Monday, February 23, 2009

Proud to be an American

No pictures again. I hope to go somewhere photo-worthy before next post. Work has been a bit overwhelming. I've been covering rehearsals for absent teachers on top of our now usual 4 shows/week.
We also had another "Pearly Gates" last week. Last time, we were at a boy scout camp--this time we were inside a school gymnasium. Ah, the glamour.
One student asked me where I was from and when I said "may gwok" (yeah, USA, I don't lie about that anymore) he said, "Really? como estas?" Muy muy bien. Apparently, he told another boy that I was American because he came up to me:
"You are American?"
"Do you have an AK47?"
"What? No."
"Oh, so you have a rifle? Maybe just a bebe gun?"
"Paint-ball gun??"

So, my fellow Americans, this is our image. Who do we thank?
a. Hollywood
b. George W. Bush
c. William H. Macy (guess he's part of Hollywood, but whatever)
d. all of the above
e. none of the above (you must provide an answer if you choose e.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

French Trees

This makes no sense, I'm well aware, but sometimes I confuse Chinese and French. It's as if my brain knows I can't speak my native language, so it automatically switches to my next most fluent tongue--le francais. Usually, this stays internal and I avoid actually speaking French to Chinese people. Until yesterday.

I had a Cantonese lesson yesterday, and I arrived about 20 minutes early. As the entire office chaotically bustled about trying to find my teacher, stressed at my early arrival, I attempted to calm them by saying in Chinese, "It's okay, I'm very early today."
Problem was, instead of saying the Chinese word for early, "jo"--I said the French word for early, "toe".
If only 'toe' meant nothing in Chinese...
As everyone was stressfully milling about, I kept saying, "It's okay, I'm a forest! I'm very much a forest today."

Monday, February 16, 2009


I love rocks.
Also trying out a new format for the photos on here. I'm so adventurous.
These were some of my fellow clowns in the Chinese New Year parade. Notice the guy in the center. He does the English voice-overs for all Japanese cartoons exported to the U.S., Australia, U.K., etc. In other words, he's a legend in the eyes American pre-teens with social disorders.

Can someone, anyone, explain this? Please. Before, it was WARM GAGS, as if they're for sale. Now, we mustn't have any gag at all.
I'm sure Devon has an insight on this.

I really like the lions. I want to be one when I grow up. So does Japanimation voice guy. I told him I'll be his butt someday.
Okay, so all these pictures are old-ish. I did take a dazzling photo of the moon recently because they said that it was the roundest it had been in 50 years. I'm so wild.
Went to hear Chick Corea play last week--great show, but I definitely enjoyed him better in the jazz club setting rather than the concert hall. I did, however, meet a Chinese Chicagoan hard be-bop guitarist as I waited for the band at the backstage door. In addition to be-bopping hard, she works at a school and has already booked my company to do a show there. I really should get a commission.
My Cantonese lessons are GAY HO!! Or, "really good." My instructor told me that I'm the fastest and easiest student she's ever had. I said, "thanks, but don't tell my mom I'm fast and easy." Didn't quite translate...
Work: we've finished the Anti-Internet Piracy show and performed it about 3 times so far. It's great. I feel sort of like part of a propaganda scheme. I'm also in charge of the interactive elements of the show. I brief a group of about 12 students 30 minutes before the show and then terrorize them throughout the drama. The terror consists of asking them questions and putting a microphone in their face.
Valentine's Day consisted of a Jungle Book rehearsal (a few of my students gave me candy and/or crackers), a Listen to Me rehearsal, and a gathering at Vera's house. I made guacamole with avocados (`oww `yoww 'gwa, or "butter fruit") that were difficult to come by and completely unripe, much like single men in Hong Kong.
If you're bored with my blog, check out my dear friend Andy's. He's in Rwanda teaching Biology and English--should be on the sidebar under "recently nomadic."
I'm working on getting my China visa--and possibly try to see Hillary, although I don't think my work schedule will allow for it. Or I'll just wait and see if she can improve diplomatic relations and make it cheaper and easier for me to go to the mainland.
Anyway, that's all for now. I'm still without internet and if I stay at this cafe much longer, they might ask me to do dishes or something.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Magic, etc.

Really quick (mostly) photographic update. Yes, I'm still without Internet and hurriedly write this from the cafe again. All photos are out of any sort of order. Enjoy.
The theme of the Chinese New Year parade: World's Happiest Party: Romain, my French friend, met a Roman and had a sword fight:

Chinese Romans are ubiquitous in HK. Yes, I have a balloon flower:

James and I caught a glimpse of this amazing marionette artist at the giant mall near my flat (I'm not going British, it's just that "apartment" has too many syllables to be associated with the size of my residence)

I was in charge of a group of 25 for a day-long camp called "Pearly Gates"...drama games and whatnot. Here are some of my students:

The teachers had to dress as angels for Pearly Gates and if the students did well in their dramatic challenges, we gave them letters, whereupon they had to create words--and then they took the words to the gate and if they were acceptable, could "save" a group member from hell and purgatory. Aisling from Bath and I were a dynamic duo:

James and I went to Fanling, almost as close to the Chinese border you can get. Parents like to dress their kids in traditional attire for Chinese New Year:

We went to Hong Kong DisneyLand! Don't worry, Steven, there are more pictures of Disney--these are all just terribly out of order. Also, a complete report shall be electronically mailed to you post haste:
Back at Fanling, a walled village:

Fanling. Ancestral Hall:

Disney was still in Chinese New Year mode. Nice threads, Goofy:


Lion dancer at 10K Buddhas:
Disney again. I think I know what my next performance job will be:
Disney. This was taken by a German guy. I didn't really talk to him because the only phrases I know in German are "I love you" and "I have no legs". I figured either one would cause an awkward situation:
My family was in the Disney parade:Chinese New Year festival. My best guess us poop dolls:
Juggler buddy Greg and I before the CNY parade:

And a lion dance from Disney. It's probably anti-climatic. I didn't know when to stop filming:

Oh, I also had my first official Cantonese lesson. My venerable teacher, Susanna Ng, is a fantastic linguist, but she doesn't like my language jokes. And this morning, I went to the gym and worked out with the wife of the second-in-command ambassador of Ecuador to Hong Kong. You might say she's a fascinating woman.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oxen and Clowns

I write to you from a local 'cafe' where I'm not allowed to plug my computer in--and of course I'm nearly out of you luck out this time and need not sift through my extraneous text to get to the pictures.
All's well---we did our first performance of an (anti) Internet Piracy show this morning--HO JO (so early) I had leave at 6:15 this morning. aiyah.
Well, anyway, it went great. I get to pick on high school students as this drama is "interactive". There was a girl named Kinky on the panel. Just thought that was interesting. Not judging or anything. I hardly have room to do so since I try to convince people that my Chinese name is Muk Kayooooooh (wooden penguin).
Anyway, I've only had time to upload a FEW of the plethora of photos I've taken in recent days and weeks.
James and I went to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery--an incredible place. They had amazing lion dancers there. Incredible. I'll upload a video of that in due time.
For now...a still shot:

The place was more populated due to the Chinese New Year holiday. Ringing the bells drives away demons. And evil mircrobes. I've got to say, I love this shot. Maybe I'll send it to NatGeo:

Inside the main temple at the monastery. Those are all little Buddha statues, each in a different pose:

That night, I had the privelege to participate in the Chinese New Year Parade in Tsim Sha Tsui. The theme of this year's parade was "World's Happiest Party". Was it ever. I got to be a clown for the first and hopefully not the last time. I was a superstar! I displayed no talent or intelligence, but the people loved me. Maybe it was because I was passing out free stuff. We did the route twice. Once as clowns, jugglers, acrobats, an hour before the parade began and another time as the opening of the parade, rolling giant 10-foot high inflatable balls through the streets. I had a hot pink ball with the letter 'L' on it. We spelled "WORLD". Although, by the end it was more like "RLDWO". whatever.
I got my picture made with these other (separate from the clown group) guys. They were on roller blades:

And here I am with Tony (who I know from juggling club). He has a pin on his costume that says "my last name is The Clown". He's brilliant:
battery is expired...more later.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

my neighbor

No, I haven't forgotten about you, avid blog readers.
It's just that my formerly generous neighbor with whom I shared the internet has moved, shut it off, or suffered some ill-fated Chinese New Year-related disaster.
I write to you from my "office"--so I'll post photos of the last 3 weeks whenever I get back on my own computer.
Much has transpired. I saw Hulk Hogan again.
I saw him once in an NYC subway. Last night I saw him walking a dog near my flat. Guess he's settling down a bit.
James is back in India...and in case he's reading this--remember those annoying drummers from Lan Kwai theatre? They showed up at juggling club last night!! And wanted to invade our space. Also, a new guy came-an American who spent last semester in India...Delhi to be specific--and he's been to Mussorie (sp?). Did you ever see a tall, strapping, Swedish-looking dude wandering around with a bag of juggling equipment?