Observations of a trade fair novice Or: too much blogging material:
I now have a ‘VIP Press pass,’ which you can guarantee I’m going to pull out at every occasion from now on and in any context.
The bed is large enough to fit six giant fluffy pillows across the top.
Every time I leave the room, I’m presented with little gifts, fruit baskets, puzzles, fresh towels and even an elaborate frame from their computer technician, by way of apology for not being able to connect my computer for a good 40 mins.
The other journos wear thigh-high stiletto boots, large gold dangly earrings, pancake makeup and giant patterned scarves pinned at the shoulder. Regardless of where they are from, they all speak French.
They have a Queen Bee, who is actually quite nice.
One of the editors wants to drag me to mainland China to observe the pearl factories. They are ‘upriver’.
Upon arrival at the fair, I noticed a 7-foot Chinese girl, missing, I’d say, most of her ribs and vital organs. Swathed in white silk and shimmering with diamonds, she was draped over a glass booth, pouting, having her photo taken. Jazz playing.
Then I was approached by an Indian man in a white jacket who seized me and began speaking in tongues. He told my fortune, did a sleight-of-hand magic trick, then tried to charge me HK$100. This I expect in the tourist areas of Bombay. Not near a woman with a chronic eating disorder sporting over $200,000 worth of sparklers.
When I tried to take photos of people ‘musing over the Design exhibit’ (as per my brief), I was stopped by irate security guards telling me I couldn’t take pictures. My press pass had no effect on them. Apparently the press cannot take pictures.
There is a brass band. It is stationed near the Media Centre. They like Beatles’ songs.
I overheard the following comment in the Italian Pavillion: “I don’t know if she’s had a car accident. I don’t know if her husband has left her. I don’t know if she’s lying in bed with a nervous breakdown. I don’t know if she’s dead!!”
Women in full purdah. Twin Sikhs. Five Chinese businessmen in a row, all with shaved heads.
I met the Aussie contingent – opal sellers from Lightning Ridge. They were dudes.
My internationally tried & proven method of making friends (catch someone’s eye, say: ‘how’s it goin’, and allow conversation to unfold) does not work in the Dragon Lounge. Perhaps everyone is too depressed by the tinned minestrone, handful of sandwiches and cold chicken drumsticks.
The 10-course banquet was as though the producers of Mean Girls has re-written it for an older demographic, and set it in a trade fair instead of a high school.
When our table did the group ‘cheers’ one of the Mean Girls piped up: “to new friends!” Another cried: “to journalism!!” Fact.
I spent the banquet stuck between a Russian girl who couldn’t understand my accent, and a Brazilian girl who didn’t want to.
One of the Mean Girls realised that although I don’t speak French I understand it quite clearly. She exclaimed, “Oooh! I’ll have to watch what I say then!” They stopped commentating after that.
Outside this madness, Hong Kong has these little trams that are about 3cm wide. You have to alter time and space to hop into one.
If you believed everyone here there are only two things to do in HK: walk up to the Peak and go shopping.
I ate eel fried in honey with Alix.