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My dad recently came to visit my partner and I in Hong Kong. Mom stayed at home because she’s claustrophobic and scared of flying. You would be too if you had been in a commercial plane crash landing and an elevator accident. She’s fine on four or five hour hops but anything longer than that and she starts to stare at the exit door longingly.

Dad arrived earlier than anticipated. I felt like a bad son when I realized he had been waiting for me just outside of customs. I’d actually arrived an hour early but was killing time at an airport bar. Typical. I grabbed Dad’s suitcase and we jumped in a taxi. I could tell that he was very happy to see me and very excited to be in Asia for the first time. After over seven years in the Far East, I just couldn’t move to London without insisting he come to visit me. He’d already been to South America and Africa. I wanted him to step foot on the Asian continent too.

But what to do? You can’t exactly go bar hoping with dad. Besides, I don’t go bar hopping anymore. That ship has sailed. I of course was prepared with my own list of what to do.

Top Ten:

1. Star Ferry: This is a no brainer. In a city with countless ferry rides going every which way including the Chinese mainland and Macau, this is the classic journey. In under ten minutes you make the trip from Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon Peninsula. It’s like going from Manhattan to Brooklyn but on a grander scale. When your dad is back home watching a travel program on TV, he’ll smile and say, “I did that”.

2. The Peak: Another no brainer. It’s arguably the best vantage point from which to view Hong Kong. Spectacular! From the skyscrapers of Hong Kong to the skyscrapers of Kowloon, the harbor that separates them and the green hills and mountains that surround them. Just try not to go on a foggy day. You won’t see squat. Unfortunately, it was foggy and rainy during my dad’s entire visit. I took him up to the peak anyway, showed him a picture of what he would be viewing had a cloud not descended from the sky. Incidentally, you don’t have to go to the tourist trap Peak Gallery to view the skyline. There are parks and trails with equally impressive vistas of the city up there.

3. Kowloon Public Pier: Another vantage point from with to take in this amazing city. You’ve seen it from the top of the peak on the Hong Kong side, now see it from ground level on the Kowloon side. If the peak offers a more gestalt overview, the pier offers a more immediate engagement with the city. You feel the pulse, see the ferries, hear the crowds, the noise.

4. Mid-level escalators: Only in Hong Kong would an open air escalator be a tourist draw. It’s funny because when we first arrived, I thought this “ride” was pretty cool. It is the longest outdoor escalator ride (it is divided into many sections) in the world. But as a resident of Hong Kong, the novelty quickly faded. I regard the escalators as nothing more than a way to get from point A to point B. Only when we have visitors and I’m taking them around town do I think, “Wow, this is really cool”.

5. The markets: The outdoor markets are part of life in Hong Kong. Some are touristy (the night market), some are not (in and around Gough Street), and some are stinky (Des Voeux Street West Dried Seafood street). There are many markets where locals pick up fresh produce, flowers, meat, etc. I recommend the one in Wanchai, although the one around Gough Street is more scenic. Cat Street is a great place to shop for novelty items in an outdoor setting. If you want to buy legitimate antiques though, just walk up the stairs from Cat Street to Hollywood Road West. While not technically a market, this patch of Hollywood Road offers a number of upscale shops and art galleries.

The second half of the list is more personal. Yes, Hong Kong is an exciting place to visit, but it’s not exactly teaming with world class museums and world renowned parks. You have to tailor the experience for the guest. In this case, my dad was game for anything I wanted to do, so I took him to the places that I like to frequent.

6. The Peninsula Hotel: Worthy of every accolade, this grand hotel never fails to live up to its praise, especially at Christmas when a gorgeous tree, meticulously adorned, graces the historic lobby. You can have high tea here but I recommend after dinner drinks. While the martinis might not be the coldest or biggest in Hong Kong, the handsome interior of this gorgeous lobby filled with live jazz will whisk you back to another time. Skip the Felix bar and restaurant up top. It’s overhyped and touristy. The main lobby is where you want to be.

7. Morton’s Steakhouse: This is where we go before a nightcap at the Peninsula next door. You might think it’s odd that a vegetarian would be promoting a steakhouse. Think again. This vegetarian enjoys crisp salads, delicious sides and the biggest, coldest martinis in Hong Kong. And on top of that, you get a view of the harbor from the wall of windows in this fourth floor restaurant. Make reservations in advance, request a table by the window and dazzle your guests with the nightly 8:00pm light show over Hong Kong harbor. Is it cheesy? Yes. But all the main buildings in town participate and the show lasts for fifteen minutes. You can be a kid again. A kid with a very cold, dry martini.

8. Shopping malls: Hong Kong used to be known as the place to go for cheap designer knockoffs. Those days are long gone. Today, monied mainland Chinese tourists take shopping holidays in Hong Kong. They spend three to seven days sprinting from high-end shop to high-end shop, dropping loads of cash in the process. I recommend Elements in Kowloon, or my personal favorite, Pacific Place in Hong Kong–the “old” standby newly and tastefully remodelled. After a day of shopping, I suggest a late afternoon cocktail in the main bar of The Upper House hotel for gorgeous views high above the city. Chic and minimalist, this place oozes no-nonsense sophistication.

9. Stanley: On the opposite side of Hong Kong Island sits a former fishing village that is now home to a number of expat families, as well as heaps of tourist and local friendly bars and restaurants. A taxi will get you there faster but I recommend the Number Six bus. Take your guests up to the second level and try to get a seat up front. It’s Hong Kong’s version of a Disney ride. You’ll leave Central Hong Kong and climb up the green mountain, skyscrapers below, before slowly descending into Stanley, gorgeous vistas everywhere you turn, high-end condos perched along the sides of mountains.

10. Macau: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Macau as a Hong Kong asset. More than just the Las Vegas of Asia, this place offers a unique blend of East and West, Portuguese and Chinese. Sure, you can gamble at night if that’s your thing but I highly recommend grabbing a map and visiting the historic sights of this amazing city. Everyone loves Fernando’s restaurant, but I’d also include a dinner at Club Militar. Good food, great setting. And nothing beats The Wynn casino. Big and vibrant yet classy and sophisticated. Oh and the casino’s Cinnebar makes a mean martini.

We’re supposed to leave Hong Kong in the next few months. I’ll miss this place, definitely more than I missed Tokyo. But who knows? We could find ourselves living here again sometime in the future. Life is a adventure. Live it.


I love Macau. Everyone who knows me knows this. An hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong, I can literally wake up in the morning, go about my day, decide that I want to have lunch in Macau, grab my passport, and in less than two hours, I’m seated in the lovely dining hall of the colonial gem that is Club Militar, glass of red wine in hand, delicious Serra cheese on the table.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in China. Inspired by trade, they set up shop on what is now the peninsula of Macau and began a long and often combative relationship with their landlord. If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend A Macau Narrative by Austin Coates. Reads like a real life version of One Hundred Years of Solitude. A comedy of errors really. But what a comedy!

I go to Macau about once every six weeks. Sometimes I go alone, occasionally with friends, always with visiting friends, but mostly I go with my partner. In the beginning, he was happy to go along. Then it became, “We always go to Macau. I want to spend weekends visiting other places in Asia. Why do we always have to Macau?”

I ignored him of course.

Obviously, we spend a few days or longer at other Asian destinations. But we always go back to Macau. Go back for the relative calm of its cobblestone streets, its centuries old churches, its ancient Buddhist temples, its grand colonial buildings, its glitzy casinos, and its secluded beaches. But mostly, we go back for the food.

The Portuguese had to sail around Africa, India and Southeast Asia to make it to Macau. That’s a lot of spice they brought with them. Mix that in with Chinese cuisine and you get one exotic wallop. Macanese cuisine is fusion cuisine, and was so long before “fusion cuisine” was made hip by modern chefs. African chicken, coconut curry crab, clams bathed in garlic and cumin, cod so soft it slides off the fork, slow-roasted pork. And that’s just what I can’t eat.

As a vegetarian, people often think that I miss out on all the fun. Sometimes they’re right. Not in Macau. Just typing the words “Portuguese cheese” makes my stomach growl. Egg tarts, flan, egg custard, samosas, butter rice, steamed veggies in garlic broth and herbs, and this amazing bread that is a bit more doughy than a traditional baguette and even more delicious.

At A Petisqueria, our favorite restaurant in Macau, they even have this rich and oh so spicy red chili sauce you can use to drip on your meals. I drip it on my bread and cheese, snap into a fetal position and melt onto the floor. And don’t let me get started on Macau tomatoes. I know what you’re thinking, but trust me. Especially at Fernando’s in Coloane near the beach, the tomatoes are amazing.

If you’re a lush like me, you’ll enjoy “learning” about and “discovering” all the wonders of Portuguese wine. The ports too. In fact, there is a wine museum–one of the many museums in Macau. We went there last weekend. A drunken Filipino poured my tasting selection. He asked me where I was from. And when I said I was American but that I lived in Hong Kong, he said, “No, like you know: Chinese, Indian, Portuguese…”

And that’s one of the things I also like about Macau, there is a lot of blending in its people. Sure, it’s mostly Chinese. And there is a small, active and very proud Portuguese community. But there are many Eurasians. How could there not be after over 400 years of Portuguese rule? As a Mexican with Spanish, indigenous (Aztec/Mayan) and German blood, I look like I could be from a number of different places. I get some mix of Chinese, Italian, Filipino, Middle-Eastern all the time. You should see how much fun I have at airports back in the US! In Macau, I fit right in.

Then, there is the main reason people visit Macau. Gambling. I’m not a big gambler but I do like to play roulette now and then. My partner prefers blackjack. We cap off most nights in the city with a visit to one of the many casinos, The Wynn being our favorite. I usually watch my partner gamble while I keep the vodka coming. Chinese gamblers don’t like to drink alcohol when they play, only coffee or tea. So you have to flag down a waitress to special order a drink.

Lastly, there are the hotels and resorts. Most big name casinos operate their own hotels, but there are a number of hotels, both big and small, that are not in the gaming business. We tend to stay at those establishments. As I said, I’m not a big gambler, so it’s not important for me to have a casino downstairs (nearby, but not downstairs). I prefer a morning at the gym and a noon spa treatment followed by an afternoon margarita by the pool. Lately, we’ve been staying at both the newish Mandarin Oriental and its sister property, the old Mandarin Oriental, now called The Grand Lapa. Neither one runs a casino, but there is one a short walk away. The MGM and The Wynn for the Mandarin Oriental, The Sands for the Grand Lapa.

I’m always a bit sad when I step on to the ferry that will take me back to Hong Kong. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hong Kong. I just love Macau.

Earlier this week, Wendi Murdoch went from slouching, leg-crossing, miss-matched yawner to kung fu, kick ass, take charge master.

“Hands off my meal ticket, asshole!!!”

You’ve got to hand it to Wendi. Putting up with Rupert can’t be easy. I have a hard time just watching Murdoch on TV. His jowls, those wrinkles and that evil Donald Duck as Mr. Scrooge impersonation. Poor Wendi has to see him naked!

Of course, I use the word “poor” loosely. Given that Rupert resembles a Shar Pei, I guess it’s only fitting that Wendi love him. Like Wendi, those dogs come from China. But what exactly does Wendi love about Scrooge McDuck?

It’s easy to call Wendi a gold digger, a trollop, a tramp. I mean, she paid back the couple that first sponsored her visa to America by breaking up their marriage and then marrying the husband. Later, when she saw that there were other, bigger, wealthier fish in the sea, she put herself back on the market like a good Capitalist and traded up. She’s no dummy.

I remember reading in Vanity Fair a while back about Wendi getting Rupert to include her children with him as heirs to the News Corp fortune. This after Rupert agreed with his ex-wife that in lieu of an ugly and costly divorce, he just split the empire between the three children that they had together and the other child from a previous marriage. Rupert has been married three times. What a dog! I mean Shar Pei.

Wendi is a Chinese immigrant with a green card and a Birkin. Rupert is a naturalized American citizen from Australia with an empire and an attitude. Theirs was a love story that could only happen in America. One where merciless, immoral media moguls marry social-climbing home wreckers.

Still, it can’t be easy for Wendi. I imagine Rupert’s bald head tastes like a peanut. Can you imagine what the rest of him must taste like? Wendi just pretends she’s sucking on a log roll, one that will soon die and leave her with two young heirs, four bumbling adult step-children and one aging ex-wife.

Wendi, your limo is waiting.

In light of recent events, I’ve started to question my no kids policy. Sandy Bullock looks so joyful on the cover of People Magazine. Very Roots that photo. And Angelina Jolie is one smart cookie. If Brad left her now, he’d be the biggest asshole on the planet. That poo poo platter of kids she’s got has bought her some insurance, a Don’t You Dare Leave My Tattooed Ass policy.

With all the horrific tragedies–earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods, Sarah Palin–it’s easy to come to the conclusion that now is not the time to be procreating. But as I’m gay and partnered, it would be impossible for me to have a child the old fashioned way. And since there are literally millions of unwanted African babies from Malawi to Madagascar, I might as well pick one out before black babies go out of fashion.

You might think that as a Latino, I would prefer a Guatemalan or Bolivian baby. But you’d be wrong. My partner is white and he often says that one brown person in the family is enough. Bastard. I haven’t thrown a dish in months!!! And I swear, those bodies will never be found.

A white kid is out of the question. There aren’t as many of those and they’re so unfashionable, the Wall-Mart of adoptable babies.

As we live in Hong Kong, an Asian baby would be too obvious. Besides, I wouldn’t want anyone on the sidewalk mistaking me for a male nanny, especially if I had to beat the kid with my shoe. I’d be arrested.

No, only a black baby would do.

We’d be the Benetton ad of adoption: A gay Latino and white couple living in China with a black baby. Hell, Oprah probably has my number on speed dial and is just waiting for me to choose a child.

Oprah: How hard was it for you to make the decision to adopt an blind, armless, autistic Ethiopian girl?

Me: Oh well, Oprah, you know, I have a lot of love to give. I’m a lucky man in a loving relationship with a great guy. It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.

I bask in the glory of my own saint-like selflessness as the audiences rises to its feet and applauds. Oprah wipes a tear from her cheek and pats my shoulder.

Your turn, Madonna.

I told everyone years ago that Senorita Ricky Martin would come out of the closet when he was a has-been, a footnote, a Trivial Pursuit question. We’d all respond with shrugs, smirks and rolled-eyes.

“Ay Dios. So Papi like salami. Que sorpresa.”

He could have done this at the height of his fame, just after his last big hit, “She Bangs”. I mean, who didn’t think it was going to go downhill after that rancid turd hit the airwaves. It should have been called, “He sucks.” Which let me tell you, is truer now more than ever.

And what’s up with that “fortunate homosexual” statement? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

“I jus a’want to say, to all my fans, all five of jew, dat I am a fabulo–I mean a’fortunate homosexual. I still e’look good and I have dees two a’lily white shildren. Yes, es un milagro.”

What’s he want to be with those J-Crew Catalog kids anyway? The new Michael Jackson?

I hope he doesn’t think the “gay community” is going to throw its arms around his sorry ass. That would be a miracle.

Let’s hope Anderson Cooper and Gerard Butler are taking notes. Come out on top boys. Not at the bottom–unless the bottom is where you like to be.

Thank God we get The Joy Behar Show in Hong Kong. Thank God the show is aired at a time I’m free to watch. And thank God, he cured Ted Haggard of his homosexuality. The thought of Haggard grimacing with his big hippo mouth as he’s plowed from behind is enough to make even me turn straight.

I’m glad Joy has people like the Haggards on her show. It’s too easy and unfair to dismiss people like them as stupid, pathetic and hypocritical. I actually found myself liking Gayle Haggard when she first appeared on Joy’s show a couple of weeks ago.

Do I agree that her husband was cured of his homosexuality? Of course not. Do I think she’s dilusional? You bet. Do I think she’s pathetic? Surprisingly no. Gayle is a sympathetic character and not so obviously brain-dead like Sarah Palin. She’s a woman in love with her gay husband. That’s not pathetic. That’s sad.

For his part, Ted Haggard did the best he could under the circumstances. He must have known that Joy didn’t give two Elisabitch Hasselsnatches about his advice to Tiger Woods. She was more interested in discussing his own transgressions. But he, like his wife, is dilusional.

I honestly think the two of them really believe what they say: that you can be cured of homosexuality, that it’s a product of sexual molestation as a child, that you can choose to align your sexual orientation with your spiritual values. Now, THAT, that’s just stupid.

When I first started teaching fifteen years ago, kids didn’t label something dumb as gay, or call someone annoying a retard. Back then, they said fag or faggot.

An idealistic newbie from a liberal university at the height of the politically correct movement, I forbade the use of either slur outside my classroom, in the hallway, gymnasium or wherever I happened to be on school grounds. I told my kids that I equated both slurs with the N-word or the S-word (spic). Most of my kids were brown like me, so they got it. They respected me for it. No one should be put down for who they are.

In 2010, most students understand that using the word fag or faggot to make fun of someone is not cool. You only make yourself look bad.

When I left New York for Asia six years ago, the words “retard” and “gay” were becoming popular among students. There were a few incoming freshman at the university I worked at that would use these terms. I’d always tell them the same thing.

“I have a retarded brother.”

“Sorry.” They’d say.

“My sister is gay.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.” They’d say.

I’d then tell them that I didn’t have a mentally disabled brother, but what if I did?

I’d tell them that my sister wasn’t gay, but that I was.

In ten or fifteen years, I don’t think we’ll hear the words gay or retard thrown around as much. Thank God. Making fun of someone because they were born black, brown, gay or with Down Syndrome is low and inappropriate.

Making fun of someone for something that can be helped, like being an ignorant, incurious embarrassment ala Sarah Palin is fine–so long as the jokes don’t pertain to her being a woman. She was born that way. I refuse to believe she was born a dumbass.

Tiger Woods could, would and did. Not once, not twice, but several times and with numerous ladies.

Now, I’m not a Tiger Woods fan for the same reason I’m not an Andy Roddick fan. Someone that intense and serious just has to be a prick in real life. And from what I’ve heard and read, Tiger is an enormous penis. Hard to talk to, difficult to read, tough to get to, he’s an intensely private man. Unless, that is, you’re a classic bimbo.

Rachel Uchitel and the other mistresses are classic bimbos in the Hollywood sense. They’re tall, long-haired, collagen-injected walking sticks. They look fake, are fake and act fake.

Last week, my Spanish conversation teacher asked me if I thought the rumors about Tiger Woods were true. I said yes. People tend to have a type. Michael Jackson preferred Latino boys, Jennifer Aniston prefers emotionally unavailable men and Tiger Woods likes “blond” bimbos. I guess that’s OK because Tiger isn’t really “black.” Remember that awful answer he gave Oprah when she asked him how he thought of himself? You ask me that question and I’ll tell you, “Brown, pink and green, Baby!”

But I digress.

This morning after my Spanish lesson, my teacher again brought up the subject of Tiger Woods. I said, “You see! I told you he did it.”

She replied that she thought Tiger might have a sickness. “He’s married, jew no, to hees wife, and zey have two daughters. Ten women in two jeers. Dats like some sickness, no?”

I smiled, sipped my cappuccino and recalled my college years. If Tiger had a sickness, then I needed to be put down back then.

Tiger is just another asshole sports god who likes to get laid. Where’s the news in that?

Carly Simon is broke. Yes, broke. After losing money in unwise investments (Madoff?), and taking on too much debt, the Simon and Schuster heiress finds herself in the poor house–two of them. One a West Village townhouse, the other a beach pad on Cape Cod. We should all be that destitute.

I remember, years ago, the first time I moved to New York, when the then mayor was cracking down on rent-controlled and rent-stabilized abusers. Mia Farrow and Carly Simon cried foul from their below-market price apartments with fabulous views of the park and hardwood floors.

“We can’t afford to live in New York now!!!” They wailed.

“Really?” I thought in the cramped living room of my illegal sublet. True, it was in Tribeca, but I had to run past the doorman on my way through the lobby. Bitchy queen loved to give me hell. Thankfully, he was Puerto Rican, so I’d just throw him something shiny or point out a studly black man and make a break for the elevators while his attention was diverted.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Carly Simon fan (Mia Farrow too–go rent Alice and see why). I have many of her hits and misses on my iPod. Nobody Does it Better is arguably the best Bond song ever. Really sums it up. You’re So Vain? Great song and I’m pretty sure it’s about Warren Beatty. My personal favorite is Loving You is the Right Thing to Do. Such a happy 70s love ballad.

And while I’d love to have a Simon sighting while walking down Christopher Street, I’m not very sympathetic to her plight. She says Starbucks didn’t promote her album enough. I got news for her. Everyone just listens to whatever CD they’re hawking while sipping their lattes. The don’t buy.

Poor Ms. Simon says Daddy only gave her a mere pittance, $60,000 in fact, and that she wasn’t an heiress like so many people claim.

$60,000 may be a mere pittance when you’re an heiress, but if you’re black or brown and in living in some man-made hell-hole, $60,000 is a lot of dough.

Carly should just ask her ex-husband, James Taylor, for the money she needs to help keep her afloat. Maybe she’s too vain? But if she hasn’t got time for the pain, I’m sure Mr. Taylor will lend a helping hand.

Come and play! Everything’s A-OK!!!

Harmony among the monsters and people. Neighbors looking after (and spying on) one another, Oscar the Grouch as a lovable homeless “person” living in a trashcan. Of course Sesame Street is populated by lefties and their POX News hating monsters. There is no question the program promotes fairness, tolerance and a homosexual agenda. Ernie and Burt for Christ’s sake! You even know who the bottom is in that relationship.

Can you imagine if Sesame Street had been conceived by the religious right? Conservatives? Sarah Palin!!??

First of all, it would be set in the suburbs of some second-tier Southern city. Big Bird would wear Brooks Brothers and drive an SUV. Oscar the Grouch would be his illegal Mexican gardener. Elmo would have Down Syndrome (which would explain a lot actually) and Grover would take him to church and sit righteously with him up front, basking in the glow of his selflessness while the Cookie Monster looked on in admiration and thought, “He could have had Mrs. Grover abort him, but no. He had the little guy.”

Elmo would be slobbering into a high Mrs. Grover’s Sunday best. She would be smashed on the Oxycontin she takes to deaden herself to the pain of an abusive spouse and a dead-end life. Grover drinks, you know. Beats his poor wife near and far.

Ernie and Burt would be married, but not to each other. They would exchange knowing glances at the gym, toweling off vigorously before going home to their “loving” muppets. Sure, Burt would take his own life after The Count threatened to go public with their affair. But Ernie wouldn’t be so lucky, enduring a lifetime of ice cream socials and company picnics until the day, Rolf, a drunken pianist from a visiting town, plows his sedan into Ernie’s Corolla. At least the end was quick.

No, my friends. A right-wing Sesame street would be no picnic indeed. A Boulevard of Broken Dreams.