30 March 2009

Floating in the clouds from New York

Hello hello from thousands and thousands of feet in the sky! That's right, I'm actually typing this on my laptop on the plane going back to ol' Hong Kong! Boy it has been a sweet 2 weeks in New York! I fit right in (except my inability to differentiate coins unless I take them out, look at them, and go "oh a dime is 10 cents!" :P)

So here I am, with almost 14 hours still to go before I land back home and I figured after this lovely vacation (with some "work" thrown in for good measure), it's time to get back in the groove and have a head start on stuff. And what better time to begin than now?! :) I was watching some stuff on Studio CX which is Cathay Pacific's in-flight entertainment (which I must say has completely blown me away! I'm used to flights with 1 TV screen everyone shares) but figured I can reward myself later on in the night when everyone's sleeping.

For those of you who's managed to somehow get info. about my time in the big apple, you'll know it's been one crazy but fun time. The key features of my trip are all the food I ate! I got to perform in a few real New York comedy clubs! I shopped a whopping 23kg worth of stuff! I've become a master at using the New York subway and of course, I'm exhausted but well rested mentally. Exhausted because I have not had a day during my trip where I've slept for anything over 7 hours combined with the food I've been eating (ranging from pizza to pancakes, to fried chicken, to cup cakes), I can feel my body crying for proper rest and nutrition like before! But mentally, I'm ready to rock! I can't wait to get back and get into the groove of life in Hong Kong!

You know, the odd thing is that New York is really actually quite similar to Hong Kong. As Jami Gong, the founder of TakeOut Comedy says, it's "New York on steriods", which in many ways I admit is true. The only part HK loses to NY is in the artistic side and their variety in food and shopping. The supermarkets in NY are unforgiving! If you go in without a specific shopping list, you're screwed! I've found myself wandering around, looking at the 3503853052820539 types of cereals they carry, thinking "oh my goodness, I'd never get anything done with all these options!" But at the same time, it also means you have no excuse for limiting yourself. Heck, everywhere you go it has nutrition labels attached to it! Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. all tell you how many gazillion calories they contain. Oddly enough, people are probably immune to those numbers and you still see them munching happily away at 29035503 doughnuts each weighing in at 300+ calories. And speaking of calories, they're serving lunch now, so I'll continue this in a bit :)

Ahh and we're back. Dinner alongside the movie "Body of Lies". Another one of those movies that I just can't seem to follow and probably need to re-watch. Oh well, so we've got around 11 hours to go and it's quite odd, seeing as it's 8am Sunday in Hong Kong but I'm still attached to New York time, making it 8pm on Saturday night. I hope I don't get too much jet-lag. It's funny about flights nowadays, especially long flights like these. You find yourself "hanging out" a lot just because you've sat for too long and really need to walk around to get that blood flowing properly again. Oh and speaking of flowing, I never realized they have power sockets for your laptops on the plane! OMFG do you realize what this means? I can have my laptop on all flight long! Woohoo! I went to use the restroom just now and oddly, on the door there's an ashtray. This is of course after they've repeatedly warned us that this is a non-smoking flight and should you be caught smoking, you will be fined up to HK$50,000! But if you're going to do it, at least don't get the ashes everywhere.

Going back to my story about NY vs HK, one thing I liked the most about NY was the fact that you're on your own. You'll have weirdo's, people screaming and dancing in the middle of the subway, literally full blown bands playing, and you know what? No one's going to stop you. It's not so much people don't care, but it's more like no one seems to frown upon that behavior, it's taken as being normal. If this happened in HK, even though chances are no one will stop you, they will give you the stink eye and dirty looks. That's definitely one thing I like a lot about NY, however, what I don't like are things like sales tax (freaking 8.375%! WTF?!), the price of food (I eat on average at least US$5/meal, which makes it like HK$40! I'm used to HK$25 - 35 tops!). But I suppose I could definitely see myself living in New York, for around a year, just to really dig into the "you're on your own, you make your life" vibe.

Speaking of being on your own, I got to do three 5 minute sets of comedy in New York! Do you know how insane that is?! Not only i that almost unheard of because stage time is so darn rare there, but for me, a dude from Hong Kong, having done comedy for around 15 months, to come over, not have to do any street barking (ie. give out leaflets) or work my way in the club, to get a spot, that's hardcore crazy! But boy what an experience, as I've told lots of people, it's like I moved into the big leagues. The guys in HK are great, but in a comedy show in NY, everyone is top notch and polished and boy you do not want to have an off night, especially not for me. And man I was nervous, it'd been a while since I was this nervous really, especially since it was only 5 minutes. I'm used to 10 - 20 minute sets in Hong Kong but being at a whole new place and an unknown audience sure sets your heart beating fast. I got to perform at the famous Comic Strip, Ha! Comedy club and at 5-points variety show :) I also did a friendly bi-lingual show for Jami Gong and his friends :)

I got to explore all over NYC on foot simply because it's all flat land. I mean I would literally come back home with aching feet and sore legs from hours and hours of walking non-stop (with the occasional food and toilet break). Oh, speaking of toilets, NYC really loses compared to HK with regards to the availability of public toilets. But I somehow managed to find one in times of need, or at least I knew where to find one (eg. I could be found going to the M&M's store in time square many times solely for the use of their nice toilet :P).

So well here comes the end of my vacation and I guess I do understand why people need to just "get away". Had I just "taken 2 weeks off" in Hong Kong, chances are I wouldn't be a mentally rested as I am now, nor would I be so charged up to start everything and get back on track. So I guess this is one of those "small step back to take a big step forward" deals where I kinda lost out 2 weeks of getting stuff done, but hopefully I'll make up for it in the coming time. And if I don't, well at least I'll have fond memories of shivering in the cold of New York and enjoying soul food and just witnessing blue skies over and over again. Oh and getting to enjoy graffiti everywhere. Lots and lots of lovely graffiti. Hey, at least I got to smile for 2 weeks :)

Hong Kong, here I come!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on ya buddy! U finally had a much needed vacation. :)


01 April, 2009 15:24  
Blogger Vivek Mahbubani said...

Ahaha it was very well enjoyed too :)

01 April, 2009 16:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Vive, welcome back to Hong Kong! :D

01 April, 2009 16:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahah! That's great! :D

BTW, ur acting sucks! Hahaha!!! You look so goofy! ;P

Catch ya soon. Been real busy on my side. How's HK btw?


03 April, 2009 01:56  
Blogger Vivek Mahbubani said...

Ahahaha tell me about it, I looked shocked in the whole scene :P Shocked about nothing :P

HK's good, it's good to be back home I must say :) Though the busy-ness is slowly creeping up again :P

03 April, 2009 20:33  

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