This weekend my colleague’s six-month-old son encountered a foreigner for the first time in his life: me! Chinese babies are so cute when they see a non-Chinese person – they raise their (almost non-existent) eyebrows and sport a completely surprised, verging on shocked, expression. You have to jump around and make strange noises before they get over it and start laughing, probably deciding you’re a joke their parents brought over to amuse them.
Anyway, on Saturday, went over with some colleagues from office to visit the new baby so that, as someone put it, he doesn’t forget “his aunties”. Funnily enough, the two in the group who were most adept at holding the baby were the two who were not married and who probably wouldn’t have children of their own. The three married (albeit childless) ones were all apprehensive that the baby would break if we held him.
However, another feature of Chinese babies is that they’re extremely cooperative. They don’t bawl, just wiggle. So we all had a go and made him pose for pictures with us. Probably also typical, the baby tended to be gadget obsessed and made a grab for the camera. In the end, he ended up clicking pics of us as we clicked pics of him. His shots weren’t half bad.
Other than a kid stuff it was a completely lazy weekend. On Friday evening, I had pushed the limits of my social self and done drinks with V’s friends. I only had two glasses of wine but I was already tired and I had consumed this mooncake before in the hope that it would function like cheese, only it sat in my stomach like a stone the whole time. The result of wine + mooncake + general fatigue was that I suddenly found myself drowning in a very deep well. The only other time this has happened is when I tried magic mushrooms in Amsterdam and after two hours of non-stop giggles, I started the rapid descent into the other side of madness. This time, though, I felt that letting whatever it was wash over me would be therapeutic. It was, kind of, but it lingered through the weekend.
A strange thing has happened. I realized I need to take a break from trying to discuss anything serious with people because both I and they end up frustrated. The reason I come away peaceful from conversations with people I don’t know that well is because I have no expectations and also am forced to be polite. We stay on the surface, just paddling and that’s fine. The moment I try to do proper strokes, I flounder. So I’m just going to take a break and sunbathe for a while. If I get into the water, it will be to just dip my toes in. This is weird because normally I abhor polite chatter, I always dive in headfirst.
This blog might be especially ranty for a while , because partly that’s what is blog is for. To say the things I don’t say to people because I can’t be bothered to go through the paces of deciding whether they would actually want to hear what I’m going to say.
The main excursion on Sunday was down the road where we discovered in this very boring basement mall, a delightful coffee shop. The owner/manager is really passionate about his beans and swears by the siphon method of coffee making, which uses a halogen lamp instead of fire and these glass goblet thingies. Like a cross between a laboratory and a disco. But the coffee is lovely – he pushes the fair trade products – and the guy is so into what he does, it’s infectious. We came away with a bag of Nicaraguan fair trade coffee.
I don’t know if I have any Hong Kong readers but if any of you happen to be in the Quarry Bay area, do go down to Xen Coffee in Manly Plaza on King’s Road. They have a coffee and cheese cake tea set, and though we didn’t try the cakes this time, we’ll be back.