I spent the last weekend in Hong Kong, so I have quite a bit to say. I'm not sure if this update will actually be any longer, because I'm not going to subject everyone to a play-by-play recount of my itenerary, just the interesting parts.
First off, one of the foreign teachers here (Isobel from Scotland) has family in Hong Kong (specifically in the north of Kowloon), so we stayed there. All I can really say about that was that her grandparents were both awesome. They represent a specific type of the Asian Elderly, the kind who laugh all the time at everything. Being that they are from Hong Kong, they spoke only Cantonese, and I've only studied Mandarin, so communication was a bit difficult. And when I say they laughed at everything, I mean everything. It wasn't just at me either, they laughed when interacting with everyone.
Here's a typical conversation:
Isobel's Grandmother: [mumbling in Cantonese followed by a cackle]
Isobel's Grandmother: [more cackling]
Also, on the way to Hong Kong island we happened to pass the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars. It's basically the same as the one in Hollywood, except with names and handprints of members of the Hong Kong cinema industry. I myself am never one for traditional touristy photos, and I would never want a picture taken of me with any of the bits of cement in LA, but for some reason when you throw on the name "Wong Kar Wai" or "Tony Leung" on one of those stars, I'm all about it. On a similar note, for the first time in my life, I got to see a new Jackie Chan movie in the theaters, but I'm pretty sure that's a geekdom in which not too many other people share my excitement.
One of the nice things about the day was the temperature. Normally at this time of year, most of Southeast China is still like a broiler, but on Saturday in Hong Kong there was a class 3 typhoon warning in effect. There was only a little bit of rain, though, and the relative coolness was worth the lack of sunshine.
On Sunday morning we also went out for dim sum (or yam cha as it's known in Cantonese). If you haven't tried it, I suggest you do. I won't actually talk much about the actual dim sum on Sunday (it was very good, and thus kind of boring as a story), but I will use this to segue on Guangdong eating habits, and some Chinese eating habits in general.
People in Guangdong take food very seriously, and when people have a meal they are supposed to enjoy themselves. Thus there are very few actual rules regarding table manners. Elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth open, talking with your mouth full, spilling things, this list goes on and the sky's the limit. If the restaraunt doesn't have to bleach it's tablecloths after your visit, then you obviously weren't enjoying your food enough. Now, I say this, because the first thing everybody does after the meal is to get toothpicks and very demurely pick their teeth behind a cupped hand. Why? I already saw everything else you have pertaining to the entry-end of your digestive system. You'd figure they'd work more on not belching out loud during dinner, but no, the only focus on politeness comes when they pick their teeth.
Okay, so that's it for this time. I guess I could also mention that I got a computer while in Hong Kong, but again, not that interesting. Be sure to tune in next time, loyal readers. Same Ben-Time, same Ben-Channel.