Little Britain

Hong Kong is certainly not small, but in some ways this former British colony is still like a mini-UK. I spent a year living and working in London many years ago, and I've started having flashbacks in certain situations- not the least of which is as a pedestrian trying to remember which way to look before crossing the street. As in London, some crosswalks kindly have directions printed on the street such as "look right"- which is the direction you generally want to look in a country where people drive on the left-hand side of the road.

In exploring my neighborhood last week I came upon a British-style pub called Derby West, which oddly-enough had a menu that featured Italian food. On Sunday I returned to give the place a try- had an excellent spaghetti bolognese with a refreshing glass of Hoegaarden. I shall return!

Then yesterday one of my new friends (and gracious host), Dante, took me on what in Toronto could only be described as a jazz safari. I took my first trip across the water to the mainland from Hong Kong Island (going underneath it by subway) and visited the bustling neighbourhood of Tsim Shat Tsui. My first sight coming out of the subway was a local landmark- the largest mosque in Hong Kong. A beautiful sight in the fading light!

First we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Knutsford Terrace, a lovely little laneway jam-packed with restaurants of all nationalities and flavours.

Then we adjourned to a funky polynesian-themed lounge called Abebe to hear Dante's favourite singer in Hong Kong, Chillie.

Then we went to a very exclusive-feeling basement club called 001- the entryway is not labelled, there's just a black door with an overhead light. There we caught Dante's friends Michelle and Skip, a lovely jazz voice and guitar duo. As they warned us at the door, no photos or smoking allowed! We speculated that the no-photo policy might be because important men take mistresses here- it seemed like that kind of place.

A side-note regarding smoking- all clubs are officially non-smoking, but many do not stop customers from lighting up if they so choose. That's because it's the customer who gets fined, not the bar! It has been a shock to smell smoke even occasionally in a bar here, I'm really not accustomed to it at all anymore.

Well, that's your vicarious taste of Hong Kong life for this week! Stay tuned, next week is my birthday week so who knows what may happen... All the best,

J.

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