Friday, December 31, 2010

The Road Less Traveled (Leads To Elements Mall On New Year's Eve)


I just got back from an early showing of Derek Chiu's The Road Less Traveled (2010). This Derek Yee-produced drama screened for one showing at The Grand Cinema in Elements mall. I've been told this sort of thing happens to make sure the film qualifies for film awards covering the calendar year.

I'm lucky I noticed this screening as most of the Chinese films I wanted to see on this trip are not out here until January.

The Road Less Traveled is the story of Louis Koo's HK truck driver who drives goods across the border to Mainland China. As the trailer reveals, he runs over the husband of a restaurant owner (Huang Yi) while having to contend with his own materialistic HK girlfriend (Karen Mok).

I'm not going to write a Kozo or Golden Rock-worthy review but I did like the film and I think that in many ways it succeeded.

That said, the early scenes bordered on the mawkish and the unnecessary soundtrack in some key dramatic moments almost made the thing turn into a total parody.

And I couldn't quite believe that Louis Koo and Karen Mok's characters were ever together -- much less for 8 years! -- but those are minor points.

When the film finally gets the plot device out of the way, it proceeds at a very nice, languid pace. Frankly, I was surprised at how things just seemed to happen without any rush or elaborate fanfare.

It's not an Ann Hui flick but it's pretty good in moments. I commend Louis Koo for at least trying this sort of role even if he's much better in some moments here than in others where he does seem miscast.

Huang Yi was quite good and natural and Karen Mok was a bit understated in what was, essentially, the thankless money-grubber role.

The morning started yet again with breakfast/brunch/lunch at Mang Ambo in Wan Chai. I had my fave beef steak with onions and corned beef with pork today. Check out those Egg Nog cookies I got from the restaurant's nearby store!


People here are too nice. In America, Nic Cage's big goofy mug would have been defaced a long, long time ago in a wildly offensive fashion...

Is this totally unnecessary remake of A Better Tomorrow a Korean flick? Why?

I had a quick sushi dinner at Wild Ginger in the mall, near the theatre. This meal would have cost at least twice the price in America...

By HK standards, these were pricey treats. But $4US for that big scallop with black truffles on top was a bargain. As was the $3US for those two pieces of octopus with wasabi sauce. The scallop and truffles were fantastic. The taste of the octopus was totally destroyed by the wasabi. (I sound like a food nerd now!)...

I found this Tsui Hark-directed flick, Working Class, for only $7US in the HMV in Elements. The flick stars Joey Wong, Tsui Hark, and Teddy Robin and looks like it will be cool. I'm holding it as I wait for the train back to the Hong Kong station from Kowloon beneath the mall. How fitting!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fried Oysters and Robitussin


I'm better but not 100 percent better. So, rather than risk being sick on Thursday, when I'm planning to go to Macau, or be sick on New Year's Eve, I'm laying low today.

I tried this Japanese place near my hotel again. The place is always crowded. The service is not great but the menu has a few good things on it. I got the seafood combo. Those are 3 huge fried oysters and 1 huge fried shrimp.

I thought I was going to have a "Mr. Bean" moment as I attempted to eat that shrimp. Clearly it was not peelable and it was not the kind where you are meant to eat the head.

Luckily, I poked it with my chopsticks and the thing split open. I picked up the tail with my chopsticks and dove into the meat. Very tasty.

Then I came back to my room and took a Benadryl and a swig of Robitussin.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting Healthy in Hong Kong


I do feel better than I did yesterday.

Yesterday, I didn't have a fever but I got one last night. Woke up shaking like Katherine Hepburn so I stumbled to the bathroom and turned the shower on full blast and let the heat and steam fill the room.

Then I put the space heater that the hotel provided -- they ran out of extra blankets (!) -- on the ironing board and aimed it at me on the bed.

I woke up about 5 hours later drenched in sweat. I think I broke my fever, or it broke me.

No fever now, my sore throat a tiny bit better than yesterday, and just some sniffles at the moment. I am friggin' tired which is a shame because I didn't do anything yesterday -- I stayed in from after breakfast until breakfast now.

I have plans for tomorrow (Thursday) so I need to get well and then Friday is New Year's Eve.

I got breakfast at Fairwood and you can see the "chicken" there in the shot.

During my meal I was fascinated by those guys in the back, near the chicken rotisserie.

I couldn't tell if they were from the head office or the health department.

My whole meal cost less than $3US. And for that kind of price, I shouldn't complain about the chicken, should I?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Definition of Polypharmacy in Hong Kong



I used the term polypharmacy which is a word I usually see at work in connection with the idea of old people mixing up their "meds" in some dangerous fashion.

So, while I do not have a fever yet, nor do I feel nearly as awful as I did last Christmas -- that "cold" lasted until the end of January -- I felt bad enough this morning that I decided it was time for the black market Zithromax.

Okay, in this picture, on the left you can see Mannings which is a health and beauty chain here in Hong Kong, and on the right you see Watsons which is a real pharmacy chain here in Hong Kong. The staff at Watsons are usually friendly and helpful. And the stores are super clean too.

But, like a pharmacy in America, they won't dole out a prescription drug without a prescription.



A place like the one you see below will indeed hook you up. Six Zithromax cost me about $10US. Thank you, Pfizer Australia!



This big breakfast may also help heal me. We'll see. The French toast may aggravate my asthma but not yet...


Bring it. Need to get well before the big New Year's Eve weekend...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day Mahjong Throwdown in Fo Tan

In a quiet industrial centre out in Fo Tan, a Boxing Day mahjong throwdown occurred with rivals unleashing their gaming skills.

No, not really.

It was just a friendly get-together with lots of pizza.

Check out how deserted the MTR train was this Sunday morning...


Somewhere in the New Territories...


The path to the gaming tournament...


Alan Wai coached me during the one hand I sat in on. But I was no match for these players....



Besides host Sean Tierney, the gaming drew in actor Jason Tobin -- on the left -- from American indie classic, Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)...



Video of the high-tech mahjong table in action!
video

Saturday, December 25, 2010

McDonalds Monopoly Game in Hong Kong


I'm not much for going to McDonalds while I'm here in Hong Kong. Don't get me wrong; I love junk food. It's just that Mickey D's isn't high on my list while I'm here.

I just noticed yesterday that the chain has the Monopoly game going here. Check out the locations on the board.

I also found the cafe from Crossing Hennessy (2010).

The place was so crowded that I couldn't even find a seat so this picture from the outside is all I've got to share.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Every Christmas Eve Dinner Should Involve Sushi


I think every Christmas Eve dinner should involve sushi. Last year, I hit the hotel's Christmas Eve dinner and wasn't too impressed until I saw the sushi table which was adequate.

After a long nap, I overslept today but I have an excuse beyond being simply a tired tourist in Hong Kong. Today, I had lasagna for lunch and, just like at home, the Italian dish kicked my allergies and asthma into action. Nothing major but a combination of little sleep and a Benadryl after lunch made me very tired today.

I headed out and was going to settle for Burger King but it was closed so I just went to Itacho Sushi. Not bad but not great.

Still, it's worth noting that all this food only cost me about $25US and it was better than most sushi that I could get at home for that price.

So what if the place is a chain?

Scallop and sweet shrimp...


Two kinds of eel. It's hard to find the anagi in the US but easy to find the unagi...

Of course there was Pepsi Light involved in the eel pig-out...
I ordered miso soup but it was bigger than I expected...

I had to get two more pieces of eel as a Christmas treat for myself...


I liked this taxi driver's little nodding doggies on the dashboard...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chrissie Chau Brings Her Talents To The Dynasty

I said talents on purpose. No sense pretending the model has any other draw than her breasts.

And, believe me, Marriage With A Liar (2010) isn't going to convince anyone that she's a decent actress.

In her defense, the film is a piece of crap, plain and simple. Devoid of logic, the "scenes" pop up with little sense of drama or comedy. And an overuse of flashbacks doesn't help matters.

But, hey, it was a fun time and I'm always a bit flattered to be tagging along with The Gang of Film. It wasn't the entire gang as a few people were absent, notably The Golden Rock.

Still, Kozo deserves credit for watching crap like Marriage With A Liar and writing about it.

Mongkok by night...


The posters at the Dynasty...

This Lunar New Year comedy has a bunch of stars in it, including Cecilia Cheung, Carina Lau, Louis Koo, Chapman To, and Donnie Yen...

The scene of the cinematic crime...

We had dinner here and it wasn't too bad...

Beef with lemongrass...

I should have ordered this instead...

The view from the restaurant...

Chrissie Chau acting...


Sean Tierney expresses what everyone may have been feeling while watching this flick...

Chrissie, you can try all you want but your 'best' ain't good enough...

The road to dessert...

Dessert place in Mongkok...

Dessert overkill...

I've Been Here A Week And I Only Just Now Get To Hui Lau Shan?

Yep, that's how long it took me even though there's now one of the "mango places" close(r) to my hotel.

You know, sometimes I get this feeling that probably no matter what I do in Hong Kong, someone will say something sarcastic back home. Either I didn't see enough sights, or I didn't go to [insert here].

Whatever. I'm here to have fun and I'm enjoying myself at a leisurely pace despite feeling fatter than I've ever felt. My legs are just killing me when I start walking around.

So no more worrying what others might think. I'm gonna rest this afternoon before heading out to dinner and the movies later.

I do get the irony writing about my weight-related complaints as I lead into a picture of some mango dish from Hui Lau Shan.

Daniel Wu hawks watches...


Miriam Yeung too...


While Shu Qi does it for Armani frames...


Once again, I got lost trying to find my original breakfast choice. Actually, I am not sure I was lost as much as under a sinking suspicion that the place I was looking for has moved to a new location.

I got so hungry I just gave up and ate at a local Yoshinoya. The Japanese chain is pretty common here.

I had number 9, Large Tobiko Salmon Flakes Bowl, and for less than a $1US extra, I got miso soup and kimchi. I know kimchi is Korean and not Japanese but whatever. Hell, I'm eating Japanese fast food in Hong Kong already.




My usual go-to at Hui Lau Shan. It's got the rice (?) balls and the mango pieces and the mango custard in mango sauce. Like I said earlier, it's like being in a Monty Python "spam" parody in that place. Instead of spam, there's mango in almost everything on the menu...