. Ira, his boo, is in the background. I mean the girl of course, not the dangling bloody head (Rory doesn't date dismembered heads anymore). The Halloween decorations were up early at Ocean Park, an amusement park in Hong Kong whose seaside location makes for some pretty spectacular views, especially when your body is being whipped around by a big mechanical car full of other people screaming "Wooooo!". Apparently Chinese people shout the same thing as Americans on roller coasters, or at least it sounds the same. What they're saying is probably "Wuuuuuu!" Anyway, it was fun.
I've actually visited Rory in Hong Kong before. This time he asked me, quite seriously, why I didn't write about him in my blog the first time. I told him my blog isn't really a chronicle of my life so much as a record of certain cultural or linguistic things that I find interesting or funny or bone-shatteringly awkward. Thus there wasn't really a precedent for me to write about anything about him, unless he were to do something extremely surprising or culturally remarkable. Rory immediately made a hooting noise like an owl, dropped his pants and defecated on the sidewalk right there at the bus stop! I guess it must be part of Scottish culture or something. (There you go, Rory!)
I had spent the previous day in central Hong Kong with Natasha:
Natasha brought me a tin of peanut butter cookies from Bengawan Solo, all the way from Singapore (I'm literally eating them right now and they are both saliva-absorbing and delicious), and that's the only reason I agreed to go with her to get a foot massage. Actually, that's not true; I would have gone anyway. Plus it's not gay if you call it "foot reflexology" (I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere), which she did.
When I tell my students about this, I exaggerate my pain when the man runs his palms up and down my hairy legs (Chinese students are like the easiest stand-up audience in the world). But actually, it was not so bad. None of it was bad, actually, at all; in fact it was awesome. Next person to visit me in Guangzhou: forget dim sum; we're going to get the soles of our feet prodded and squeezed by old men!*