It's been a fun, but insanely busy few weeks, and it's great to be back home. Even the routine of work is welcome. Yesterday morning, for the first time in weeks, I cycled to work. Also, my poor Natasha has had to deal with three wild children on her own while I was off gallivanting, so my presence is appreciated (to say the least).
To kick off the insanity in late October, there was the show at The Bottom of the Hill (see picture above, click for slideshow), which was a rip-roaring success. The picture above is of House Band C (that’s me on the left hidden by the mic stand), so-called because the musician on the right side, with the red Stratocaster, is Cory , our beloved band leader - and well, his name begins with "C." There was also House Band J, named after it's leader, Jake. Our primary job that afternoon was to back up some of my guitar teacher's other students. However, we also got to do a set on our own. We did a selection of songs from Jet, Blondie, The Brand New Heavies, and Led Zeppelin, and I got center stage for a rendition of Richard Thompson's "Tear Stained Letter." The gig was filmed and I'll get a copy of it, so might try and stick it up on the blog.
Soon after the gig, I was off to Hong Kong on a work trip. I'd never been there before so I was excited to see it, despite the fifteen hour flight. I was dreading the jet lag, but I didn't suffer too much. We arrived there at 6:30 in the evening, and by the time we reached the hotel, ate and had a few drinks, it was bed time. A sleeping pill saw to it that I got a decent night's rest, and although not entirely refreshed, I wasn’t as fucked up by jet lag as I normally am.
We witnessed a pretty horrible incident as we arrived at the hotel in Wan Chai, an area with a tons of strip joints, bars, and restaurants, so the streets were thronged. We were standing at a set of lights, waiting to cross, when this guy starts screaming at a woman who appeared to be his girlfriend. As we began to cross, the guy slapped her hard across the face. We were already at the other side of the street by the time it all registered and we stopped, not sure what to do. He continued shouting at her for a half a minute or so, until she walked away. Meanwhile, some Aussies, in an open front bar right beside where it happened, had witnessed the whole thing, and confronted the assailant. A melee started quickly, and ended just as fast, during which Mr Slapper got a well-deserved head butt (not that I advocate violence, but if there was going to be violence, he deserved it most). It all happened in a second, and before we had time to digest it, the crowd had dispersed.
Otherwise HK was a busy but relaxed trip. It’s a bustling city, but has friendly and chilled out people. My days were spent working, and every evening we checked the sights and got to eat at some tasty restaurants. One of them was a Hot Pot restaurant where each table has two holes in it. Under each hole is a small but powerful heater. A bowl of broth is recessed in each hole - one was a vegetable broth and the other was basically a bucket of boiled chilies. Then, the wait staff placed various raw fish, meats, and vegetables on the table. We each got a ladle and dunked into the broth our choice of the meat, fish or veg, holding it there until it was boiled enough to eat. I am by and large vegetarian, but when in Rome...so I ate the fish. I scored major bonus points with my Chinese colleagues by being the only person who actively enjoyed the chili broth. I LOVE spicy food.
On our final night, we did what all good tourists do and hit the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen. And it's pretty jumbo, and it's on a boat. The whole thing is lit like a month of Christmas’s and ornately decorated - lots of red and gold dragons and Chinese lanterns. The food was good, not great, but the service was fantastic. All in all, the experience itself was worth the trip.
I arrived back after an uneventful flight, and turned around the next day for a long planned boys' weekend in Vegas. I hadn’t intended having the two trips back-to-back, it just worked out that way, and Natasha, my dearest darling wife, gave the whole thing her blessing. We stayed at New York New York, and had a fantastic time, during which we played lots of blackjack (and I didn’t lose too badly). Other than that, as the saying goes - What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
This week we moving office. We were bought by a huge software company at the beginning of the year, and they have an office in the same business park as us. Luckily, this means no major disruptions, and I can still bike to work when the urge strikes.
I'm also in the hole for some extended child care :)
Labels: Canon 30D, Live Music, Photography