So, as they've fervently been advertising in London, BA Terminal 5 seems to be working. But this is not a review of Terminal 5, or British Airways. After all, the last time I flew with BA, I had a terrible time! He kept on saying, "You crazy fool! I ain't getting on no plane!"
Apologies readers, for such weak humour is simply my way of dealing with the doom and gloom seeping out of the massive TV behind me. It's the news, and a Merrill Lynch analyst is talking about The Market like it is a portly, freshly plucked turkey that has waddled unexpectedly into kitchen full of chefs wondering what to cook on Christmas Day.
But luckily for me, I'm about to get respite from the collapse of Western civilisation. I'm off to the New Empire. The Far East. And from what I hear, the Dim Sum is fine this time of year.
Dozing and surfing
Dozing. 'Dozing' is a good word and one which I don't use often enough. Dozing is what I've been doing since my eyes popped open like two Champagne corks about half an hour ago. It's about two in the morning and, despite physical exhaustion, my mental self is up and snacking on canapes.
I switch on the TV and start surfing. CNN; Recession. Flick. CBS Late Show; David Letterman doing a sketch on the never-ending build up to the American elections. Flick. Tai Boxing; Kick Kick Punch Kick. Flinch. Flick.
A dragon appears and breaths out fluorescent fire. From out of the fire a young Chinese girl surfs through the flames. She lip curls off the fiery wave and lands in a '70s disco which is filled with dancing people dressed in sailors' outfits. They all stop dancing and shout something in unison. The screen begins to strobe between bright pink and yellow and a product appears which looks like a packet of mints. Ah, this is not a terrifying acid flash back, but a commercial. With relief, I flick on.
Dressed to die
I've always felt a bit trapped dressed in a suit, like a bird in a cage. Not the most majestic bird, mind you, like an eagle or even a parrot; more your garden variety budgie. Standing on the corner of a frantic street in the middle of Hong Kong Island in 70 percent humidity and 32? heat my feathers have gone past ruffled and are now just stuck to my body. My mind also feels frayed after a night of channel surfing and... dozing... and the surroundings aren't helping either.
Over-exposed buildings tower all around me, not so pretty now that they don't have their night-time 'face' on. The traffic lights beep frantically and endless streams of people pass by, very few of them dressed all in black.
I take a deep breath, straighten up, loosen my tie and begin my journey to mainland China for The Meeting.
Thank goodness for HSBC adverts. I remembered to pass and receive business cards with both hands. I didn't put my feet on the table, or finish off my entire eel; although the latter opportunity never really presented itself. As for the rest of the meeting, well, I have no idea what really went on. My reflection is interrupted by a very excitable cab driver with big hair and oversized, white-rimmed Jackie Onassis sunglasses.
Oil changing, anyone?
"You like my glasses?" He turns to me and asks. The car begins to veer off the road to the left.
"Yes," I say and surreptitiously lean to the right.
"They very cheap. Real fakes!" He announces proudly.
"Very nice", I affirm, "They go well with your hairstyle." I realise that we might be heading towards a conversation dead end as my hairstyle leaves little to be discussed, so I change tack.
"Where would you recommend going in Hong Kong?"
"Wan Chai! Wan Chai!" He shouts and laughs. "Men go there to get their oil changed!" He laughs maniacally and makes what must be an oil changing gesture with his hands.
Wan Chai is the lady (and lady boy) district of Hong Kong.
"Ah yes," I say, "But you can wake up and your car will belong to someone else."
I'm pleased that I made such an astute joke; however, the sudden lack of laughter suggests it didn't make it across the cultural barrier.
"I married with five kids, so I only go for massage," he says, slightly defensively. Perhaps my joke not only got lost in translation, but became offensive in the process.
"Great glasses," I say and slowly lean back into my seat.
Night is approaching and I watch as Hong Kong Island's polluted haze gets blasted away by the city's lights. We drive past a street lined with bars and pubs and white folk spilling out onto the street armed with booze, cigarettes and a flagrant disregard for the polite, restrained nuances of Chinese culture. This must be one of the many hotspots of Western debauchery.
"Driver!" I ask, "Can you drop me off here?"
I think it's time to meet up with my new friend, a cheerful beer called Tsing Tao.