Friends, Family, and Food

It all felt a bit daunting being in a new city, and knowing no-one at all, so it’s a bit of a relief that Rob from the UK office is coming across for a couple of days, and that my brother and his wife will be across for 3 days before they jet off to China. It makes the place seem a little more familiar – and also means I won’t have to be asking for a table for one for a while. Rob and I have planned to spend a bit of a day in the office and then go sightseeing – the Peak sounds like a good place to start. First however, there’s lunch with the rest of the office to be negotiated, and this is done in a restaurant where, once again, everything is in Cantonese. The ordering system looks not unlike a football pools coupon with lots of Cantonese symbols and tick boxes on it.

It seems the way it works here is that food just arrives and you go for it. This is fine, so long as you know what you’re eating. The customary fatty barbecued pork makes a welcome appearance along with more bony, fatty, yellow chicken which isn’t quite so welcome. Some kind of fish shows up – it’s chopped into small strips and tastes pretty good. Next up we have squid which doesn’t do very much for me at all. All rounded off with some noodles and pork dumplings.

Following a bit of work back in the office Rob and I head for the Peak, via the Peak Tram and had a pleasant meal at top. You get stunning views over Victoria Harbour and then at night are treated to the view of the highrises all lighting up.
It’s a similar routine for lunch the next day – albeit at a different restaurant. This time there’s no squid, but it’s place is taken by jellyfish. I’ve not eaten jellyfish before, so can’t exactly claim I don’t like it. Well, I have now eaten jellyfish, and can say it’s utterly tasteless and has the consistency of rubberbands. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just don’t see the point in eating it. Another surprising dish today is something that is described as pig’s ear. It looks kind of like slices of corned beef. I’m told it’s the ear compressed together and boiled/fried – something like that anyway. It doesn’t look especially appetising and can only be described as chewy, not very tasty, and the nutritional content must be close to zero. However, today’s highlight must be chickens foot. I’d heard about this before arriving, that it’s a chicken’s foot that has been deep fried. There’s a whole plate of these feet, and the idea is you grab one and grip with your teeth whilst sucking the innards out. It’s as revolting as it sounds. The good bits are allegedly the cartilage and skin with the bones left behind. I’ll admit, I only took the smallest foot I could find and didn’t ‘eat’ all of that. Rob, on the other hand, seemed to grab the largest foot on offer. I don’t if this was bravado or a genuine mistake. Either way, he’d be regretting it later as he admitted it wasn’t sitting well in his stomach. I can only imagine how the flight felt.

I’m meeting my brother at a bar in at his hotel – The Peninsula. He’s also been out camera buying. In fact he’s bought a Canon D400, which is the exact same camera I’ve been planning to buy. He’s clearly got more budget than me, as he’s also bought a decent looking lens to go with it. I’m also suffering room envy. His room in the hotel is larger than my room, and he has a view straight over Victoria Harbour facing Hong Kong Island. Admittedly, his hotel costs significantly more to stay in, but well, even so… Drinks in the Felix Bar at the top of the Peninsula is cool. The lift lights actually dim as you reach the 24th floor before the doors open out into the bar. The bar area itself was pretty small, the Mojitos we ordered were nothing special, in fact may even have been too bitter, but you do have a view onto the Harbour. The view from the Mens toilet (yes, really) is also pretty spectacular with a view down Nathan Road.

Conveniently the next few nights out involve a fair amount of beer – which always seems to happen when I’m out with my brother – and meals that don’t involve food I can’t recognise, which is a relief.

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