There is no way I could have predicted that three days into our trip I would find myself wearing devil horns. I’m justifying it as a cultural experience.
The expatriate scene in Hong Kong is a culture all its own. Sandeep’s brother has lived here for 4 years and has a wide group of expat friends. An expat in Hong Kong is the term used for the 5% of the population that is not of Chinese origin and didn’t grow up in Hong Kong. They know each other well enough to party in droves every Friday and Saturday until 4 AM. Even though the crowd spans at least 4 decades, the scene is like college with funds. Towards the end of the night I figured, if Asian business leaders wear Minnie Mouse ears and slurp Jello every weekend, then I better stop being a puritan and get on board.
That’s probably all the partying you’ll see from us for the next 10 months.
On a more low key note, the most memorable meal we had in Hong Kong was at a private dinner. There is debate as to the origins of private dinners. Some say they are a way for the culinarily skilled to show off without dealing with Hong Kong rents. Another theory is that these spots sprung around the city in the wake of SARS, when people were afraid to go out to restaurants but still needed a venue to meet friends. Regardless, many are still speakeasies in their original apartments, such as the unnamed one we visited above Al’s Diner (scene of the devil horns). To avoid any gripe with law officials, only beer is served (beer is not considered alcohol here from what I am told) and all other alcohol is BYOB.
This private dinner venue was run out of a no-frills apartment (yes, that is the bathroom you see behind the fridge) by a family from Chengdu province, which is known for their spicy food. Our wine, along with the seven bottles shared with our neighboring table, were perfect complements to our flaming palates.
Where were the kids? We took the opportunity to leave them with a friend, to whom Ava said “When I grow up I am going to give my Mommy and Daddy away to Dora the Explorer.” Clearly they weren’t missing us either.