Ah Hong Kong, I have missed you….

So you know how I was saying how happy I was to be home? Actually I’m not sure I said that, but I was. Sure England and France will always be my real homes, but it’s nice to get back to my current home and to some sort of normality.

Part of said normality involves going down to our little local fruit and veg store every few days. It’s a ma and pa type store, the guys there all know me, and we always have a little chat in their broken English and my non-existent Cantonese.


Now to give you some context, a little while ago I went on a little fitness regime and got into semi decent shape. I came in once for some fruit wearing my hiking gear, and the woman who owns the shop threw her hands in the air and exclaimed “Oh! You so fit! Oh!! Very good!”

Naturally I was all smiles and fake modesty. (I wasn’t modest at all, I was damn chuffed is what I was. I may even have done a little mental dance of the go me, I’m so fit variety.)

Unfortunately the Chinese tendency to be frank/blunt cuts both ways.

When I went to the same shop after my little France trip, the same woman, *wait for it*, PATTED MY BELLY, and said “Oh! You put on weight! You quite fat!”

She said this with a big smile of course, and in a tone just as pleasant as the last time. Nothing bad meant by it, just an observation. You know, “isn’t it hot today, did you see the storm this morning, wow you’re fat”, sort of thing.

I mean it’s one thing to know that you’ve put on weight, it’s quite another to have it pointed out to you whilst having your spare tire patted! I would also love to know what the appropriate reaction is to having your fat patted by someone. In retrospect, maybe a belly dance would have been appropriate. As it was, I had nothing. I stood, frozen in embarrassment, whilst my wonderful husband did his best to muffle a snort of laughter, and the woman asked me what I wanted to buy.

So there you go, some people spend a fortune on scales that greet them by name, tell them how much weight they have gained or lost, give them an update on the weather and god knows what else. Well, I get that for free every time I go shopping. Silver linings and all…

Anyway, I’m going to brave the humidity and giant summer spiders and start hiking again. Seems I don’t have much of a choice. Wish me luck!

32 thoughts on “Ah Hong Kong, I have missed you….

  1. Ha ha ha ha – that’s hilarious. She calls ’em like she sees ’em, in Cantonese no less !!!

    Seriously I shouldn’t be laughing because I put on about 10 (ok maybe even 15) pounds last winter eating chocolate instead of working out because I was recovering from a bike accident. Now I can’t lose it and she would most definitely be patting my little jelly roll.

    Ahhh you look fit.
    Ohhhh you quite fat.

    I can just picture it *snort*


    • Hahaha, yeah she really does call ’em like she sees ’em. Do you know what, once my little ego recovered from that bruise, it was a great motivator to get me working out again rather than using all sorts of excuses (I need to write, it’s too hot, it looks like it’s about to rain), so I’m actually glad she said it.

      Hope you’re all recovered from your bike injury? I did my back in last summer and same, I gained a ton of weight from the comfort eating and sitting around. Injuries are really crap.
      Glad you’re biking again though, looks like you have some stunning trails in your neck of the woods, can’t think of a lovelier way to spend an afternoon (a nice walk would do the job too, although it seems you like to let golf get in the way ;-p )


      • Yeah, that darn golf ball game can muck up a girl’s life :-).

        I’m mostly recovered from my crash – fractured a vertebrae in my neck and a bone in my hand !! I was lucky I wasn’t killed or paralyzed. Both of those injuries healed ok: biggest problem is some jaw alignment issues, but I am almost done with that therapy. Fortunately (or is it unfortunately) it doesn’t keep me from eating chocolate 🙂

        Do you have recurring back problems or was it a onetime thing? Injuries definitely suck!


      • Oh my god, that’s amazing that you came out as you say without being paralyzed! I can’t imagine just how bad the recovery was. Really glad that you made it to the other side of that ok, I’m impressed that you’re even getting back on the bike, I think I would be too afraid but you’re absolutely right to get back on the horse – as it were.

        Definitely a bonus that it didn’t stop you eating chocolate – it is essential to the healing process 😉

        I’ve had recurring back problems since I was a teenager. A massive pain in the bum but nothing quite as bad as what you had to go through! Mine’s a walk in the part compared to you!


      • Sorry to hear about your chronic back problems. For me, the key is Pilates to keep my abdominal muscles strong. This last year I’ve been negligent with that and my “new poochy belly” and a few back twinges are the result. Now I’m committed to regaining that core strength!


      • Yes, I need to do some more pilates and yoga. It improved when I was doing regular yoga but then the place I went to moved (only maybe 15-20 min down the road) but when it’s as humid as it is here at the moment I just don’t have the motivation to go (so lazy).

        We should check in, in a couple of months and compare notes on our core strength progress 😉


      • That’s a good idea. We can keep each other motivated. Humidity definitely saps every ounce of energy. We’re dry here so I LOVE summer heat, but lose all motivation once winter cold comes!!

        Golf and sunshine today, though, so I will try to enjoy heat while I have it!


    • Yeah, I’m starting to get used to it, although that was a first! I do hear that the Taiwanese are lovely though, when I finally do get to explore I’m looking forward to discovering Taipei!


  2. Ooh, I’d be mortified! I’m sure people here will at least be *thinking* that about me after my trip to France. There are just too many delicious-sounding things there… But I’m sure you don’t really have much to worry about! In any case, welcome back to WP, tu m’as manqué!


    • Oh you shouldn’t let that get in the way of any kind of food enjoyment. I would eat it all again, even with the stranger patting my fat afterwards. Well worth it 😉

      And thank you for the welcome back, it’s been nice to be away and it’s lovely to be back! By the way I’ve gotten into the Yeah Write Speakeasy after reading your story about the flat tire – what a fun challenge, I’m glad I took part! So thank you for the indirect recommendation 😉


      • Oh don’t worry, I will be savoring every taste of the local cuisine in France, sans regret!
        I’m glad you like the speakeasy. I just decided to jump into that one, and their summer session looks great. It’s inspired me to try a bit more fiction and to try to shape up my writing skills this summer!
        Bon weekend à toi!


  3. Wow, awesome. Here I went to the trouble of buying a Fitbit to help motivate me, and all I had to do was move to Hong Kong! 😉 I really need to get into better shape, and one of the things I do is track how far I have walked compared to Frodo and Sam’s journey in Lord of the Rings. Of course, I’m not sure how motivating it is to finally reach MOUNT DOOM! Oh, well…


    • Oh my god that is epic! Sue, you have come up with the best form of workout motivation! Someone needs to create a workout gadget specially for LOTR geeks, I would do that in a heart beat…..


  4. That is a lovely little nugget! I have no idea what I would do if a stranger patted my fat (and I have it; three babies in as many years – and I married a CHEF!!!!). I know that my kids find me cuddly, and that chef of mine likes some aspects of my padding quite well…but a stranger….

    Now I want to hike, too!


    • Haha, yeah having a stranger pat one’s fat is an experience that I can now cross off my bucket list, and not one I care to repeat 😉

      Lucky you being married to a chef! You must eat so well although does he like to cook at home if he has to cook for work all day?


      • He does cook at home, sometimes. Mostly, he brings me dinner most nights he works. Sometimes, he’ll bring food for the kids, too, but they aren’t crazy about most of the food he makes at work.


    • Haha, I can only imagine! I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories, suffice to say, it’s important to be comfortable in one’s skin before going to China or it can be a nasty shock to the ego! 😉


  5. I actually laughed. 😆 This is the funniest testimony of Chinese culture I have yet to encounter. Congrats on the amazing post! You could do a one woman show with this. Premiere partie de Jamel or something.


    • Oh my DragonSpark, I’m so sorry I somehow completely missed your comment! Glad to have come across it now – so rude of me to leave you sans reply!

      Glad you found the post funny, took me a little while to see the funny side 😉 It’s one of those hilarious clashes of culture (once the bruised ego gets over it, haha!)


      • Haha lol. It’s not like we have somekind of obligation to reply. Besides, this comment had slipped from my thoughts too. 🙂 See you ’round Celine!


  6. Haha, this was great! I don’t think I would’ve reacted well to the belly fat check (I have personal space issues.) When I was pregnant, I stopped many eager touchers 🙂 It’s funny, where i live, people are more apt to comment on lost weight. It would be kind of nice if someone mentioned the weight creeping on. (I’ve got about 14 pounds left to lose, and I’m pretty sure they were easier to gain… many left over from having kids… even though that was eight years ago 🙂


    • In Europe (where I come from) it’s the same people will tend to comment if you’ve lost weight. A much easier observation to receive than weight gain comments! 😉
      And yes it’s so easy to gain weight isn’t it, sometimes I wish I had one of those issues where it’s difficult to gain weight, I just love eating! Life’s too short to deprive yourself in the name of reaching a certain number on the scales – that is until someone pats your fat and then you know it’s time to hit the gym again 😉

      I’ve had a few friends who were pregnant out in Hong Kong and they found that the Chinese had no qualms in coming up to them and touching their bumps – personal space is defined very differently out here! I’m with you though I like my personal space.


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