The day began with a trip to the Sha Tin Racecourse, a spectacular overindulgence for the purpose of gambling that would make Las Vegas jealous. Little did I know that it was the Hong Kong International Races Day. Since my uncle had acquired a Hong Kong Jockey Club members only pass (that's just how the Chans roll), that meant I got an upfront view for the three things that I associate most with big horse racing days: rich middle-aged white guys in suits, rich white women dressed to the nines while wearing ridiculous hats, and very attractive daughters of the aforementioned two groups. I'll leave you to ponder which of the three I enjoyed the most.
As part of the special racing day, the Hong Kong Jockey Club was giving away free hats. My uncles and I unanimously agreed that they were ugly. My aunts unanimously agreed that they were fashionable. You can decide for yourself.
Later on, my aunt and uncle said that the three of us who were sitting together (my uncle, my dad, and myself) were shown on TV as they were panning to the people sitting around the paddock area. True to form, my uncle was demonstrating the second Chinese superpower when we were on TV - he was fast asleep.
Before the races had even concluded, we raced (oh look at that, I'm so punny) over to the restaurant for my dad's 65th birthday. Though I had no hand in actually organizing the dinner and thus had no idea what to expect nor what it would cost, I was nominally the person who was going to pay for the whole dinner. I expected the dinner to consist of two tables (to fit the 20-odd people who were coming to the event) in a public restaurant.
That's not what I got when I arrived.
No, what I got was one big-ass table that seated 20...in a private room...on the third floor of a restaurant...in a private residential area...that was exclusive to their members only. You literally could not even eat at the restaurant unless you had permission from one of the residents of this community.
Here was my thought process as this slowly dawned on me:
(Walking up to the residence and restaurant.)
This place looks posh.
(Going up the elevator.)
This place looks more posh from the inside.
(Arriving at the private room.)
WTF? It's a private room?
Wow, the Chans are ballers.
Wait, I'm paying for this. Does that mean I'm a baller?
(A third pause.)
I think so, but I'm not 100% sure. If I had known beforehand, I would have bought some bling and diamond earrings to make it official.
The best part of this room was that it reminded me of the third Chinese superpower. On one side of this private room sat our ridiculously large table. In the corner on the other side sat a mahjong table (which would have represented the fourth Chinese superpower if it could used in an interaction with non-Chinese people, but alas, it cannot), but in the middle sat a karaoke machine. Let's just say that it did not go unused. Aunts, uncles, cousins, my parents, wives of cousins, husbands of cousins...they all took a run at the mike at some point. I only abstained because all of the available songs were in Chinese, which meant I was unable to sing any Mariah.
In the works for Day 4: possibly more applications for visas, opening up my first Hong Kong bank account so I can receive free money, getting measured for more suits from another tailor, and of course, another family dinner.
Actual hugs 2, Non-hug greetings 19 (I got a very nice handshake though)