6 observations of a winter’s day
Tuesday 15 February 2011, 6.17pm HKT
Updated 26 Jan 2013 (photo added)
TODAY and probably the next two days will be the last of the Hong Kong winter. Right now, it’s 11°C (52°F) at 5pm local time (9am GMT).
1. It’s ‘freezing’
It might be 15°C (59°F) but it’s called ‘freezing.’ People — old and young, great or small, fit or decrepit — pad themselves to the hilt in ski jumpsuits, down jackets, UGGly boots and fluffy scarves. And then they sit happily in 16°C air-conditioning in shirtsleeves. Shivering old fogeys, teeth clacking away, complaining about the cold, wearing overcoats, mufflers and ski caps — and flipflops. You just have to wonder.
Redeeming feature: Pouty, nubile chicks wearing skimpy miniskirts and bondage-whore boots (you know, the ones that cover the kneecaps with zippers at the back that look like swashbuckler’s boots).
Disappointing feature: The chicks are invariably with acne-covered, wimpy boyfriends who seem more interested in their handheld game consoles than on their chicks.
2. Everyone’s slo-mo
Brisk walkers suddenly halt right in front of you and stand there almost motionless for no reason. Steve “Six Million Dollar Man” Austin on slo-mo couldn’t get any slower compared with our lot.
Redeeming feature: “F**k off!” and they’re too slow to hear it or react for your quick getaway.
Disappointing feature: They’re also too slow to move out of your way, so you’re still left standing there behind them.
3. The infernal pong
Clearly, baths/showers are not the done thing in winter. They reek of rancid vegetables, made worse by the odour of long-stowed winter clothes. It’s much, much worse during rush hour when people are packed like sardines in the MTR (the underground rail network).
Redeeming feature: Since the SARS outbreak in 2003, it’s perfectly acceptable now to wear a facemask to block out the stench.
Disappointing feature: The rancid vegetable smell actually rubs off onto you.
4. Overclothed and in black
We’re the City of Ninjas at the slightest threat of cooler temperatures. (Strictly speaking, you shouldn’t say ‘cold’ unless it’s 0°C or 32°F.) Black everything. Four or five layers of everything.
Redeeming feature: You would not be out of place when you fetch out your Matrix-length gothic emo BDSM leather overcoat — the only time you get any service out of it since you bought it in 1999.
Disappointing feature: You can’t see what the hell you’ve bumped into at night. Your car probably has run over some of them, but you wonder why it’s never your ex who gets run over.
5. It’s colder inside than out
Your flat (BrE) / apartment (AmE) is more like a fridge than that odd thing you keep your beer in.
Redeeming feature: You can unplug your fridge and save on electricity (thereby lowering your precious politically correct carbon footprint) because your bathroom is colder.
Disappointing feature: You wished you could save the coldness now for summer later.
6. Hotpot frenzy, income worry
Hotpot meals, popular even in high summer here, go into overdrive. So two diners actually take up the whole of a four-seater table. Half the patrons, half the revenue, but packed restaurant. And you wonder why eateries go out of business so quickly here.
Redeeming feature: You sit at those two idiots’ table regardless (because the place is packed) and experience the hilarity of seeing them squirm at the sight of you splaying your saliva nearly, but not quite, close to their food.
Disappointing feature: Their saliva’s actually splayed on your food already, suitably decorated with their used napkins/tissues.
Extra: 7. No hot water
Your puny 4-litre (1-gallon) water heater always, always break down at this time, never in summer. Like all appliances in Hong Kong, they’re always unfixable, thereby causing you to spend your meal money to buy a new one and maybe your beer money as well for the installation.
Redeeming feature: You tell farfetched stories about how you learnt sure-fire survival techniques to warm up when your girlfriend(s) arrive at your place and demonstrate that particular expertise for her in bed.
Disappointing feature: Your folks or in-laws arrive instead.
It would’ve been better if the view was this nice over here…
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. Updated 26 Jan 2013. Image via c4c.