Staycation

It is amazing that four months had passed as if nothing had happened in between. Outside Hong Kong, apart from China, many cities and countries have started behaving as if the coronavirus had gone or had been dealt with. People in Europe and North America are no longer wearing masks, and so on. My friend Alexander took off for a few days to Dublin for some Scouts meetings with celebs and found himself the only person wearing masks. The worst deal he got afterwards was that he was tested positive at the Hong Kong airport after a long and tortuous flight back, which resulted in him being separated from his lovely wife – who was tested negative – who ended up staying alone in a posh quarantine hotel he had booked before he left. Life can be funny with people at times.

We had spent some nights in two of the better if not the best hotels in Hong Kong, on staycation, to mark our wedding anniversary and my birthday – April for us has always been a month for celebrations. It happens that many of our friends also have their birthdays in April too. Su had posted on the social media some photos of us sitting at dinner tables, which attracted a good following and many pleasant comments from generous friends, including some friends who don’t often frequent these pages or choose to announce their visits. Interesting. It could be another indication of the handphone habits of our friends.

I sometimes wonder why our friends would find time looking up our Facebook pages. Su had noticed that our friends in general prefer to see nice photos or scenes with a pleasant ambience; and she had actually used such threads to market my first memoir and was doing rather well, certainly way better than what I could have achieved by myself.

One of the things we enjoyed during Staycation was the long breakfast. I had tried to make the morning Mass at Ricci after the ban was lifted, so that we would normally have breakfast from 9 am or earlier. We noticed that many of the hotel guests at breakfast were rather young. There were not many people in business attires or having business conversations. We spotted one couple wearing hotel slippers to breakfast, which would have been unacceptable years ago. When we checked in at the last hotel, for example, Su was asked by the girl at the counter why we were staying for three nights, when most people apparently would only check in for one night, in response to the popular packages offered by the hotel. At both hotels, the management sent cakes and special greeting cards; and we were well pampered by the services in general, which we got used to rather easily.

We also enjoyed working out at the hotel gyms. Surprisingly, very few hotel guests used them. Maybe it was the time of the day we went. Su was also very impressed by the spacious and grandeur décor at the pool side bar which was open even though the pool wasn’t. The drinks were not cheap though. Su had brought along a few bottles of champagne and a bottle of malt whiskey. She also bought food and wine from nearby shops, so that we saved quite a bit eating and drinking inside our rooms rather than at the hotel restaurants.

Staycation was meant to enable people to do something different while staying away from home. In our case, we managed to spend more money than we would have staying at home or going away on trips. But we haven’t been eating out for a few months; and Su said she was a bit tired of all these cooking.

Now that cross family visits are allowed, we had organized the first home party last night for three young friends. They brought food and wine; and we had not met them for three to four months. We had a great time. We are going to have another one tonight, with some not so young friends. The next two Mondays being public holidays so that we would have two consecutive long weekends, we can expect more gatherings between families and friends. Let’s hope it would take the minds of Hong Kong people away from local and geopolitics a bit, while observing sensible social distancing.

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