Friday, December 24, 2010


I watched Dinner for Schmucks on the plane from Toronto to Halifax. It's things like that which make you wish that the entertainment system had been broken for that flight too: it was an egregious, heart-sappingly awful lump of rubbish. (I read a multiple page review of Steve Carrell in the New Yorker that gushed about his prodigious talents a few months ago, that suggested Dinner for Schmucks would be the greatest comedy the world had ever seen. It is. If you laugh at a man mugging for an hour and a half. I mean, there's nothing wrong at laughing at people with mental deficiencies and social inadequacies - I enjoy sneering at those worse off than me as much as the next guy - but this was really, really unpalatable. Grindingly, unremittingly, tooth-rottingly bad stuff.)

The flight was only two-and-a-quarter hours late (the first plane wasn't in serviceable condition, the second had to be pulled out of a hangar and groomed before we could sit in it) but at least we were on the right side of the continent before midnight, and a quick collapse into bed and I was awake again on the 23rd of December (although that was perilously close to Christmas Eve, Hong Kong time), ready to wander the densely packed malls of Canada.

Although 'densely packed' for Canada consists of more than ten people in a square kilometre, so once again I had the feeling of agoraphobia that every trip outside of Hong Kong provides. I drank more disgusting Canadian coffee, stood in La Senza watching bored men standing around next to vast amounts of sexy underwear (it's odd how negligible their interest in negligee turns out to be) and then bought some clothes and a several-megacalorie cinnamon bun, before retreating in search of sleep.

In this, I didn't do so well; perhaps I had slept too much already. Luckily, family friends visited to fill me up with gin, cheese and pisco-something-or-other, a lethal concoction that arrives in a novelty-shaped bottle, which should have served as ample warning. This bottle was shaped like an Easter Island statue, and tasted like it had contributed to the Easter Islanders' extinction. Well, there was that, and the gin, and the further gin, and the extra gin my fiancee added to my glass when she was 'topping up the ice in my glass' and now I can't see straight or feel my fingers, so I'm going to stop and pass out. Ta ta for now.


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