Monday, December 12, 2011

Hong Kong Day 4: The Cleaning Ritual

Day 4 began with more passport applications followed by a trip to a tailor for material selection and measurement-taking for a couple of suits.  Since the suits were especially cheap at this place, there was a lot of hustle and bustle, and to put it mildly, I do not fare well in this type of environment.  After it was all over, I wanted to go home, take a Silkwood shower, and lie down on my bed.  Unfortunately, the day was far from done.

We had to go book our hotel for tomorrow's overnight trip to China.  I'd give you the name of the city, but frankly, I don't know where it is and don't much care and chances are you feel the same way, so let's just move on to the most important part of my visit to a travel agency - the sign that was in the waiting area:

I need to discuss this sign and what it could possibly be saying because I'm not really sure what's going on here.  The camera sort of makes sense, because it's telling us that they're monitoring the area for pickpockets, and so should we.  But if their security cameras were actually effective in preventing pickpockets, then there wouldn't be a need for this sign, right?  So the camera icon is actually telling me, "Hey, we have camera surveillance here, but they're really for appearance and don't actually do anything, so beware of pickpockets".
Can you explain the eyes to me?  Why are the eyes different?  If the eyes were the same, then the message would clearly be "Keep your eyes open and be alert".  That would make sense.  But why the dark, different eye on the right?  Maybe I should be half-alert but not fully afraid, hence only one out of my two eyes need to be on the lookout for sketchy people?  Are they saying that a regular person is the normal eyebrow on the left, but a pickpocket is the darkened eyebrow on the right, and thus I should be on the lookout for pickpockets, who I are inherently shady and can be spotted by their shady eyes?  Are they telling us that doing the People's Eyebrow will deter pickpockets?  I don't know.

The night ended with dinner at a restaurant that my uncles visit all the time.  Upon our arrival at the restaurant, my dad proceeded to engage in one of the more interesting customs here whenever people visit a restaurant.  He started washing his cups, chopsticks, spoons, and bowls with the hot water and tea provided by the staff for us to drink.  It's such a common custom here that restaurants will provide a big communal bowl for you to dump the cleaning water into once you're done, and pretty much all the locals are proficient in doing it.  My dad clearly has a certain style and specific procedure of how he carries out the washing.  And since we arrived early, my dad did it for everyone at the table.  This, of course, made me ask my dad why people felt the need to do this.

"Some of the dishwashers in Hong Kong aren't very good, so people feel the need to sanitize the cups before eating.  Though to be quite honest, it probably doesn't do anything and is more for peace of mind and a custom than anything else.  If there really was a problem with the dishwasher and there was an actual need to clean the bowls, cups and cutlery that you used, what about the plate that they'll be bringing your food out on?"

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the importance of today since it marks the beginning of the official countdown to the next season of The Bachelor, which starts in exactly three weeks.  I might be halfway around the world, but I don't forget the important things in life.

The plan for Day 5-6: Go to China with my parents and stay overnight at a 5-star hotel because let's face it, it's China and still kinda sketchy so you don't want to risk staying anywhere else I'm a baller now.

Actual hugs 3 (My dad's birthday), Non-hug greetings 19 (I received another handshake today, but I'm only counting the number of non-hug greetings that might have led to a hug if I were in North America, and this handshake came from meeting a non-relative, and thus does not count as a missed opportunity)

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