A laugh a minute…

Gweilos!

Apologies it has taken me so long to write, but things have been really busy lately, mostly with work and preparing for the Christmas break.

To recap; in the last 2 weeks the company I am employed by has ‘merged’ with a huge American based, multinational organization that is the global market leader. As a result of this, many things have been in a process of flux and it appears no one actually knows what is going on. Highly amusing.

It had been quite interesting to be involved in such a big move and I have been attending interviews, press releases and photo shoots for the past 14 days (as a spectator of course). My first official press release was at a major hotel here in Hong Kong. I was told that it was ‘imperative’ that I attend ‘out of moral support’, so I was to cancel all my afternoon meetings to make room for this grand occasion. On arrival I was greeted by a plethora of mainstream Chinese and Hong Kong reporters and media officials. Soon enough, the lights were dimmed and the cameras began flashing. My boss was sitting on a panel with 2 other major business identities involved in the takeover. The questions from reporters begin… “Hai – ya, blah blah, Chinese – Cantonese – yes please – Mr Boss man?”

THE BLOODY THING WAS ENTIRELY IN CANTONESE.

What a waste of time. I looked across at my Manager (the man that informed me of my mandatory attendance) and gave him a look that I’m pretty sure said; “You my friend are the world’s biggest tool and I know you waste my time on a daily basis, but this takes the cake and you will pay for it.”

Needless to say, he was extremely apologetic once it was all over, and I politely told him that I would be making an early exit to complete to mountain of work he had kindly provided me with that morning prior to the press release notice. That, he understood.

I must say, that this company provide me with a plethora of stories and moments that make me stop and question the reality of whether or not something is REALLY happening and for that I should thank them.

A day later I was blessed with another incident that kept me occupied for hours…even long after I had arrived home and No.13 had the pleasure of hearing all about it (even if he wasn’t listening)!

Sitting at my desk, minding my own business (an occupational hazard of not being able to understand anyone) the Boss man bursts out of his box and starts going absolutely APE-CRAZY at the PR Manager (Bozo). To my luck it was in English…’yesss’ (air fist pump)!

In short, he proceeded to accuse her of being incompetent and requesting information as to why she did whatever it was that she did. (Please note that this is a fair more polite version of the truth.) Being a feisty little thing, Bozo bite back…and hard. She proceeded to retaliate with a smorgasbord of colourful and highly imaginative expletive, shifting between Cantonese and English where she felt fit. I learnt some great Cantonese that day.

The argument moved into Boss man’s box, where the walls are paper thin and eventuated in Bozo liquefying into a pool of tears, slamming the box’s door, scooping her belongings into her Bozo style pleather backpack and ensuring us of a perfectly fitting and dramatic exiting. Another door slam.

A few breaths later, the only male salesman obviously decides that it’s all too much, and quietly (he’s a very composed individual) tidied his desk, said goodbye to everyone and has not been seen since.

A few days prior to this, a new sales manager was bought on board to handle the impending influx of new sales staff to coincide with the big merger. I will blog more about her another day. For now, let’s just say she is so special, she deserves a chapter entirely to herself.

Life continues to be completely unpredictable around here and if for no other reason – I keep coming back to this job just to see what is going to happen next.

On higher note, today is my last day of work before we fly out to Japan tomorrow afternoon. No.13 and I are off on a ski holiday and to indulge in a White Christmas, something that has kept us going for the past few months. We fly into Tokyo tomorrow evening, where we will be greeted by an old Rugby friend of No.13’s who, many years ago, was in Australia on exchange from Japan to play rugby at No.13’s club. This Japanese character is a well-known rugby player in Japan and we are both excited to be shown the sights and share some dinner with him and girlfriend.

We will be spending 2 nights in Tokyo then bullet training it to Hakuba with another couple joining us from Sydney, to spend the week snowboarding with the locals. From Hakuba its back to Tokyo for another evening on the town to celebrate a friend’s birthday. From there we fly to Beijing to take in the sights of the Great Wall, bike riding through the ancient Hutongs, Tiananmen Square and much more. On checking the weather forecast for Beijing, we realize that our ski gear from Japan will come in handy for the -10c weather we will experience there over Christmas.

In other events, I recently endured my first Netball Christmas Party where I was made to dress like a Barbie doll in the theme of Mrs Clause.

The evening was full of the bristliest, sketchiest and quite obviously the cheapest alcohol the club could find and as a result many women (and let me say…it’s always the quiet ones) were climbing the walls and flashing innocent men that had the unfortunate luck of walking past our ‘party’, their Mrs Clause style bloomers. Needless to say the ‘cheap white wine hangover’ I experienced the next morning began at 6am when I rolled out of bed to find evidence of the night before strewn across the living room floor in the shape of red and white fluff from my charming outfit and ended the following day…debilitating.

Living in Hong Kong can deliver a surfeit of interesting events and activities, (besides that of 25-40 year old woman playing dress ups and drinking alcohol that tastes like an illegal high school party in the park). The abundance of thai massage parlor’s offering 60 minutes of luxury for a measly $100HKD (approx. $15AUD), 1000’s of fantastic restaurants, bars and evening hotspots in need of appraisal, the shopping, the ‘spare change’ cab rides across the city and not to mention a whole other spectrum of humankind that require hours of people watching. Just like the punch up that occurred at the tram station outside our place last week. No.13 and I watched comfortably from our 5th Floor apartment, trying to work out who was in the wrong and who deserved the abuse they were both giving each other in a fire-ball level of Cantonese.

It’s a weird and magical place, one that takes getting used to and one that needs time to be able to appreciate. This ‘appreciation’ is something that I began experiencing only a few months ago after having a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” moment on the MTR (underground train system). A woman my age, blatantly shoved me out of the way in order to beat me on to the train. After a silent and internal brain snap, I grabbed the hood of her jacket and pulled her back, shook my finger in her face and said “You don’t do that..OK?!”. I’m not sure what response I was after at that very moment, but the look of solidified shock and the return of my spot in the queue was good enough for me.

Until next time… x

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