Monday, September 26, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise

Much to my surprise and excitement, I successfully and painlessly applied for a new passport today.  I head out early to get my photo taken, and again to my surprise, it ain't that bad.  In my last passport I look stoned, my Korean ID I looked possessed, and in the 100 pictures I had to take for India/Nepal I looked like a serial killer.  Finally a keeper!

I showed up to my appointment over an hour early, waited in zero lines, and exchanged nothing but pleasantries with everyone I spoke to.  It was actually quite entertaining.  So as to be clear (I guess) they have speakers in all the windows so while you wait you can hear everyone else's business.  One man came in complaining that his passport had him tagged as a woman.  Apparently this was all well and good for the past 8 years, but for some reason the customs in Hong Kong took offense.  He had to leave the next day for the US and didn't know what to do.  The woman suggested he get an emergency passport and sort it all out at home.  He was not pleased by this as he would have to pay $110 for a new one when clearly this was the US government's fault.  He starts to fill out the form and goes back to the window:

"I don't have an address.  I'm sleeping on my friend's couch until I find an apartment."
"Hm, use your parent's address."
"My Dad's right here and he lives in China."

Frustrated he gives up and goes back to his dad:

"This kind of stuff ALWAYS happens to me!  I got arrested for having this much pot! The US government thinks I owe them 1/3 of my salary in taxes...."

And he strolled out to take his chances at the airport.  Another family was there with a translator trying to give up guardianship of their child to their cousin in America.  The guy in the window couldn't figure out why they would want to do this as it's essentially adoption, and went on to explain they need lawyers etc. and need to handle this in America.  I didn't stick around long enough to see how that worked out.  So yeah, 10 days and I'll get an email notice letting me know my new passport is ready.  Easy peasy.


Saturday Ms. Han was here!!!  I met her at the Hong Kong Convention Center for the HK Jewellry fair.  Oh, my!!  This event was huge!!  Thousands of people, tons of vendors, and billions of dollars worth of gems.   The whole convention center was filled with diamonds.  It was amazing!!  We walked around for hours admiring the different stones and cuts and it gave me a chance to explain exactly what it is I want on my left ring finger.  I gave Paul Ms. Han's email a while ago, you know, just in case he could ever need to get in touch with her. Paul and the Hanster are both pretty clear what's needed here; 2 carats, square cut, simple band.

Following the convention we met Ms. Han's best friend and Mr. Kim who usually joined us for Friday night magkeolli in Korea.  We ferried over to TST and went to Din Tai Fung, which had a ridiculous line!  While waiting, what would Han do?  Hit the next restaurant for a beer, which just happened to be Ruby Tuesday.  Who knew they had that here?  And it's crazy expensive!  Like $25 usd for a burger.  45 minutes later and our table was ready.  What I didn't realize at the time is that this is a popular Chinese Dim Sum chain.  Chee took my parents and I to one in Korea!  And it was excellent as ever.  In true Ms. Han style we had no less than 5 kinds of dumplings, meats, veggies, and beers.  Delish!  Then they all had to hop on a midnight flight back :(  I said goodbye and promised I would be back to visit soon ("You no stay hotel.  You have own room at my house.")  It really made me miss Korea and my friendships there.  I will have to go back soon!


In other news, the "interview" I have on Monday is apparently just a casual meeting where the VPs will tell me more about their company, products and training program.  If I pass the two exams they require, I'm in!  So it's nice to know there's some stability here.  I just might be employed in the next month...and it buys me some time to get into banking!!

PS anyone noticed that the Korean market is the only one that seems to be doing OK these days?

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