Monday, April 8, 2013


Catherine received a free pedometer for participating in a study that measures how far people walk in a day.  The goal is 10,000 steps and that is not for weight loss.  That is just steps for a healthy life style.  She let me borrow her unit for a practise run or two when I was in Montreal.  I decided I needed something like that to clip onto my belt for my trip – just to make sure that I am walking far enough every day.  I choose the economy model of all the Sport Check pedometer choices, but even that was so complicated to operate that I had to go next door and have Miranda show me how to work it.  I don’t need to know how many calories I am burning, nor how strong is my heart rate.  Nor do I need to have a stop watch that gives me timing to the 1/10 of a second.  Absolutely nothing I do has to be measured with that precision. Richard told me I can circumvent the system and get my stats up.   If I don’t walk far enough, I can just sit and shake the pedometer and it will think it is walking. 

My difficulties haven’t stopped with learning the initial operating techniques of the pedometer. For example, I have no idea how often a unit like that can slip off of a belt loop in a single hour.  I found myself on the floor of an airplane, doing a vacuum job in the dark, running my hand over the carpet, trying to find the dropped unit.  I lined up to get back in the bathroom of the plane to see if I had left it there.  And when I look down to see how the numbers are piling up as I walk these Hong Kong streets I find that I am up to 1200 steps, then down to 800.  Either I am accidentally resetting it, or I am imaging that the numbers are higher than they are when I look at the read-out.  Or maybe it is adding steps when I go north and subtracting them when I go south.  I haven’t figured it all out yet.

Tonight I wore it again, while Greg, Wyona and I went over to Oceanview Shopping Mall to order the take-out in his favorite Curry in a Hurry Shop.  “If I had an unlimited amount of money, what I would do is start a Curry in a Hurry Shop in my own neighbourhood,” he mused.  “I think it is a small business from which someone could make a go of it in Canada.”

Knowing that we do not possibly have enough time to try everything on the menu of each of the shops we want to eat, we ordered three different dishes tonight.  Then we did a three-way split on each of meals, giving us all the equivalent of a tasting menu that covers tasting 10 different dishes.

The window displays are fantastic here.  Sufficient to say that I stopped to watch the food demonstrations in restaurant windows 3 times.  The first was to watch the man at the Curry in a Hurry Shop shape the chapattis, then roll them out, toss them in the air like pizza dough and then plaster them against his brick oven.  The second demo was a cook making squid balls.  He poured a batter into a teflon-coated pan that had the shape of an egg carton. With his black wire chopsticks, he tossed into each egg-shaped impression a couple of pieces of chopped octypus and some onions, and waited until the half-cup shape was sufficiently browned that he could turn it over, letting the uncooked side sit in the egg-shaped depression next, until they were perfect ball shapes.  

“I am coming back to taste these.”

“You can come back, but I know that Greg will not do a split with you on that dish.  You are on your own,” Wyona said.  Whether we order a set of oyster balls  or not, that will be decided tomorrow.

On the way out of the shopping  mall we stopped to see a woman in the window of an Italian restaurant making noodles, flattening the dough by running it through a machine, then re-flouring, flattening, folding, then back through the machine, until it was as thin as paper.  Then she hand-cut the noodles and laid them out against the window pane for us to see.  She didn’t seem to notice our gaze until we were ready to leave.  Then she waved.

While Wyona and I spent the afternoon in bed, trying to control that deep ache in our bones that is called jet lag Greg had been walking the streets of Hong Kong, looking for “the silver shop under the stairs from 2001”.  Up Lock Street to Haiphong, over to Nathan Street and then down Cameron Street, lemming-like he went to a shop that is built under some stairs.  The place where the customers stand is also the passageway for the tenants who live on the floors above.  We moved sideways or slip out of the shop to give them access to their rooms. Then we stood again at his counter.  Once they got past us, the tenants walked around shopkeepers lunch pots, chopsticks and bowls on the landing so that they could climb up to their apartments.  His display cabinets showed his wares.  If I expressed an interest in a certain size of silver neck chain, from a set of rolled clothes behind him he rolled out hundreds of variations and sizes of those chains, organized on safety pins.  The evening spent there? A  lesson on economy of space.

Evening pedometer count: 1789 steps.  Unfortunately, not enough to burn off the Taj Mahal Chicken Curry and the Green Tea Waffle Soft Ice Cream Cone. 

Damage to pocket book by silver shop: yet to be determined.



  1. Hong Kong.

    I remember looking in store windows and seeing fruit I had never seen before let alone name.

    And I recall someone translating the name of a vegetable for me. Green vegetable.

    I can't guess what you are going to buy in the silver shop. Perhaps a pin to adorn your silver hair.

    Your hypothesis about N an S and pedometers made me laugh, as did the image of you kicking your leg to beat your target number of steps.

  2. Re: "green vegetable" which is the name given by the waiters to every new vegetable we asked about when we were in China with you. Yes, I am seeing more of green vegetable here. In fact it was the basis of one of the choices of food items at Curry in a Hurry. Just order #36 and you will get green vegetable.

    I was trying to tease out why that food court is so amazing. One reason might be that this is not the usual MacDonalds order form, you know, I will have #8. In one kiosk alone there might be 50 choices. I wonder if I am exaggerating. I didn't really count. Whatever the number is, multiply that by the number of ethnicities -- Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and then Sizzling Beet, Dim Sum ....

    No, I am not exaggerating, because the Dim Sum alone had so many bamboo boxes to choose from. As well, when Wyona asked her first question, "Do you speak English," the woman said yes. But when Wyona asked the next question, it was evident that there was no English spoken here, though the woman did put an English menu in her hands. "What is this," Wyona asked of one dish, golden, deep fried, and looking like ginger beef, but the wrong colour.

    The woman ran her index finger and forefinger quickly along the top of the glass.

    "Ah," said Wyona, "chicken feet. We will pass on that one."

  3. Next time you go walking Arta, take your camera with you.I don't know if you are typing from your room at 5:30 a.m. but that is what I am doing.Hong Kong is great but the jet lag sucks!

  4. Today while you are out Arta take a picture of your green tea soft ice cream cone.

  5. Re: green tea soft cream cone

    That is what they called it. No "ice" in there. And the comment is that it was a twisted cone, half white and half green. The white part tasted like the cream that was on the top of the milk that the milkman would deliver to the house in the 1940's. That thick, emulsified, top, the consistency of butter that would pop out of the top of the bottle when it was below zero and mother didn't bring the milk in fast enough. So now you have it -- the soft-cream part of the cone tasted like that. As for the green tea part -- I have yet to develop a taste for the flavour of green tea, but I didn't toss it in the trash can. I kept eating and thinking about the flavour. I am in Hong Kong and I am going to try anything that is new.