Following a dreadful night of jetlag (brain listing every stress in my life on rinse and repeat), I had a lovely day in Hong Kong with my beautiful minionette A (as @helpful_mammal would say).
We started city-side at the luxurious shopping mall we’ll be working for, where we promptly bumped into the charming Aussie Bloke (AB) who is here to act as our technical bod. We gave him some advice on what constitutes appropriate birthday present material for your girl.
For reference, this means no gift vouchers, and to think twice before buying an iPad. While A and I would love him for it, some girls will ask if you’d like to just go ahead and buy a hammer drill* next time. We suggested a nice bag, preferably with a bottle of her favourite perfume inside (given his day rate, he can afford to splash out).
We spent the rest of the day in Kowloon, marvelling at quite how many shopping malls you can cram into a condensed area (lots) – especially when each one has an enormous Louis Vuitton and a Gucci. It would seem that moneyed China has a lot of cash to burn, and a taste for haute couture, although most of the stores seemed suspiciously empty.
Several hours and some kilometres later, we failed at food. Defeated by dress code, changes in ownership and even non-existence (seriously, a building that tall in HK should have a bar at the top; every other one does), we eventually succeeded at passable dim sum, before retiring to our hotel to recover from our exertions.
Drinks with AB and another colleague J were followed by dinner with some of AB’s ex-pat friends, who happened to have a table booked at a desirable restaurant and could swing extra seats for us.
Dinner should have been amazing – I got to eat wagyu beef – but while it was very nice, I’ve enjoyed a lot of other steak more. Company counts for a lot. Smug, privileged and bored, these were not the blokes to make my night. I like to think the best of people, but seeing one of them demolish my colleague J rather destroyed my faith in humanity. Yes, we gatecrashed their party and they had no onus on them to like us or even interact with us – but having offered to let us join them, there’s no excuse for being downright rude and aggressive.
My second foray into the ex-pat world leaves me even colder than the first. That was one of the most poisonous social outings I’ve attended since I was a teenager. If this is what it means to be a foreigner in Hong Kong, shame on them – and in spite of the often-repeated refrain tonight, I won’t be rushing to join them.
* Insert alternative power tool here.