I have borrowed today’s SCMP headline in this blog because I think it is rather appropriate. Su and I came out of yet another staycation today; and Su decided last minute to re-visit Mandarin Oriental because Four Seasons won’t offer much under such foul weather. Besides, their restaurants were all booked up and expensive.
The hotel put us up on a much higher floor and gave us a corner room with full view of the Hong Kong Club, Bank of America Tower, Conrad, BoC and HSBC. The Observatory was correct. It rained almost non-stop with thunderstorm and amber or red rain warnings most of the time, but we remained dry throughout, taking advantage of the subways and flyovers in Central. It was raining rather hard when we left, but the hotel staff waved down a taxi which took us back to Mei Foo unscratched and dry.
Our package included breakfast, afternoon tea and early evening cocktail which featured champagne, salads and enough meat so that we won’t need dinners. We had thought of re-visiting Aubrey, but Su found a good deal for beluga caviar at City Super on the second day which we consumed with self-brought champagne and cream cheese to our hearts’ delight.
By 8 pm each night we returned to our room and watched the light show which we missed when we were at ICC. On the first night, Su took some photos which she uploaded on Facebook while I was already fast asleep, having had too much bubblies. We visited the indoor pool which was not open during our last visit, but it was not a lot to write home about, certainly compared with the others, so we skipped it. But I had a decent gym session of about an hour each day, which I hope would help to burn off some calories from the indulgence.
The most conspicuous sight from our hotel window had to be the stripe of flashing lights on top of the BA Tower with running messages on the various financial markets, but in the past two days were interspersed with bold letters of thunderstorm warning or heavy rain. The plot of land to our left which went under the hammer for huge sums was waterlogged so that it looked like it was part of the waterfront. Everything looked rather fresh and clean after a heavy downpour and even City Hall looked clean and respectable.
We had the choice of having breakfast at the Club Floor, where we had cocktails, with less choices of food items but fewer guests and hence more privacy, or at Clipper Lounge where we had enjoyed the food and service last time. The choice was obvious; and breakfast became the staple of the day. I found myself gazing out of the window rather frequently enjoying the pitter patter outside. My thoughts invariably went back to rainy days from the past, notably when I used to be holding some books or lecture notes outside the HKU Main Library looking at the falling rain, or that long rainy month in June 1997, and other times. I also thought of the famous quote from Charlie Chaplin, “I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears” and the times I had done that, voluntarily or otherwise.
A few things happened recently, which I would like to share, lest I would not remember. First, our Rotary District held its 62nd District Conference about ten days ago. I was asked to take out a page of adverts which I did and I sent an image of my book for the page with the hope of creating more interest and sale. There was not even one taker. But Su used the occasion to send a post on Facebook which resulted in orders for two copies, one direct and one indirect. Earlier, Su had sold a copy at Mei Foo to Arthur whose wife, our Latin Dance classmate, had bought one, but on which Arthur had underlined and wrote extensively out of reading habits. So, Arthur insisted to buy a clean copy to replace his wife’s copy, which means that Su was responsible for increasing the sales volume by three recently. Not bad at all. Also related to the Conference, I was asked to introduce a Guest of Honour whom I had sort of known before. I did some research and tried to piece together some similarities between us, which attracted some laughters. Still on the Conference, I also met up a Paul Lau who was introduced to me as someone who could help me on dealings with the Building Authority. It turned out that we had met before. He had come to the Florist in January 2021 to buy the book. He had since finished the book and he said he liked it. I was pleased. The second thing I would like to record is also related to my autobiography. I had mentioned in the opening chapter that I had received a letter from my Mother with documentary evidences of my real date of birth, but which letter I had misplaced at the time I was writing the chapter. I had said in the book that I hoped the letter would re-surface sometime. Well, last week it did indeed. More precisely, Su found it amongst some old books or papers when she was trying to tidy up a bookshelf in the bedroom. My Mother had had the letter posted to me on 11 July 1993 when I was staying in a building called The Skyscraper on Tin Hau Temple Road. It certainly brought back a lot of memories. That would be another story. In the meantime, I need to decide how best to preserve the relic without having it laminated or something. There is perhaps a third thing I should mention, also related to my book. Last Monday, i.e., the evening before we went on staycation, I went to a meeting at Zetland Hall and met a very experienced and senior brother who had picked up the book last September at a Ladies Night as a table prize I had donated on the occasion. He told me that he had finished reading the whole thing and that he had enjoyed reading it. I was somewhat pleased again.