Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm Baaack

Although internship is still off, I will be able to do a few things over at Foodie, yey!  First off, Paul and I are going to Le Souk tomorrow night so we can try the food and I can write a review. It's a new place in Soho, and by the pictures on openrice, it looks to be delicious!  Who doesn't like a good tagine?  Before dinner I'm meeting the new editor and we're going to discuss some things I can help out with.  One of which is Street Talk where I ask random people on the street a question.  The other is where I will profile a lesser-known neighborhood.  More details tomorrow :)

Last night I attended Tutor Time's Halloween party.  I got to meet a few of Mr. Paul's student's parents, one of which works for a large Chinese insurance company and wants to pass my resume around.  Although the best part of the evening was when all of the teachers, Paul being the only man, did a choreographed dance to Thriller.  Angry Bird, Witch, Cleopatra, Dora and Diego (best Kindy costumes ever!) all pranced around on stage while 100 or so parents looked on.  I wish I had it on film.

For now it's off for a run. I was lazy yesterday and laid on the beach instead of running.  I did, however, go for an hour + walk in Clearwater, which was much much too cold to swim in.  How did the water temp change so much in just a few weeks?  Beach days may be coming to an end soon.  The horror!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ma Shi Chau

AKA Horse Shit Island.  This is where Paul, Liza and the rest of Liza's church group went hiking Saturday afternoon.  If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be spending my afternoon with a church group on Horse Shit Island, I would have called you crazy!  HSI is in Tai Po in the New Territories, but a different area than where Paul and I had ventured out before.  It's super easy to get to; MTR to Tai Po Market and any number of mini buses will take you to either HSI, the dam, or biking areas.

After we got off the mini bus, we walked through a tiny village and up a tiny hill through fields and fields of tomb stones!  Apparently you bury your dead, hope no one comes by for a few years, and then poof the land is yours.  After you get off the tomb island your on a smaller more rocky island.  The inner part of the island is too dense with vegetation, so we just meandered along the coast.  About 1/2 around and it got really rocky.  Big iron boulders and other purple rock made us jump around like goats.  Paul was loving it until he took a shortcut through the water and then had slippery crocs.  Wet crocs not so conducive to boulder jumping.  An old old woman pulled up on her speed boat and asked if anyone need a ride back to mainland, yes please!  We scurried aboard waved goodbye to new church going friends.  Big thanks to Liza for thinking to invite us.

Saturday night was of course Halloween night.  Well for the foreigner crowd at least.  Paul and I left out apartment at 8pm and made our way to the bus where no less than every single person we walked by stopped, stared and pointed at us.  Halloween's not so big over in San Po Kong, no it ain't.   Regardless, everyone got our costumes.  I wish I had pics, but you know, lack of camera.  Let's see if I can somehow manage to bitch about my lost camera in every post.  So far I'm 3 for 3.  Anyway, we wanted to avoid the crowds of LKF.  Apparently walking the 500m from the MTR to the bar area in LKF takes 2 hours on Halloween Saturday.  No thanks!  So Steph and Katie threw a rooftop party in Wan Chai.  It was perfect, everyone dressed up and there were new and old faces.  No, no, we're all in our 20s, but people I knew and new people to know.  A fun Saturday inevitably leads to a not so fun Sunday.  P and I made the best of it, head over to the island, took a fun trolley ride from Causeway to Central (I have decided I want to have my birthday party on a trolley!) had amazing beers at The Globe.

More on The Globe.  While at the Wine and Dine event, I started chatting it up with a French wine distributor.  The guy who gave us the Cherry Pie.  We were complaining that it's hard to find a good beer in Asia and he suggested that we try The Globe.  Was he right!  It's an English pub, newly reopened on Graham Street, so it's a beautiful large space.  The draft beer list was impressive and not the typical Carlsburg, Guinness etc.  I had the Old Speckled Hen English Ale and Paul had the Budvar lager.  Bot were mighty tasty! Then we had the local micro brew Typhoon's Summer Ale.  Although not my favorite, I commend their effort as they are the only micro brew in Hong Kong!  Paul and I will certainly make a trip to the brewery in Lan Tau when we have a chance.

Post beers (a little hair of the dog never hurt anyone) we ferried over to TST to go to the Sky 100 in the ICC.  The ICC is the 4th largest commercial building in the world.  We had ticket for buy 1 get 1 from the Kowloon Wine and Dine festival.  Buy 1 get 1 is a great deal, but not when the coupon is only valid for 3 days.  Cheap bastards.  Anyway, we made it into the 3 day window and head to the 100th floor to the observation deck. It was pretty cool to see out through the haze and darkness, but it was no Taipei 101, or even Seoul Tower for that matter.  They could have put in some more activities on top.  But, meh, check it off the list.

Tis Monday, Halloween, and the supposed first day of my internship.  Screw it, I'm going to the beach. Happy Halloween Kiddies!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

In Time

More like In Stink, Justin!  ha ha ha get it?  But really, it was totally unrealistic, had super poor acting, and really really bad dialogue.   The movie was a (mildly entertaining) disappointment.  Not only was it over the top ridic, it was also over the top preachy.   Screw the rich! Equality for all!   The only redeeming quality was Amanda Seyfried running around in ridiculous heels and short shorts.

Better luck next time, JT.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kowloon Wine and Dine

I wish I had pictures because this food and wine festival was quite the scene.  It was held on the West Kowloon waterfront promenade, about a 20 minute walk from the ferry piers which Paul and I learned the hard way.  Waterfront promenade to us meant where the boats were, nope, no dice.  So we walked the 20 minutes down the highway to the real deal. The promenade was decked out in purple icicle lights and there must have been well over a hundred food and wine vendors all with a spectacular view of Hong Kong Island.  We got there right at the beginning (which was 8 o'clock which I found odd.  People finish work at 6) and by the time we left a couple hours later there must have been thousands of people there, including our friends Jackie, Justin and Merg.  Tis a small little foreigner world!

Paul and I opted for the Classic Wine Pass which was $200 and came with 10 wine coupons, some food coupons, a wine glass and wine holder.  If we had to do it again, I would skip the pass and just buy 20 wine coupons for $200.  The food vouchers were pretty lame.  Ohh mini bag of almonds, awesome!

Despite the feeling that you're constantly being ripped off (you have to pay for samples!), the wine really was spectacular.  The entire wine producing world seemed to be represented!  The best wine we had was definitely the Cherry Pie Pinot Noir from Cali (Water & Wine Limited).  We also had some good Portugese wine, Japanese sake,  Chinese wine, and of course French.  One of the best tents visited was from a new store, Grandly Pacific Winery Limited.  They just opened a few weeks ago but had a lovely staff, wines from around the globe, and cheap wine for sale on the spot!

Ohhh the food!  Food was from around the world as well.  We started with tteokbokki (spicy Korean rice cakes) which was awesome, although totally small.  We also saw kebabs, yakitori, dumplings, sandwiches, cheese plates, fruit, ice went on and on and made it difficult to choose the "right" place to stop. The best thing we had was from a salami place, of which I don't recall the name.  The place was clearly popular as the line was down the block.  They served cones of cheese, salami, prosciutto, and parma ham.  And you got to try each one before you decided which cone you wanted to buy.  Good marketing my friends!

The biggest complaint I would have is that you're not allowed to open your own wine.  There were several stages with music, beautiful lights, and the backdrop of the city which would have been the perfect venue to plop down with whatever feast you just bought, and open a bottle of freshly purchased wine.  Again, trying to gouge you for more money.  Buy more coupons!  Regardless it's definitely worth the trek for some good food and wines.  The wine distributors were all very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, so if you like drinking and talking about wine get your ass down there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Too Much Veg

Home Food

Whenever I have lots of veggies in the fridge on the brink of going bad, I turn to tomato sauce.  Onion + garlic + red wine + Italian seasoning + chili pepper + whatever veg I have; usually eggplant, spinach, broccoli, zucchini; and cook it down for 30 or so minutes.  I wish I had pictures of last night's pot, but lack of camera and funds have made that impossible :(  It's especially perfect because as it's cooking you need to repeatedly taste.  One stir for the pot, one spoonful for my mouth.  Add some S&P, one stir, one spoonful.  More chili?  Stir, spoon.  Healthy, spicy and Paul likes it too.  Although, what doesn't Paul like?

Street Food
My new deli manju (Korean waffles with cream filling) replacement is eggettes AKA gai daan jai.  Anyone remember my obsession with deli manju?  I don't think I'd be able to eat even one after the obscene amount consumed last winter in Korea.  Eggettes are not so rich though.  They're street waffles in the shape of eggs and taste of coconutty awesomeness with no filling.  Crispy outside.  Soft chewy inside.  Perfect for a fall (it's below 80 today!) afternoon stroll.

Quote from my friend Katie today after I told her Paul and I are attending the Wine and Dine event in TST:

"You are the queen of wine mixers in this city I swear."

Damn straight.  Review of Kowloon's Wine and Dine coming tomorrow.  


So after this disappointment with Foodie, I have decided to take things upon myself and continue to write and improve, and I shall use this blog as my forum.  Is there anything you'd like to see more of, or done differently?  I think I shall shift the perspective a little.  A little more away from what I'm doing and more toward, recipes, places around Hong Kong, and events.  I want to contribute to mags/blog, but I need to practice here first.  Keep posted.  :)

PS I will find a job.  

Another Day Another Luncheon

Today was a lovely day of networking, and as it turns, the circle of networks ain't that big.  I went to the Dutch Cham's MUNCH luncheon.  They have monthly lunches where Dutch companies in Hong Kong showcase what they do.  I walk in and realize I know not one, but two people there, both from Platinum wine events!   Miriam is Dutch so it was no surprise to see her there, and then I saw Victor.  He's from Mexico and a newbie to Hong Kong as well.  It's fun to finally know some people when going out!  Today's presentation was from 3 PM which manufactures the phone displays for phone stores to showcase.  It was pretty interesting to watch the strict Western standards they impose in a world where these don't exist (Shenzen factory).  The entire presentation was full of mockery about Chinese workers, bribery and basic Chinese work ethic.  As a 20 something, it was quite baffling to me and Miriam and Victor how blatant the Chinese bashing was!  A direct quote from one slide, "All of the cliches about China are true."  Whha!!? PS there were Chinese people there.

Anyway, it was fun, killed a couple hours and fed me.  Then I went and met Natalie for coffee.  Natalie is a friend of Joey.  Joey is a friend I have met out and he thought that Natalie and I could connect and swap networking/work stories.  He was right! She's a blast, works for Deloitte in consulting, and although they aren't hiring thinks she can put me in touch with some people who may be.  More than anything she was just really cool and is a new friend!

As of 6pm tonight I am no longer an intern for Foodie.  :(  I got an email saying sorry for offering you the internship, but you don't have permanent residence here (ie no visa) so we can't go forward.  WHAT!?  I almost fell over.  I've been soooo excited to see what working in publishing would be like.   This was literally my dream (unpaid) job and it was just ripped out from under me.  They went on to say they'd be happy to have me contribute, which is nice, but I really wanted to see what the 9-7 grind was like.  Hopefully we can work something out. If not it's back to square one.  Oh and did I mention I already emailed Platinum that I wouldn't be able to work for them as "an opportunity came along that I just couldn't pass up."  There goes the one shot I had at a visa.  FML x 100000.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Funemployment Over Monday

And interning begins!!! 2 months.  4 interviews.  2 offers.  1 internship.

I met with Dominique the Head of Editorial for Fluid, owner of Foodie magazine, this morning over coffee.  She explained to me the internship would be unpaid, and lots of work, but I could basically shape it into whatever I want to get out of it.  Now to figure out what that is.  I'll get my own by-lines, help edit, and be able to work in publications ranging from Foodie to Loft (real estate) to local mags such as Stanley or Sai Kung.  So many options!!  And one of the best perks of the job is that I will be able to go to tastings and write about them!!  Dominique understands I'm new here and need to make some money, so we're going to work out some sort of schedule where I can leave early Tues/Thurs to go tutor, and sadly this means I'll have to hold off on the Chinese lessons.  BUT, at the end of the 3 month internship, she says if I do a good job there would be possibilities to get hired on full time!  Full time with pay= I can take Chinese again.

The tough part is that it's 9:30-7 and an hour from home.  Boo commuting, but the good part is that it's in Sheung Wan, my favorite place in the city and where we will be moving next year.  Since it's with so many different publications and with events etc. no two days will be the same.  I'm so excited to get started!!  Now I need to go shopping for fun writery clothes :)  Ohhhh and she even said she liked my writing and that I have the right tone for Foodie!! Who would have thought when I was auditing those newspapers all those years ago, that I would be writing all these years later???

Check out the Foodie Wine and Cheese party here.  You can see me snagging cheese in the background of quite a few shots.

After meeting Dominique I met Mei-Mei for lunch.  Mei-Mei and Trisch Lagana (who I babysat for 7 years for) lived together in NYC and have kids the same age.  I've probably known Mei-Mei for over 10 years, but haven't seen her in years.  I saw on FB that she's in Hong Kong this week so we met up over a fabulous lunch.  We met in Central and had French, but I honestly didn't even pay attention to the food (although it was quite delish) because it was so much fun catching up.  She is a super successful business woman, owns her own company with her husband, has 2 talented kids, and gets to travel the world.  She's even thinking of moving her company over here, and I hope she does!  She's such a lovely person!  So far it's been the perfect Tuesday.  Off to tutor 2 kids then celebrate my internship with some champagne bought months ago for just such an event. Cheers my dears!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chinese and Chicken Wings

Chinese lessons with Sandie rock!  Today she taught me to say father, mother, and, me, goose, horse, eight, and baby.  It's soooo different and the sounds are so difficult as an English speaker.  I felt like I was in singing class trying to imitate the way she said everything.  And I'm not a good singer.  I've been practicing on my own, but I think I may be doing more damage than good!!  But she's so sweet and patient and even translated an entire dim sum menu for me (I used it as a cheat sheet for things I'd ordered and knew I liked).  Then at the end she gave me drunken chicken wings she had made and a huge thing of homemade chili sauce!! How sweet is she!?  On one of our next sessions she'll take me to the wet market and tell me what everything is!  Asa.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apparently I Am Employable

Last Thursday I met Mark at a wine event, he invited me in for a meeting at Platinum this morning, and I went to said meeting.  Basically, I have a job if I want it!  It's sales, but it's selling real estate, insurance, and financial services.  I would start basically prospecting with a base salary, take a real estate test in December (that's when the next one is offered), then start selling local and international properties, all of which is commissioned.  Apparently the bar they set for first years is 60,000 pounds (they're all English) in commissions.  I could handle that!  I have no idea if I would be any good at this, but it sounds interesting, and the people all seem nice.  All 15 of them!  And if I'm good at it I could move to one of the other offices in Moscow, Singapore, Thailand, or China.  Not that I want to, but the option's there!  Tomorrow I'm meeting with the head of editorial at Foodie. In an idea world, I could intern at Foodie until January, take the EAA(real estate) test in December, and start with Platinum in February.  We'll see though.

Off to learn Chinese!!!  I'm nervous!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Smell Like Chocolate

Holy mother of God, today was the mecca of all classes.  It was literally in the factory where they produce Agnes B. chocolates and we were put to work, hairnets and smock included.  The head Chocolatier, Rocky, would give us a little tutorial of how to make the chocolate ganache (which was already made for us) then showed up how to 1. make truffles 2. make heart mold chocolates and 3. make macadamia chocolate bars.  For the truffles you put the ganache into a piping bag and squeeze out what can only be described as little turds.  We had a good time laughing at them.  The refridge and we came back to them at the end when you redip in ganache and roll in cocoa powder. Then we put the ganache into heart molds and slice across the top to make them flat.  Refridge then pop em out.  And finally mix macadamia nuts in ganache and mold into a square mold.  For whatever reason throughout this whole thing (I like to think because I applied to be an intern) I got double what everyone else did.  2 trays of chocolate molds.  2 piping bags of ganache.  And 2 macadamia bars.  And guess what, you take what you make!  I have so much choc in the fridge now, for which Paul will be grateful.

While creating, a couple of the girls from Foodie came up to me.  I explained that I loved food and I'm getting into writing and they invited me into the office on Tuesday to meet with the head of editorial. Yey!!!  I even met a girl in the class who just got a job with Citibank.  She took my card and said she would be in touch if new internal job postings come up.  And after class I got a phone call about a part time position at a school teaching English, for whom I will interview on Wednesday.  Monday Finance.  Tuesday Journalism. Wednesday Teaching.  Busy Busy week ahead.  Good thing I have all this chocolate to keep me going.

Now it's off to free drinks at Tasmania for some group I know nothing about.  Cheers!

Friday, October 21, 2011


After weeks of blah runs, I'm back!  I've been feeling really lethargic during my runs the past few days; tired legs, cramps, and just lacking energy.  This morning I woke up energized and went for a solid 9k run!  What a difference a good night's sleep, sweet email from your boyfriend, double shot coffee and a new playlist make!  This is the strongest I've felt in months!  Now it's off to make chocolate and smooze with Foodie mag people :)  If I'm going to miss the races at least I'm eating chocolate.  Have fun 86!!!  

Another Wine Event...

Another interview!!  Woohoo!  Last night Paul and I attended a wine tasting for Platinum wines.  This is my second event with them, and equally as fun and productive!  Not only was there free flow Bordeaux wine and amazing snacks, but there were also CEOs.  Woot.  I met Mark CEO of Platinum Financial Services and he told me they're always hiring, so we're meeting on Monday to discuss positions.  It would be a sales position and the office is in Sheung Wan.  Oh, and did I mention he likes to drink wine?

Also from last night's event, Paul and I have landed an invite (or maybe a better word is heads up) for the Secret Supper Club.  Once a month the group meets in a secret location for a themed dinner.  Sign me up!

Tomorrow is Foodie magazine's chocolate making seminar.  I RSVPed for the limited space event a month ago with no word back.  I applied to be an intern and I was in.  After I confirmed I could make it, Jessica of Foodie wrote back saying we could have an informal discussion about the internship.  So I get to further sell myself and eat chocolate?  O.K!  Here's hoping that one of these will pan out!!!

I don't know bout back home, but man, it could not be any more gorgeous out.  Low 80s, sunny, and a light breeze.  HK I love you.  You know what I don't love?  Coming home from a long run/walk/Halloween shopping, dripping in sweat to find that the water has been shut off.  Until 5pm!  Latitude, I have places to be, come on now!  Good thing we have a lock room in the Club.  MEH.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Stacy and I were having a little contest the other day about who had weirder neighbors.  I don't remember all of our stories, but the winner was, doo da doo, dogs in prams!  People here for whatever reason, love to push their dogs around in baby strollers!  Not just little dogs.  I've seen poodles, chow chows, little fluffy things, really there's no discrimination on breed.  I have two theories.  1.  Sometimes when you see dogs actually walking, like on a leash how you're supposed to walk your dog in public, they have muzzles over their mouths.  I don't know if because they definitely bite, or because people just want to be careful.  So perhaps the pram is about not muzzling the dog.  Or 2. people don't want to get their apartments dirty.  No one here wears shoes inside; that's what your slippers are for.  I can kind of understand this one because it's so amazing to me how dirty/dusty our apartment gets.  We're barely here and I sweep every single day.  Where does it come from?  But yeah, there you have it, Hong Kongers lover their dogs in a stroller.  I'll have to sneak a picture.  Oh right my camera was stolen with my wallet.  Mrrr. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


After spending a lovely Tuesday on the phone canceling cards, stalking bus companies and hotels,  and feeling like a moron, Paul and I left the dark side in search of some culture.  We head down to SoHo to the AME gallery to check out what it was all about.  Apparently Anna, the owner, left interior design a couple of years ago to open her own jewelry gallery.  It's a super cute space, and Anna hand picked each designer during her travels through the world.  She gave us a private tour, kept our wine full, and even had a cheese plate.  Twas a lovely way to finish an otherwise really crappy day!

Yesterday, well this whole week actually, was absolutely gorgeous so I met my friend Stephanie who has the week off school, and new friend Bobby to hit the beach.  Bobby replaced Katie (Stephanie's roommate) as a teacher at her school in Korea.  They met once over a year ago and now he's here visiting, and seriously considering moving here.  How could you not!?  We went to the beach!  At the end of October!  And he surfed.  Stephanie and I attempted to get a tan, but we may be past that point now.  I love Hong Kong!!

Since Paul and I are pretty tight on cash for the rest of the month, we have been forced to get creative.  There are noodles and rice in the pantry, and chicken and scallops in the freezer, so that should get us through the next week.  We also had groupons for bahn mi sandwiches so we decided to cash those in last night.  Again we went down to SoHo to this cute new deli Delicieux Bistro.  We each got a spring roll and a sandwich; prawn roll and tofu mushroom bahn mi for me, and pork roll and beef bahn mi for Paul.   They were delicious!  Fresh and crunchy bread, something that's not easy to come by in Asia.  We were quite satisfied and head to the next event of the evening; chocolate wine at Vincocao.  It's a new concept from a French wine maker to infuse chocolate into wine.  We show up in this weird apartment building to find a line in the hallway.  Hey, i RSVPed for this, I have to wait??  We wait 5 minutes and are ushered into this tiny tiny apartment to taste the white and red dessert wines.  Not bad, but somethings are better left separate.  We had a few (or 5) chocolates and bailed.  Who needs the crowd?

Today was an interesting morning.  I signed up for a seminar on IP rights in the new media at the HK Law School.  There were maybe 20 people in attendance, it started 40! minutes late, and was all super dry law jargon about China infringing on copyright law.  Yes, yes, we all download illegally.  Blah blah 2 hours later and they finally broke for coffee.  I grabbed my cookies and bailed!   This left me ample time to hit Tutor Time and have a lovely lunch outside with Paul.  Now tis 2 and I think I shall go for a run.

Ohhhhh guess what starts Monday!!!  My Chinese lessons!!  Nihao!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bright Start To the Day

After a lovely hour of tutoring Agnes I come home to this email:

Hello, were contacting you as we saw some pictures of you.
Our company is a foreigner model agency. Normally we cast models for advertisements or promotion videos, even movies and dramas.
We are a small size company but were one of the best company in Korea.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I've spent more time in Hong Kong lost and wandering than doing anything else.  I can look and know exactly where something is on a map, yet once I get there find myself wandering in circles.  I got lost meeting Charlie for coffee.  I was in one mall and needed to be in another so the info desk lady told me to go straight.  That's all well and good until there's a fork.  Now which way is straight!?  I seek out another info desk, "straight."  I think I stopped at 5 different desks before I finally got to the right mall.

I got lost going to the wine event last night.  I'm in a mall and I need to be in the hotel.  There are arrows all over ---> Hotel Tower.  I follow and follow, and poof the signs stop.  Hmm I'm still in the middle of a mall.  I find an elevator, head to the 18th floor, and nope, not the Hotel Tower.  Try a new escalator to different elevators and finally found the grand ball room.

I got lost on a run today.  I thought I was at one park when I was most definitely at a different one.  I thought I would pull a short cut and go through the middle of it.  That was all well and good until the path stops and all of the sudden I'm in the middle of the woods.  There's a clearing.  It's filled with tables and old men sitting around (in the middle of the woods!) playing games.  At the very top of the mountain there is a fence with a small door.  Inside the fence is what appears to be a fitness/rehabilitation facility where old men are working out.  Where am I!?  I promptly turn around and book it down the hill, following path after path, hitting dead end after dead end, until finally, 20 minutes later I'm back where I started.

I don't know if it's because I'm new here, or things just really are that confusing, but I hope I get a hang of this because I won't have all this free time forever!  I'm applying to be an intern for Foodie magazine.  It's 3 months starting in November and it seems like there's some travel involved.  Yes, please!  I met with Sandie (Pittsburgh dude downstairs' wife) and she says she'll teach me Mandarin for $800 a week (I make $750/week for my 3 classes).  It would be 3 classes, MWF, for an hour and she thinks with this I can learn to speak and write in a year.  She also wants to take me to the wet market and teach me how to cook Chinese food.  Yes, please.  Looks like my schedule is filling up!

Lost But Not Found

I've lost a lot of things in my day. Cell phones, ipods, cameras, ID cards, limitless clothing, hamsters, but never ever in my 27 years have I lost a wallet.  Until last night.

I had a large breakfast/lunch of leftover duck, noodles, and tofu from dinner the night before and was quite full all day, so after tutoring I just head straight out for the evening neglecting to eat dinner.  Event 1= Spanish wine tasting.  I have no idea where the invite to this event came from, but hey, Spanish wine is my favorite.  I walked in right at 6 and it's a huge ballroom full of wine!  Heaven!  I just walked from table to table trying all of the different riojas and tempranillos.  The vendors were there from Spain (duh) looking for importers here in Hong Kong.  They could tell from a mile away that I'm no importer, but they'd fill my wine, tell me a bit about it, and then I would go on my way.  Well no dinner + 14% red wines = Lauren a tad tipsy.  Ok, a lot tipsy.  I had the foresight to determine I was too drunk for the AmCham event I had planned on attending, so head home at the late hour of 8pm.  This is where the evening gets funny.  Apparently I talked with Paul at 8:30 and was looking for the bus, but didn't get home until 10.  It shouldn't take 1 1/2 hours to get home from TST.  I didn't have a water or Coke, or anything, so I don't think I hit the 711.  My bus pass is in a separate wallet.  My Latitude card and keys are in a separate wallet.  They're still in my purse.  Wallet is no where to be seen.  Where could it go!?   I don't think it fell out because nothing else is missing.  WTF!!  My best guess is that I fell asleep on the bus and someone ganked it.   The most annoying part of the whole thing is that I just put a crisp $1,000 bill in it.  Now Paul and I have $2,000 to live the next two weeks on and Halloween costumes* to finish!

Lessons learned: eat before red wine.  Pace yourself with red wine.  Don't bring out cash in excess of $100 when drinking.  FML.

*We're going as Angry Birds for Halloween.  I'm the green pig and he's the red bird.  Neither of us have ever played or seen this game but it seems to be quite popular these days. What will you be.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


What a weekend!  It all started at Hong Kong University where I went to see Jim O'Neill speak about emerging market economies and their contribution to GDP for the next 10 years.  Jim is the Chairman of Asset Management for Goldman Sachs, and is also the guy who coined the term BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China).   It was really interesting to hear him speak, especially because Hong Kong is the door to China for a lot of companies.  I somehow sat in the HKUST MBA section so I started chatting with some of the guys in the class.  It's an intensive 12 months course with 90% of the 100 members are international students, and about 1/3 are women.  Hmmm got me thinking if this whole job thing doesn't work out soon, perhaps I should take my GMAT.  Just a thought.

Saturday I did yoga then Paul and I met our friend Derek for beers and rugby.  I haven't watched an American football game since the Superbowl, but I have been watching my fair share of rugby and footie!  But the real highlight of the weekend was Sunday dinner.  Paul ran into a man in the elevator a few weeks ago who was wearing a Pittsburgh shirt.  John, elevator guy, grew up in Pittsburgh and has been living in Asia for the past 4 years.  He and his wife hosted us for an amazing dinner!  It's always so nice to  compare stories abroad, and it was good for Paul to have someone to share Pittsburgh stories with.  And ohh the food.  His wife Sandy is Chinese and an excellent cook.  There was a duck, two fish, lamb, pork, beans with bacon, vermicelli with squid, cucumbers, broccoli, and wine! And they even packed us some to-go boxes so we had lunch today.  I need to refine my cooking a little further before we can invite them over here!!

Now 'tis Monday and it's back to the grind.  Tutoring, Spanish wine event, AmCham event.  I'm hoping to be home by 10 with a hand full of business cards!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumping Iron

Just a little note about the gym here.  It's huge, new, clean, but has the poorest lay out of a gym that I have ever seen.  The equipment all faces in, except the treadmills which face the windows which are covered by sun guards, no view there.  The machines all face each other and not the mirrors or TVs.  Tell me, what's the point of putting a TV in the gym if you can't see it from any of the machines?? And what really gets me is the free weights that are in this little corner of the gym with no mirror.  You need a mirror people!!  And no mats!  Where do I do my sit ups?  Or stretch?  Which I don't do, but should.  That's what yoga's for, no??!  At least it's free.

Last night Paul and I went down to Happy Valley to an art exhibit opening.  The featured artists weren't to my taste, but the space was really cool.  It was kind of a coop of artists who all design under the 2b name.  They decorate hotels and restaurants around HK and China, and one woman who worked there took it upon herself to give us a full tour and explain in detail we can buy these goods for our home.  I'm not sure what about my jean skirt, or Paul's long hair screamed money, but I guess we looked as though we had some.  ha, little does she know! The best part of the evening came after we left and hit the Happy Valley Brew Pub.  It's the same owner as the Hong Kong Brewery in LKF, but much nicer and quieter than their party time sister.  We just hit the end of happy hour and had the BEST micro brews, including my all time favorite Boont Farm's Amber.  Yumm!!!  And it came with chips and salsa!  We'll be back, HVBP, we'll be back.

Now it's off to a seminar at HKUST about the changing dynamics in the business world.  Don't know what it's going to be like, but hopefully there will be some hiring managers there :)


I go over to tutoring at Natalie's house and she, 9, opens the door and says in Chinese to her mom, "Miss Lauren is very pretty today."  I love her!!  She's opening up a lot to me now because I keep running into her and her mom around the building.  I'm telling you...Latitude celeb status going on here.  At least among the 3-9 crowd.  

Will It Never Stop

Raining!!  It's been raining for weeks now!  Although bad for the beach, it's been nice to run in.  I think I scare the people who work here when I come in dripping from head to toe and red in the face.   I really wonder what they think of me.  I'm around all the time.  Generally every time I come back I have groceries in hand.  I wander around in gym clothes 1/2 the time, backpack the other half.  A suit here and there.  Dressed up at night.  Sometimes I'm out at 8am, sometimes not til 2pm.  I bet they see a lot of weird stuff though.  Oh to be a doorman for a day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Smoogled by Google

I had met some people at google a few months ago when my friend Andy was interning there.  I saw a job posting yesterday on linked in, emailed the guys, and they pushed my resume through.  Wah Wah.  Got a big fat, thanks but no thanks today.  At least they were kind enough to tell me.  The search continues....

Cheese Ain't Easy

Here's a test of your Taboo skills: Try going to a grocery store in Asia and having a clerk find Kraft parmesan cheese for you.  Lord knows I'm not getting fresh here, although they do have it in the big City Supers which are my favorite stores here!   I went down to Yata after making the best ratatouille (eggplant, 2 kinds of mushrooms, onion, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, kale n basil YUM) and all it needs is a shake of cheese.  I scour the Yata.  I know I've seen it here before, it must be hiding.  I ask a couple clerks, most of which shake their heads and grab a friend who speaks English.  Then then bring you to the refrigerator cheese section.  No, no PARMESAN, not cheese cheese, parmesan cheese.  Same same but different.

My explanation: "It's dry.  Kind of like salt, but cheese.  Shake it on your pizza.  You know.  Dry shake cheese."

Finally one clerk caught my drift only to tell me, "Sold out."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Yoga is working me out!  It doesn't make you sweat, but it makes you sore!  Today I did detox yoga.  I'm not sure how detoxed I am, but my arms, abs, thighs are all screaming.

Last night was a big movie fail.  We went out despite the rain, to a movie neither of us really cared to see, only to be told that our groupon had already been used.  Doh!  We had brought the wrong one.  Instead of paying for some random Anna Farris movie, we head home to read, write, and watch Boardwalk Empire. Do you watch it?  Because it's awesome!!  We're all caught up on True Blood, Game of Thrones, Camelot, so it's really all there is left!  What else is there??

Tonight is MnC (no idea what it is) happy hour in SoHo, followed by free drinks in Wan Chai.  Got to love free drinks.  But then tomorrow is busy busy busy.  Tutoring at 10, lunch with Catharine at 12:30, tutoring at 5, gallery opening at 7.  No time for yoga tomorrow!

Best Night Ever

If things keep going this way, I don't want a job!  It's way fun to a) not go to work b) tell people I don't have a job c)use networking as an excuse to go out every night.

Last night Paul and I attended Foodie Magazine's Wine and Cheese party at PURE.  First off, PURE is a restaurant/bar in the basement of a gym.  Come work out, then undo all that work with some beers!  I like their business model.  {Side note: Paul and I want to open a business, Bike n Beers.  Rent a bike, get a beer.  Not sure how the liability thing will work out though} The event had a good turn out, nice cheeses, and a good way to beat the rain on a Monday night.  Oh and guess who was the first to RSVP to this event?  That's right; this kid.  I told you, I'm always first!  I met a woman, Susan, whos job is basically Outward Bound for International Schools.  She puts together team building and charity events for kids 8-18 years old.  I gave her my card, told her I don't have a job and have time, and she said she'd use me as a guide if they're short people.  How much fun would that be!?  Babysitting in the woods!

But the best part of the evening came after the event.  I have been emailing with a guy Dave I met at a wine event last week.  He's the Manager at a bar/restaurant here and invited me to stop in for a cocktail.   Lily & Bloom in LKF is a speakeasy style bar and restaurant; Lily the bar; Bloom the restaurant.  Dave gives us the VIP tour, including a cigar room hidden behind a secret door.  How cool is that!?  Post tour we go back to the bar where's there's an impressive cocktail list.  Dave suggests I try to their raspberry gin drink.  I don't remember the name, but it's definitely the BEST cocktail I have had since the Gibson in DC (ohhhhh the Gibson!)!  It was light, soo raspberry delicious, and had an awesome raspberry foam on top.  I could probably drink 10 of them, well if they weren't $100 each.  Paul had their Old Fashioned.  It tasted like orangey whiskey deliciousness, and it had a giant ice cube in the middle.  Can we say best bar ever!?  I'm super looking forward to coming back for dinner soon!  I've already told Paul this is where we're coming to celebrate my getting a job :)  Dave was such a gracious host, and the whole place just exudes class and character.

This morning I got up and met with Emily's boyfriend's friend from Australia who now lives in Hong Kong.  Charlie works for an IT firm and has been here 8 months and loves HK!  He's going to pass around my resume and I told him about a vineyard tour coming up, so hopefully I'll get to see him again there.  I love my wine groups!

Coffee was followed by yoga.  I just bought 20 classes on groupon (for $12 usd!) so now I have to go to yoga at least 3 times a week for the next 6 weeks to get all of them in!  The class today was great.  An Indian dude led, and it made me super glad I went to a yoga ashram in Nepal because dude was intense.  Lots of breathing exercises and then sun salutations followed by my favorite, relaxation.  I think I shall go again tomorrow.

Tonight is movie date night.  There's not a whole lot playing, but Paul and I are determined to avoid the bars tonight, even though it's free to drink from 9-11 in LKF.  Must say no....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Outdoorsy Weekend

Happy Monday!  Mondays are now one of my favorite days of the week.  There aren't usually events, I don't have tutoring or any other obligations, it's just a day to catch up on emails, housework, and for now Halloween costumes.  Paul and I are pretty lame on the ideas front (please let me know if you have any) so I think I'm going to be Cat Woman and he's going, for 3 years running,  Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent (if I can't find a Batman tee).

But, woo, what a busy weekend!  Saturday I met Paul and we checked out the Wan Tai Sin temple which is really beautiful.  It's a surprise gem in our otherwise pretty industrial hood.  Then we took a bus over to Sai Kung.  I love Sai Kung.  It's so laid back and beautiful.  It feels like you're in a Northern Cali beach town just with a lot of Chinese people with dogs with shoes.  We took a nice little boat ride to Sharpe Island, where it was too cool to swim, but we sat on the shore admiring where we live.

Sunday we woke up and made eggs benedict!  We made poached eggs in Korea a few times, but a little less successively here.  I need a slotted spoon!  They weren't pretty but they tasted good with Canadian bacon, garlic spinach, and cheese.  Then we took the scenic route down to Shek O to go hiking.  I'm all about not taking the MTR.  I don't like going underground when it's so sunny and nice out, so we attempted to take the bus.  It would have been fine if we'd gotten off at the right stop, but we didn't know where that was so we took the bus to the end.  1 1/2 hours.  Then wandered trying to find the MTR.  30 minutes.  Then took a mini-bus. 30 mins.  All in all a 2 1/2 hour trip, which probably should have been just an hour.  Oops, lesson learned, took the MTR home.  Anyway, the hike was lovely!  It's the kind of hike I like.  It took us less than 2 hours, had great views and very few hills.  And there's a great Thai restaurant at the end.  Hike to spicy squid and beer?  Yes, please!

Last weekend Paul met a guy, John, in our building who is also from Pittsburgh.  They exchanged emails and John invited us over for dinner next weekend.  When Paul mentioned I would be coming, John replied, "Is that the same Miss Lauren as from the fliers."  Asa!  2 months in and I'm already a Latitude celebrity!

Now it's off to run to Mong Kok, meet a friend for a juice, look for a costume, shower, meet Paul and hit a wine and cheese event in the mid-levels.  Should be a nice little Monday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Home

I decided months ago when we first got here that we were moving to Sheung Wan next year.  I went down there to pick up a bookshelf and fell in love.  There are wide sidewalks, tons of cafes, wine bars, galleries and yet it still retains the feel of an old Chinese neighborhood.  I <3 Sheung Wan, and last night just confirmed my love!  Paul and I MTRed our way down there and stopped in a cute little Chinese place for a quick bite.  Then we walked through the cute little alleyways passed temples and playgrounds and found our way to the Sin Sin Art Gallery for the Julia Nee Chu exhibit opening.  There were a handful of people, beautiful abstracts, a harpist and of course wine and snacks!  I love this neighborhood!  Then we explored the hood and made our way over to Central (10 minute walk) where we discovered all of these back streets with these amazing looking restaurants and bars!  How have we not seen this before?  We usually stick to right next to the escalators, who knew 1 street away and there were all of these gems!?  Well apparently someone, because they were all pretty packed.  We had a drink, decided we were tired and called it a night at 9.  Nine's appropriate for a Friday night, right? Right!?

Skip the Danish

My friend Brian just showed this too me.   USA next??

Thursday, October 6, 2011


haha I just got Twinkled again!

Look Elsewhere

There is so much to catch up on!  Wednesday was another cloudy, almost fall like (still hasn't dipped below 70!), day.  Not to be deterred by potential rain, Paul and I booked it up to the New Territories to Tai Po.  Mini-bus, subway, mini-bus, and we arrive in this cute little beach town; with the rest of Hong Kong.  We enjoyed a lovely Thai lunch, although I think the curry I make is better, and rented bikes.  We biked across a damn where you had to avoid children learning how to ride bikes, kids and adults flying kites, fishermen, 4 person family cart/bikes, and just a plethora of other people out cruising for the day.  Paul managed to hit a kid and I saw a Jeje get choked out by a kite.  The best thing though were the adults with training wheels!!!  I guess it's like Korea where they can't swim, adults can't ride bikes here!! Too funny.

Ohhh tutoring!  So now on Tuesdays I have Natalie who is 9 years old and so sweet!  We just sit and go through her school work and I test her vocab and spelling.  Her mom's English is pretty good (the 30 year old I though I was tutoring), and she wants to hook me up with some of her friends.  Asa.  And now on Thursdays I have a 5 year old girl who I have yet to meet!  I love the little ones.  Paul just picked up a gig on Tuesday evenings as well.  One of his Chinese co-teachers hooked that up and she says she can probably get me some work too.  I can handle working 2 hours a week I suppose.

Thursday was an amazing wine event.  I joined the meetup group HK Wine Lovers, for obvious reasons, and attended my first event last night. The co-founded of the group is a co-owner of the bar Otto where is was held, as well as co-owner of Platinum Wines who provided the wines for the evening.  They do sales to individuals and investments wines and just so happen to be hiring soon.  I talked with everyone that worked there, made it abundantly clear that I would LOVE to work for them in ANY capacity, and followed up with some emails today.  Here's hoping!!  But yeah, good wines, really cool people, and hopefully a few new contacts!  But man did it make this morning tough!  I woke up at 7 (eeeh!) to attend a QlikView seminar.  I had no idea what is was, but it was on this VIP email list of events I get (yes I am plugged in here!), and it was free so I thought why not.  Turns out it was a sales pitch to buy their software, but I found it really interesting and met a couple interesting people.  Turns out I'm not so good at networking while hungover.  I kind of just sat to myself and sipped my coffee, but I did get 2 business cards and managed to talk with 2 people at RBS, one of which told me to switch fields.  Really!?  I mean you can think it, but you're really going to tell me to give up?  Do people, strangers no less, really say that!?  Paaashaw!

Anyway, tonight's a gallery opening that Paul and I will attend. Gallery opening= free cocktails, then tomorrow's a big rugby game, so we'll probably hit a bar to watch that.  Sunday Paul and I are thinking about hiking, perhaps Dragon's Back in Stanley beach.  It's supposed to be pretty easy and it's on the coast so it'll be pretty.  I have photos from Tai Po but have been too lazy to get on my netbook to upload them...perhaps later today.  What are you doing this weekend?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Social Media

So now that I am job hunting in HK I have been invited to many many a social media platforms; Google+, A Small World, Internations, etc.  I just got an email saying the following:

"Slawek has twinkled you."

Hmmm perhaps it's time to trim the fat.  Does anyone understand what that means???

ANyway, P and I are heading up to China!  Well, almost.  We're going to MTR it up into the New Territories for a day of biking, boating and bbqing!  Happy HK National Day!

2 Hours Later

And I have another tutoring gig.  I decided to drop my prices, I am traveling downstairs after all, and I now teach a little 5 year old girl every Monday!  A 30 year old (my guy/girl today) and a 5 year old!  It's like I'm back at BHive.

I love the street markets here for fruits and vegetables!  They're so vibrant and cheap!  I just picked up a huge bag of cherry tomatoes, a zucchini, and a huge head of lettuce for $2.  Asa! 

Monday, October 3, 2011


This AM I fought the rush hour masses all the way down to Central to meet with a friend of a friend as a first round interview.  I had no idea what the job was, but I knew it was with JP Morgan!  I met Michelle and she told me a bit about her job (she's a Senior Associate).  I forget the exact title she used for the department, but basically it's a lot of research and review.  It seems to be a cross between auditing and law.  They look at their clients who are looking for financial services, and review if any of their holdings are involved in money laundering.  For example, they have a branch in Indonesia where there is little regulation blah blah, it's this department at JP that ensures they are legit in all of their businesses.  It sounds really interesting, and if Michelle thinks I sound interesting I will be passed to another interview with her manager.  Fingers crossed!!

Also today I got my first tutoring!  The person has been texting me and we're meeting today at 4.  I have no idea if it's a man or woman, how old, etc., but I guess today will just be a get to know each other and set up expectations.  Woohoo!  Every Tuesday!  Then later this evening there is a happy hour for Autralia's Chamber of Commerce followed by free drinks at Insomnia.  Then no school tomorrow!  Well, for Paul!  It's Chung Yeung Festival, which I think is Hong Kong's National Day.  We're going to pick an island to go explore.  Hopefully this wind will stop and the sun will come out!!

A SunLife fail...

Could mean a different new possibility. I went to SunLife today unsure of what to expect, and found out pretty quickly that they couldn't sponsor a work visa for a Financial Planner.  Something about it being a front office kind of job means that I would already have to be a permanent resident in order to be hired.  What they're going to do is submit my resume for a back office position, and if there happens to be something they can hire me for (which seems unlikely), I could do that for a year, and then move into the role of Financial Planner should I chose.  This is all a lot of IFs, but I suppose you never know!  Also during the meeting, Liza (the woman who orchestrated this whole thing) and I chatted and she remembered a close friend who runs her own event company.  She often does events at Ocean Park and only hires one other person to work with her to get things all together.  She wasn't sure if she was looking for someone new, but she said she would call and find out.  So there's potential there as well, and it sounds super fun!

In even more exciting news, drum roll please, I have a first round interview at JP Morgan tomorrow!!!!!  Yey!!!  This will be the first time wearing my suit since interviewing for PES in September 2007.  Yes, that's right.  First time in 4 years that I am wearing a suit.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate Party

Jackie and I 
Last night was my friend Jackie's event at Vero.  Vero is an amazing chocolatier here in HK.  They have two outlets and when I went to pick up tickets from Jackie, she treated me to a hot chocolate.  YUM!  It was melted chocolate in a glass with a thin layer of chocolate melted over it.  It's so thick you eat it with a spoon instead of sipping, and then you lick the glass it's so good.

The party last night had the same effect.  It was held at their Wan Chai location which is a restaurant/bar/museum/store right on the bay, so we had front row seats for the fireworks show.  Paul, Garret, and Garrett's friend Sammy (also an ex-Korean English teacher, en route to become a Chinese English teacher) arrived and were promptly served wine.  As you look around there are statues of chocolate everywhere.  One of a samurai, one of Mannequin Pis, and many many others.  You can also see into the kitchen where there is a team of people assembling desserts and making chocolate.   Right outside the kitchen was the amazing canape buffet.  Ohh was it delicious!!  My favorite was definitely the foi gras on toast, but there was also tomato/mozz/basil skewers, mini ham/basil sammies, cheese pastry poofs, fried something balls (I didn't try), and a whole assortment of chocolates!  Yum Yum Yum.  It was so yummy.

More importantly than the food and drink were the amazing people there.  Most I have met before (most were on the junk last Sunday), and it was so nice to get to know these amazing people all a little better.  There were teachers, bankers, IT people, designers.  So refreshing to hear all of these young people, living and working abroad, with similar interests to myself; namely wine and chocolate.  It was a total blast and on top of all that was an amazing 30+ minutes fireworks display.  Come 8 this morning and the door man is buzzing with Garrett at the door.  Apparently he and Sammy were out until 5, decided to take a quick nap in the street before the subway opened at 6, and were awoke to a man stealing Sammy's wallet out of his pants!  Who knew there was crime here!?  In Central no less.  Sammy is leaving HK tomorrow to go to China and luckily still has his passport.  But crap.  No credit card, egh!  Hopefully he can get that all sorted today.

P, Garrett and I are all a bit worse for the wear today.  P and I went out in search of food, it's raining, and we have no cash. Hm.  We finally go to the basement of the mall and settle upon this cute looking New York style cafe.  We each order a burger set.  I don't normally order meat, much less burgers, but I'm a bit hungover and it seemed like a super deal.  We got a soup and salad to start, both small and flavorless, and then waited.  And waited and waited.  Finally 40 minutes later his sad looking Western burger came out.  No mayo.  No ketchup.  No mustard.  Then 20 minutes later my mushroom burger came.  Maybe they had to kill the cow, but I can't imagine how it would take them that long to make 2 burgers. And restaurants please don't ever, ever, EVER, serve one diner before the other.  It's rude!  This was a huge headache all of Nepal, and it always seemed Paul got served first.  I don't want to sit and watch someone else eat while I'm here with a rumbling tummy.  Regardless, they weren't great, ended up costing $15 USD, we didn't finish either (and I'm president of the clean plate club), and on top of it they didn't take credit cards.  Lesson learned.  McDonald's only for burgers in Asia.   

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Lunar New Year (Jan 22-29) will be spent in Palawan, Philippines.  Paul has never been to the Philippines, and I have never been to Palawan, so it's new for both of us.  One week in the sun and January!

I <3 the Philippines!