Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mum's visit

My mum is on holiday here from Australia at the moment and we're having a great time. She's been here almost a week and she'll be leaving on Sunday evening.

One of my concerns about her trip was that she would get worried by my neighbourhood. It turns out that she's been fine despite a huge increase in dodgy stuff going on.

Here is a rundown on the excitement this week:

The Mah-jong parlour
Nancy told mum and I that it was triad problems that forced it to close a year and a half ago.
When it reopened a couple of months ago the owners paid off a whole load of triad groups but one particular group was left out. The group didn't take well to this and they were the ones who came and kicked down the door several weeks ago. It has remained closed since with a sign in Chinese which I'll have to ask someone to translate.

The cat (?) burgular
The night after mum arrived there was a huge drama in the street below the bathroom window. There was over ten police officers with multiple bikes and they had closed off a small alleyway. Some of them were wearing helmets and it looked very serious.

Along with the police, a large crowd of people amassed along with several photographers. Nancy had disappeared inside her stairway when the police came, only to be seen scurrying across the road after about five minutes.

I called down to Daisy to find out what was happening and she told me that someone had fell from the building into the alleyway. After several minutes an ambulance arrived and took someone away on a stretcher.

At first I thought it must have been suicide but the next day Nancy told me that there have been several cases of theft in that building with people climbing up from the wall adjacent to the alleyway. Everyone seemed to think it most likely that a robber had fell.

Anyway, since no one heard anyting either in the news or in local gossip it was concluded that the victim must can not have died and also can not have been a resident of the building.

A hawker accident
Only two days after the fall from the building, nearby Shanghai St was full of a crowd of people and police, also visible from the bathroom window. I went downstairs and Daisy told me that an illegal hawker (street vendor) had been running from the 'Hawker Patrol' officers and had ran straight onto Shanghai St in front of a bus. She's well known to everyone and it was good to find out that she's also still alive.

Check your head
One of Nancy's girls has left her employment and the ladies who wander Shanghai St are starting to encroach on Nancy's territory in the hope of catching some of her disappointed regular customers.

Last night on the way home from the supermarket (at 11pm!) I sat down on my 2.5 kg tin of milk powder to chat with Nancy. While I was sitting there, one of the Shanghai St ladies started doing laps up and down the pavement we were on. Finally Nancy asked her what she wanted. She pointed at a doctor's sign behind Nancy and feebly said 'I wanted to see the doctor'. Nancy glared at her and growled 'You want to see your head! Get lost!'.

I learnt some new Cantonese!