Friday, May 30, 2008

Left, actually!

I told my friend O that the usual Friday conversation “So, what are your plans for the weekend?” is rubbish. No one really cares and no one actually listens to the answer.

Some 10 min later I got to demonstrate when R showed up. With a bit of mental steering I got her to ask me about my weekend plans.

“Oh, I’ve got lots of plans. Girls’ night out tonight. Seeing friends for lunch and dinner tomorrow. Probably going to the movies on Sunday. Having my arm amputated and I also need to buy a new shower curtain.”

Sounds great, she replied!

However, an hour or so later I texted roughly the same message to S. His reply was:

Left or right?

But not if it rains...

My mind is still on Hultsfredsfestivalen that I’ve booked myself onto. I am very excited to see what all the fuss is about, as despite having reached the respectable age of 31, I have never been to a rock festival!

Since getting back to my house in the forest might prove tricky at 3 am, I asked my friend Hans if we should just party like rock stars and stay up all night! Hans replied that he’s up for rock star lifestyle…weather permitting!

I think he’s just defined my whole philosophy on How to Live.

When I was in Kenya, I stayed in a tent. The tent had a four-poster bed, a proper shower and staff bringing morning tea and heated slippers. We ate out in the bush…but on white table cloths, fine china and crystal.

If you are going to be uncomfortable, make sure you are at least comfortable!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No, I am NOT!

I phoned my Mother up to let her know that I am going to Hultsfredsfestivalen, a massive music festival conveniently held a taxi ride away from my little house in Sweden.

Why?, she asked.

Me: Well, Hans is going. Linkin Park is playing. I have never been there. Because I want to and can…

Mother: Do you not think you’re a bit too old?

Me: Hans is older, he’s going.

Mother: Then perhaps the two of you can pretend to be part of Parent Watch.

It’s always so nice talking to her.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vive la révolution!

My little rebellion is over. After two months of stalling by management, and 2.5 days of strike action by me, the management decided that the information stored in my grays is worth more than the money they owe me. Thank you very nice!

I’m usually a very reasonable and flexible person, but I have really enjoyed these last few days. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with sitting on all the aces and be pissed off enough to display a complete unwillingness to compromise.

I can understand now why the French take so much pride in defending themselves profusely against any minor perceived injustice. I have many times watched in awe as my friend the Queen of Lyon has argued the tiniest little detail (from the amount of the bill, wrinkles in a shirt etc) with waiters, shopkeepers, ticket sales persons etc. My general attitude has always been that unless it’s a really big deal and costing you large amounts of money, just let it go!

Upon reflection though, I have decided that the Queen of Lyon and her fellow froggies are on to something. The drama that comes with getting angry and argue your point, gives you a real nice adrenalin boost! From now on I intend to carry around a bag full of half-rotten tomatoes that I can, in true French spirit, launch at the next waiter who argues with me over the quality of the wine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Can Kurt save us again?

Tonight I am attending my first seminar hosted by The Royal Geographical Society. It is a lecture by Gavin Menzies, author of 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. Tonight’s lecture is entitled 1434: The Chinese start the Renaissance, and presents some of the controversial findings from the author’s research into China’s influence on Europe.
I have to admit that I have yet to read the book. From the short excerpts I have read, and heavily simplified, I understand that Mr Menzies claims the Chinese invented…well, everything! They then decided not to brag about it, and just left it with us Europeans to run wild with.

I can’t help but get associations to STARGATE. You know the outstanding movie and tv-series that explains the pyramids, ancient Nordic mythology, alien abductions and why it is not good to be infected by worms?

The Chinese were obviously a bit like the Goul’d. They arrived in their big ships, with superior knowledge and technology. After messing around for a while they then left, with the only traces of their impact on human history (the pyramids or “all human inventions” as in the Chinese case) being heavily misinterpreted as symbols of our own ingenuity.
But now they are back!

Yes, I do realize that I am being silly, but today is silly Tuesday!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Have I told you all that I’ve been sacked (or “laid off” for financial reasons as my manager put it)? No, I don’t think I have. Well, after working my bum off since December, the 9-or-so weeks business trip and my 16 hour days since I got back, my contract was terminated. I must admit that at first I was a little bitter, but upon reflection I have found several advantages with my current situation:

- I was getting very frustrated with the mis-management of the company, especially the never-ending for-no-good meetings, and the insistence on a ridiculous hierarchy where us mortals are not even allowed to sit in big-giant-leader’s chair.

- Although I was already interviewing for another job, it did give me a kick to actively start job-hunting, which also means I can get my visa situation sorted.

- It has been bringing me lots of sympathy beers. “You are getting divorced AND you’ve been fired? Here, have a beer!”

So, you see people – just another coconut!

I’m completing some tasks before heading off. However, as the company still owes me money since the Big Bad Business Trip, I am currently on strike! Until I receive a cheque for the full amount, I am not departing with any information currently stored in my little head. This is driving my poor and beloved co-worker K insane as I refuse to answer any work related questions no matter how tiny and unimportant they may be.

I am rather enjoying my rebellious mood and secretly hope it will take another few days until I have my money.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Make them wonder why you're still smiling

So Sweden's result in the Eurovision Song Contest was an embarrassing 18th place.

If browsing the newspapers today it is made clear that the reasons for this pathetic result was:

a) that the East European countries voted for each other
b) that the 4 Nordic countries didn't give Sweden their 12 points. (Why, what happened??)
c) that Europeans vote for cheap and tacky music and don't understand the quality that Sweden produce.

So even though our song was obviously the best by far, as usual, there was very little we could do about it.

This, my friends, is smugness!

Friday, May 23, 2008

About being

I’m so sick of having this conversation.

From time to time people question whether my self-confidence is a façade to an insecure inner self.

No, it is not! I like myself. I recognize and embrace my faults and failures. I like the person I have always been. Basta!

When I lived in Russia, Wombat girl had one of her frog moments and said: I don’t really understand why all these men like you, it’s not like you’re that amazingly pretty! No wonder you have such good self-confidence!
I told her to retrace her steps and she would find the answer.

If you don’t like yourself, how can you expect other people to? Be yourself. If someone doesn't like you, being yourself...then why the hell would you want to be around that person anyway? I wish I could bottle self-esteem and hand it out. It’s tragic really!

That's the last I will ever say on this subject!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Damn vampires

The management office in my housing estate has handed out information sheets about Dengue Fever.
Symptoms include: fever, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite and pain in the back of the eye sockets.
I'm pretty sure I have Dengue Fever!

On the other hand, Hypochondria: fears to an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness, seem to fit too.

Well, I definitely have either one or the other - maybe even both.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why you not sit down fo?

I was at the Elton John concert yesterday.
As with any concert where the audience is Chinese and/or in the age range 30-50, it was a civilized “sit-down-in-your-seat-and-clap-your-hands” affair.

A few rows up from me though, a crowd of Gweilos started dancing already after the first few songs. A large group of uniformed men immediately surrounded the dancers, trying to get them to come to their senses and sit down.

The No-Fun Police were clearly visualizing an Elton John audience of lawyers and investment bankers turning into football-style hooligans, launching Molotov cocktails at the band during Your Song.
I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened!

Monday, May 19, 2008


This conversation took place Saturday morning:

- Paul, where's Mark?
- Who?
- Your brother.
- Which one?
- Is he not here?
- No...

-...did you lose your brother?
- Your brother has travelled half-way around the world to see you and you lose him in bar in Wan Chai.
- I didn't lose him
- Really?
- I just sort of misplaced him...

Hysterical laughter followed.
We found him eventually.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Insanity in a lunch box

Co-worker K and I couldn't decided what to have for lunch. It ended up being

Babaganosh from the Lebanese place
Sashimi from the Japanese place
A salad, some olives and baked goat cheese from the Italian place


Skittles from 7 Eleven's difficult eating while wearing a straight jacket!

Take 2 slices of toast, some butter, one cat...

My helper Juliet's English is a bit shaky. When she first started working for me, I used to write down a shopping list for her so she could ask people in the "market" (supermarket) what it was.

One morning I was rushing so I just told her she had to get cat sand for the litter box. She did look at me like she understood.

The morning after she said:

"Marie, so sorry. They don't have CAT SANDWICH in the market"

I'm not sure what surprised me more, that they didn't have it (being China after all) or that she didn't take it upon herself to make one.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Germ warfare

Yesterday all my co-workers went home sick. Today they are all back...still sick. It's like working in Germ Soup. Disgusting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back in third place!

My Mother told me today that they are thinking about going to Australia to see my brother in March.

Great, I said, then you can do a stop-over in Hong Kong.

Well, Mother replied...we talked about it, but we see so much of you as it is.


This confirms my suspicion that I have definitely fallen down the "favourite child" ladder. I was unbeatable for a while - married a boy she adores, bought a house in Sweden, great job, bought her presents etc. Now that I am "the divorced one" and with no grandchildren on the horizon, I am firmly back as favourite child number 3- overtaken by "Super Student" and "Golden Boy". Thank God my other sister is a lesbian and not likely rise above me in popularity!

Not much like a panther

My crazy Mother has a small but old poodle called Baghera. Baghera hasn't quite been himself lately, he's been shaking so much Mother thought he was having seizures.

A trip to the vet today, however, established that there is nothing physically wrong with him.

Pondering on what might be wrong, my Mother spent the afternoon studying his behaviour, and could then announce that she had spent Sek 1000 in vet bills because the poodle is scared of flies - he shakes like crazy every time one comes close (he has probably been stung by a bee recently)

I am glad my pets are not quite that deranged - if a fly or bug enters my flat it is either flattened, eaten or treated like a football.

Still the 2nd most pale Gweilo in HK!

I have been complaining for months about the lack of good beach weather. Monday I finally had my chance so I got up early, packed my beach bag and strolled down to Turtle Cove Beach, my "local".
About 10 min later I remembered that I actually don't like the beach at all. I hate getting sand everywhere, it's too hot, it's crowded and noisy...and I get really bored.

So this morning, as I am working late evenings again, I went down to the pool instead. I managed to just get comfortable when my phone went off informing me that the whole management team, bar me, are off work with the flu! So much for my lovely relaxing morning by the pool. I didn't even stay long enough to remember that I don't much care for sunbathing by the pool either...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Procrastination - be gone!

I finally made that phone call my mother has been on about for weeks. It took 20 seconds.
I also booked my flight home for June. I have been talking about that since March.

I feel like I have achieved things today!

Bring on the BANK HOLIDAY weekend I say. I'm home alone...with lots of good ideas for how to take advantage of this fact!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Sweden losing to Switzerland in Ice Hockey is about the same as:

-Meeting an Italian who doesn’t like football
-A Hong Kong bus driver slowing down to allow you to cross the street
-Marie saying: you know what, I don’t need another pair of shoes!

Highly unlikely, but it happens! I don’t want to talk about it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So...where do I sit?

Some weeks ago, my friend CH told me he was considering buying a sports car. I told him right away that he should absolutely without a shadow of a doubt put his hard-earned cash towards a prime example.

Single guys, with well-paid and demanding jobs DESERVE a sports car. There is no waiting around for the right time or right bonus – just go for it! Before you know it, you’ll be stuck with a crazy girlfriend that you’ll have to spend all your money on. Next there will be an expensive wedding, naturally followed by the need for a family car. You’ll end up getting your sports car at the height of your mid-life crisis along with that pathetic and desperate look that comes with it (probably also baldness!).

CH didn’t buy a sports car. Instead he is now committed to old girl Pépette, see below, whom he claims is more in his line with his current spirit. I have to admit that Pépette does have a great deal of charm. However, I am not sure if she will quite be able to deliver on that “mother of all car rides” that CH has promised me next time I visit Paris. Nevermind!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Boris wins

This weekend’s most interesting news is that Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London. Boris Johnson is like a mix between an overgrown child and a Feudal warlord stuck in the wrong century. He has proven himself capable of insulting entire nations in not so many words. I think he’s outstanding!

I thought you might enjoy some quotes:

For 10 years we in the Tory Party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing, and so it is with a happy amazement that we watch as the madness engulfs the Labour Party.

I'm having Sunday lunch with my family. I'm vigorously campaigning, inculcating my children in the benefits of a Tory government.

I don't see why people are so snooty about Channel 5. It has some respectable documentaries about the Second World War. It also devotes considerable airtime to investigations into lap dancing, and other related and vital subjects.

Nor do I propose to defend the right to talk on a mobile while driving a car, though I don't believe that is necessarily any more dangerous than the many other risky things that people do with their free hands while driving - nose-picking, reading the paper, studying the A-Z, beating the children, and so on.

I forgot that to rely on a train, in Blair's Britain, is to engage in a crapshoot with the devil

It is just flipping unbelievable. He is a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet. He is barely human in his elusiveness. Nailing Blair is like trying to pin jelly to a wall.

My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.

My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.

I can't remember what my line on drugs is. What's my line on drugs?

I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed so it didn't go up my nose. In fact, it may have been icing sugar.

And finally some things that has been said about Boris:

Boris was told to engage his brain before speaking in future. (after insulting the entire population of Liverpool)

He may seem like a lovable buffoon but you know he wouldn't hesitate to line you all up against a wall and have you shot

He's the sort of person who 200 years ago would have died aged 30 leading a cavalry charge into a volcano.

Boris Johnson, people always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is Boris a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Alea iacta est

It seemed silly to wait any longer when life has already moved on. The big D has been in process for some time and strangely enough telling the closer relatives was the hardest thing (immediate family has known since autumn time). Only one person left, I hate that I can't talk to her about this - my grandmother and best friend!