Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday night dinners

L. and I like having friends over for dinner on Saturday nights. I usually make a salad, while L. (or me, depending on when the guests arrive) makes pasta and grills steaks/lamb chops/fish. The average wine bottle consumption, with one friend over for dinner, is usually two - a white for before dinner, and a red for during dinner. A box of Royce chocolate is usually dessert

The dynamic of having people over at your home for a meal is different from meeting them in a restaurant (at least here in Hong Kong). At home everyone is more relaxed, everyone eats more (possibly because they think they'll offend our cooking skills if they don't) and drinks more. Conversation is also more far-ranging (dinner with J.S. revolved around Hong Kong cinema, dinner with A. was all about life back home in Manila, while dinner with P. and A. last night was strangely about the telecom industry in Southeast Asia) and, to my mind, more sincere.

We're about to leave for another continent in a month, and L. and I know a combined total of 6 people living in that area of Europe (with a markedly lower rate of possible visitors as compared to HK). We're also intent on seeing as many new places as much as the weekends and our vacation leaves will allow. Perhaps our Saturday night dinners will have to take a hiatus.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Junk Boat Trip

I was allotted the use of my firm's junk boat last Saturday for my own private use. Ten people joined me and L. on a trip to Lamma Island.

The trip didn't start well, as the winds were pretty strong and the boat was rocking back and forth badly. Around three people's stomachs didn't enjoy this very much, but the others were snacking on chips and cheese and drinking beer.

Luckily all ten of my guests (and myself) were still on the boat when we got to Lamma. It's actually picturesque, and definitely off the beaten track:

We did a thirty minute walk/hike to what is supposedly the best restaurant on the island - the restaurant specialized in seafood, as well as the bird I hate the most, the pigeon:

I really learned how to despise these birds while living in New York - they're dirty, they smell and are really rude (they also have creepy red eyes). However, they do taste good, so I suppose they're still a step ahead of rats.

Aside from pigeons, we also had garlic crabs, steamed fish and fresh prawns. It was a really good meal, and the table conversation was fun - with topics ranging from Deadwood to Hong Kong cab drivers.

The trip back to Central was much better than the trip going to Lamma. I was able to get a few nice pictures coming in to Hong Kong harbor, one of which is this one, starring the building I work in.

Hong Kong is a wonderful city.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Really Lazy Weekend

I was exhausted on Friday night. I've been hit by deal after deal - in two weeks I have lost 5 pounds from skipping lunch and sometimes dinner, sleeping five hours a day and working 16 hours straight (that's about 15 hours of billable time) every day. At 8:30 p.m. on Friday I shut down my computer, put my blackberry ring volume on loud, and took a cab home.

Once I got home a I ate some crackers and cheese and watched TV while answering e-mails. At 11:00, I decided to go to sleep. And I slept for ten hours. 

On Saturday morning, L. and I had to do errands at Causeway Bay. We got home at 2 p.m. I fell asleep again.

I woke up at 5:30 p.m. L.'s cousin from the US came over to HK for a medical conference, so we invited him over for dinner. I cooked, we had a great dinner of sun-dried tomato pasta and mediterranean lamb salad, we discussed Wong Kar Wai films. He left at 10:00 p.m. I was asleep by 10:30 p.m.

I was asleep for nine hours. L. and I spent the entire Sunday just hanging around the apartment watching movies ("4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days", "No Country for Old Men" and "27 Dresses"). I had a nap in between the first and second movie.

It's now 7:50 p.m., and another weekend has gone. Tomorrow it's going to be another furious round of e-mails, phone calls and document drafting. 

Weekends are just too short.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Working on a Holiday

It was a holiday today, and I was at work. BBB and I have been trying to close 3 deals (one closed today. Yay!), and there are a ton of other things that need to be done. It is scary, though, when you have conversations like this one:

[phone rings. I pick up phone.]
Client: Hi, [my name].
Me: Hey, [cllient's name].
Client: You know, I have you on top of my speed dial list.

or, this one:

[phone rings at 11:00 p.m.]
Client: Hello, [my name]
Me: Hi. (note no name acknowledgment when calling at 11 pm)
Client: You'll still be there for a couple of more hours, right? 

Lesson for the day: Despite a graduate degree and a post graduate degree, bar licenses in two jurisdictions and international finance law experience in two major international law firms, the kid from the hedge fund can still make you feel like a slave.

Midori plays Brahms

The past two weeks have been unbelievably busy, but somehow last Saturday night I got a breather to watch a concert with L. at the HK City Hall Concert Hall.

Midori Plays Brahms. I got tickets thanks to my office mate C.L., who got us center orchestra tickets (pretty awesome!).  I haven't really been to a concert where the violin played so prominently before, and though I like listening to Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern (and ok, fine) the Bond Girls, nothing quite prepares you for seeing a great violinist play live. 

Its not just the music (though hearing the Violin Concerto in D major, Op 77 by Brahms played live was divine), its the experience of actually seeing a musician play with such passion and life and endurance. Almost as if the music actually possessed her. I was captivated. 

The HK Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by David Atherton) was also wonderful. Aside from accompanying Midori, they also played The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, which has made me forgo listening to chamber music forever.

Trivia: Midori started playing professionally at the age of 11 when she first made a surprise appearance at the New York Philharmonic's New Year's Even concert. Her violin is a the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesu "ex-Huberman".

Trivia No. 2: It still strikes me as odd that I've grown to love this kind of music. I can't be that old.