Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hong Kong Phooey, Part 3

Dumplings at the Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong.  Caleb can eat at least one whole one, and he especially loved the spoon in the kiddie set they gave him.  If you don't yet know the pleasures of a good xiao lung bao, please call me so we can arrange to have lunch at the Din Tai Fung in Arcadia.  Seriously.

Hong Kong - long known in Asia for making movies since the early 1930's, but probably best known in the west for its genre of cop movies in the 80's & 90's - has its own Avenue of the Stars along the waterfront in Kowloon.

Temple Street Night Market.  Every night, about a mile of Temple Street is closed for this market, which has little tented vendors selling everything from tchokes to knock-off clothes (I loved the Paul Frank pj shorts, in which the monkey is winking), to purses, baby clothes, golf bags, cell phone accessories... you name it, you can bargain for it here. 

There are also these little open-air "restaurants" (and I use that term loosely) where you can choose fresh seafood and watch them cook it in a wok right there on the street.  Seating is these little tables and kid stools.  It means you take turns eating while one of you holds the squirming baby (the aisles of the night market are too narrow for a stroller - Wil has strong arms), but on a warm night, the atmosphere of the crowded market, some spicy flash fried shrimp and a cold Tsing Tao feels like the essence of Hong Kong.

And lastly, this is why I now know what the inside of a hospital in Hong Kong looks like.  Two days before we left, CJ began running a low-grade fever.  We battled it with the Motrin I had brought with me for his teething, but it hoovered around the 100 degree mark, occasionally spiking as high as 102.5.  One night I wound up in a cool bath with him at 2am.  I was nervous about trying to get on a 12-hour flight home with him like this - in Hong Kong as you are leaving the airport, the last thing they do after you clear customs and immigration and are headed for a taxi/subway, is this: a man in scrubs and a paper face masks shoots your baby's forehead for his temperature before they let you out (hey, this is a country where SARS started, after all).

We couldn't get the fever down and I was running out of Motrin.  Apparently, ibuprofen is not sold over the counter in Hong Kong.  I didn't want to risk 1) not being let on the plane and 2) his fever spiking over 102 while on the plane, so we jumped in a taxi and headed to St. Theresa's, which is probably the nicest hospital I've ever been in (just in case you are ever in HK and need a good hospital!).

So that was the end of our trip.  He just wouldn't be my kid if we didn't get to tour the hospital too!

Hong Kong Phooey, Part 2

The view from Victoria Peak.  In the back you can see the Kowloon side of the harbour.  Unfortunately it was an overcast day when we went.  This is clearest picture I took.

We also took a short half-day trip to Macau, the "Las Vegas" of Asia.  Well, it started off as short, ended as long when the Turbo Jet bringing us back to Hong Kong stalled trying to get out of the dock.  We had to disembark and get crammed onto another Turbo Jet.  It was a long day and CJ was not happy, which resulted in some close-quarter screaming on the jet.  Only mildly horrifying.  This is the facade of St Peter's Cathedral.  Its actually all that remains of the original structure.

This is the view from the facade.  Its funky, you walk up this cobblestone lined street filled with shops and crowds of people, and all of a sudden at the top of the street, you are greeted by the base of the facade.

Caleb and his Great Grandmother.

This is the day the rest of my family left for Taiwan, and we had 2 more days alone in Hong Kong.  Everybody naps.

View of the Hong Kong side from the Kowloon harbour.  This is the same view from our hotel room, which is only slightly less overcast in real life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Its 3:48am

Day 2 of being home, and I cannot get to sleep.

I am actually thrilled, because it is 3:48am and this is the first night since we got home that da Bug has slept 4 hours in a row, when the sun is down.  Twenty minutes ago, I actually heard him stir, whine a bit, and then miraculously put himself back to sleep.  Oh Lord, please let him sleep another two hours!

But since I'm wide f-ing awake, I thought I might as well share some of our Hong Kong adventures.  After all, I only have to work tomorrow and try to acclimate a jet lagged baby... who needs sleep for me?!?!

This is CJ on the red-eye flight out, in his bassinet carrier.  If you are traveling with an infant under 30" and less than 45 lbs, you should definitely request the bulkhead seats with the bassinet.  Not only is there more leg room, but holding a child - sleeping or otherwise - during a flight of any duration is painful at best.  We acutally had enough room to sit him on the floor between us, allowing him to pull himself to standing and hang out with us.  Okay, I should have put a blanket on the floor, but hey... it was 15 1/2 hours.  You do whatcha gotta do.

This is a photo of my grandmother at the Pooi To Middle School back in the day.  She was the Assistant Principal, 4th from the right.  They recently razed and rebuilt the entire facility - this was the excuse reason for our trip - they were opening the new campus and had invited her for the ceremonies (she lives in LA with my mom).  At her retirement 40-odd years ago, they had given her a gold Bible, which she brought to give back to the school.

da Bug and his Great Grandma.  Did I mention she is 100? 

This is Lantau Island, home to a monastery and the largest Buddha statue in the world.  You take a cable car ride from the island up into the mountain to reach the monastery.  Yes, it sways in the wind.  Those buildings are actually apartments.  Like anthills.

I wasn't kidding when I said "in the world".  275 tons.  And as Wil will tell you... 313 steps from the base to the top (holding an 18 lb weight, no less).

Caleb is the Monkey King!

View from the feet of the Buddha.

Oh my, is that sleep I feel coming on....?  I guess this qualifies as Part 1...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Little Appreciation Goes A Long Way

I have worked with some real assholes.

This is going to be true of anyone in any profession.  There is no screening process, and one person's asshole is another's best friend.  Its just with all the inflated egos - justified or not - in my industry, there seem to be so many more of them.  And the fact that we transition from film to film and you may or may not see any of these people ever again make it more likely that you can be a douche bag and 1) you will never see these people again or 2) by the time you do, you'll both be farther along in your careers and will pretend like it never happened.

A few years ago, I worked on a really really really big movie.  Now, I've worked on movies of all sizes (hello, anyone see Southland Tales?  I hope not, we made it for a quarter and it sucked), and when we made this one, I knew it was big, but I really didn't think it was going to be biggest-box-office-of-all-time kind of big.  This movie was several years in the making, and while they continued to call me with a trickle of needs for almost 2 years, I was pretty much off this movie almost three years ago. 

In the last three months, I have received at least a few emails from the producer of the BIG movie.  If I never receive an email from a producer while we are shooting the movie, that is a good sign, you know?   I am low-man lost on the totem pole, there is no reason a producer should be emailing me.  But this producer has sent out a few emails to the entire crew of the BIG movie over the last few months, letting us know about its progress, even sending us a picture once when he and the director of the BIG movie took it to the troops in the Middle East.  In all of his emails, he continually repeats this sentiment: "this film would not have been possible without you... with my sincerest appreciation... thank you."

This is not something that happens often in my industry, at least not at this level.  You finish a movie, you move on, and maybe down the road you work with some of these crew members again, or even these producers again.  Maybe they remember you and maybe they don't.  You get a "thanks for a great show" and a handshake at the end and you go on to the next one or file for unemployement.

So it has been lovely and refreshing to receive these occasional emails from the BIG producer, even if I am only one of 4,000 people he has probably sent it to.  It has been nice to think that in the journey to great film-dom that the BIG movie has made, maybe this one producer really remembers that his laboring crew of transient carnies is the back that the BIG movie is built on. 

We received his last email today, on the eve of the Academy Awards, and it gave me a little hope, that maybe in the world of pretty, false pretenses we as a business create for the rest of the world, there still exists a little real magic.