Sunday, May 31, 2015


I'm stuck in my apartment. Seriously, stuck. I, at the moment, am unfortunately job-challenged (my new PC term for unemployed) and I have NOTHING to do. It's awful and I just want it to be Tuesday everyday so I can leave and go to improv for 3 hours.

I can't complain about my apartment, really. I live alone in about 550 sq feet, which for a studio is pretty big.  I have a memory foam bed, a good-sized TV, a DISHWASHER - yeah, it's the life, man.  But I find myself dreaming of my apartment in Hong Kong.

When I had the glorious joy of living in Hong Kong for two months a couple of years ago, I wasn't exactly sure what my living situation would be like.  I knew I would have my own apartment, i.e. not sharing with anyone, but also knew space was at a premium and there likely wouldn't be many amenities.

Let me take you on a tour of my place. I'd take you on a visual tour, but it was so small it was literally impossible to get photographs of the apartment from any angle.  How small?  Oh, approximately 85 sq feet.  No, that's not missing a zero.  Have you ever been to Alcatraz?  Any prison?  (Am I the only damn person who tours prisons?? Is that weird??) Picture the cells.  Take the bars away and that, my friend, is approximately how big my "apartment" was.

It came with such luxurious amenities as an IKEA wardrobe with seven hangers, assuming that I would need no more than that.  Right next to the wardrobe was a tiny "desk" that fit a desk light, my 15lb laptop, and two charging phones - my iPhone, for use with the ever-present wifi around HK, and my local phone, which cost about 30 American dollars and was an exact replica of a Nokia I had in 2002.

About an inch to the right was my bed, which had drawers underneath and a mattress made of what I can only assume was granite.  If I plopped down on the bed too quickly, it actually hurt.  There was a small window whose only purpose was to provide a place for an AC unit, and in the few inches above the AC I could see that I was not only looking directly at a wall two feet in front of the window, but also one immediately to the right and  another a few feet to the left.  With all the lights from the windows and the city, I honestly was not able to tell if it was night or day, like ever.

At the foot of my bed, there was a small flat screen tv attached to the wall that played only three channels - one was news in Chinese, one was incredibly random nature programs in English and the last was 24 hour Cantonese opera.  I left it on that station a little too long when I was on muscle relaxers for my back a few weeks after I arrived, and it is like no sound you have ever heard.  Well maybe you have, but you don't want to.

The tv wall separated my bed from the bathroom, which was completely tiled, floor and walls, like a shower.  Likely because it WAS a shower, with a sink and toilet inside.  All three of those things were normal, except for the fact that there was a drain in the middle of the floor and you straight up showered over your fucking toilet.  You know your life is awesome if you store your shampoo and face wash on the top of the toilet tank and have to put your TP outside the bathroom as not to ruin it when you shower.

Complicating this further was the fact that no towels were provided.  The bed came fully made, so I didn't think to look before I showered and ended up having to towel off with the clothes I had just worn on a plane for 15 hours.  I promptly remedied that after dressing by going down the street to IKEA and picking up some $5 towels, which upon my return I realized were larger than hand towels, but not large enough to actually wrap around oneself as you tend to do post-shower.  Whatever, everything else was small.

Despite the size of the bathroom, they only put in a pedestal sink and had a small face mirror that was, get this, TOO TALL FOR ME TO SEE INTO.  Yes, this Hong Kong apartment had a mirror that a 5'5 westerner couldn't see into when I towered over most of the population by at least 4-5 inches.  That was, of course, the only mirror in the entire place.  So doing my makeup consisted of dumping all my products in the sink and standing on my tip toes to see, and doing my hair was pretty much by feel.

Oh, I forgot to mention!  I had my own (mini) fridge.  It held approximately 3 large bottles of water and two microwave meals (for use in the COMMUNITY MICROWAVE).  Above it was a small shelf with a hot-plate-like thing and a water boiler kettle, because you DEFINITELY wanted hot stuff before/after/during going outside or even thinking about going outside. That, and the instructions were in Chinese and I don't really trust myself with hot things that I DO know how to operate.

The best part was that if I got bored or hungry or needed anything at all, I could just walk outside and there it was.  Hungry?  The egg waffle man had a stand next to the apartment entrance.  Next to him you could get some sketchy noodles in a bag for 1 American dollar, which I did multiple times.  Turn the other way and BOOM you have heaven, which in Asia is known as 7/11.

7/11 in America is where you go for slurpees, lottery tickets and gunshot wounds.  7/11 in Asia is where you go to get SO MANY GLORIOUS THINGS.  Pineapple beer! Haagen Daas in weird flavors like taro and green tea but no fucking chocolate! Hello Panda! Pocky! Microwavable fried rice, noodles and dim sum! Gallons upon gallons of bottled, unsweetened oolong and jasmine tea! Hello Kitty bandaids! Pocari Sweat (Japanese Gatorade the color of soapy water, but tastes like regular Gatorade - not, fortunately, sweat)!

Across the street there was a park, there were hundreds of shops within a mile of me, fantastic Engrish hunting, Sasa - the cosmetics store of the gods... Here there's a gigantic park filled with children's soccer games and bouncy castles, a Burger King and, if I'm feeling super crazy, a Yogurtland three blocks away.  If I moved to another part of the city, I might live close to a bar or maybe a mall, but never EVERYTHING and never things that DON'T CLOSE.

The only thing I missed was having small furry animals to sleep with, and they'd likely be rather unhappy about the long flight. 

So yeah, get me the hell out of my house, PLEASE.  There's only so many times I can go to Starbucks to read or the mall to browse with no money.

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