Day two here in Hong Kong and today we’re shifting hotels as G is now officially on holiday. We figured it would help her unwind if we switched to a different hotel – it means a change of scene and less people from her company to be sociable with.
My first day was eventful as no doubt constant readers who recall my trip to Paris could have predicted quite easily, personally I think the problem was I was primed for pigeons and gypsies not Indian Holy Men but there you go.
Anyway when last you left me I was preparing to go for a walk in order to get some air and see some of the harbour. This I duly did walking the famous Avenue of Stars. This was an unexpected delight as I didn’t know we were so close to it, there were a number of famous star’s handprints and I duly snapped the ones I like including Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat. There was also a really cool statue of Bruce Lee who was awarded the Hong Kong Star of the Century award – this was awesome and I was feeling pretty good about the world.
Maybe that’s why when the chap called to me I made the mistake of turning. Still turn I did and at that point the turbaned gentleman had me, at first I thought he was trying to sell me something but then it sounded more like a conversation. He wasn’t particularly untidy, nor did he seem dodgy as he engaged me in a conversation about luck.
Then it became apparent that he was trying to do some kind of reading, at this point he still sounded like he was just talking to me and I didn’t want to appear rude as in different countries people often have different perceptions of how much familiarity is ok. He said, without knowing anything about me, that I was too open and had a tendency to lose my temper, all true; he showed me a picture of an ancient holy man surrounded by teenage boys one of whom he claimed was him decades ago.
Then he asked for cash. Well demanded would be more accurate. At this point I was sufficiently entertained by the whole encounter to give him some. I thought I was done.
Oh no. He went on – I was not to cut my hair or nails on Tuesday and Saturdays, here was a stone I was to have, I would die at 89 surrounded by family, I would not be sick – I would just go in my sleep, etc, etc. Rather too much about death for my liking now that I think of it. Then he said did I want to be lucky and I said yes, what would I like luck in – I said writing (by this point too bored to lie), here was the holy man who at 105 was still alive and living in India, he would pray for me for 21 days – I said that was very kind, he would pray for me for 21 days if I gave this guy $1100.
I said – What the f***? How much?
Ok so it’s Hong Kong dollars but that’s still the best part of sixty quid plus the money I’d already given him. I said No. Politely. Then the guy proceeded to argue with me. So I showed him how right he was about my temper. Then I made my way swiftly back to the hotel where upon I locked myself in the room and ordered room service the rest of the day vowing not to leave again without G.
Neil = El Muppetino.