1. The green walking man at the pedestrian crossings, who – as JP has accurately observed – looks as if he is pleasuring himself from both ends.
(To help you visualise this, please imagine someone pulling a small hand towel backwards and forwards between their legs. Got that? OK, now remove the towel.)
2. The restaurant on Monday lunchtime, where the waitress wordlessly snatched my napkin out of my lap, crossed over to the other side of the table, and placed it on my colleague’s empty lap. Cue fits of helpless, hysterical laughter. But that might have been the jetlag.
3. The cake shop on the walk to work. (Not the original boring walk to work, past all the huge stores – but the alternative route, along the smaller street, past all the dinky little shops. Humbler, more varied, more chaotic, more “typically Chinese”.) You have never seen such surreal icing jobs; I particularly love the spiky brown monsters.
Memo to self: take photos of cake shop. Memo to readers: don’t let him leave without photographing the cake shop.
4. The “Chinglish” menus, whose attempts to describe the dishes merely add to the confusion. Secretly Prepared Yellow Croakers, anyone?
(There are probably whole web sites devoted to this sort of stuff, so I shan’t dwell.)
5. The moment in The Shamrock (Irish pub and main ex-pat watering hole, yeah yeah OK it’s not “authentic” but we all need a social base) when the art and yoga teacher/hippy raver chick and I realise that we both know the same Berlin club promoter. Bulging eyes, open mouths and clappity-hands all round. World’s a village…
6. The completion of each successive stage in my protracted battle to warm the flat. Unworkable heater in bedroom switched on: check. Annotated photo diagram of multi-buttoned air-con system created: check. Second duvet provided, to lay on top of lightweight “summer weight” duvet: check. Additional portable electric fan heater purchased: check. We’ll get there eventually.
7. The range of bedroom slippers at the local mall. Plenty of choice, but a} they’re all made for diminutive Chinese tootsies, not clod-hopping British hooves, and b) they’re all SO CAMP! I’m not having my new flatmate walking in on me tomorrow, mincing round the place in teeny-tiny, fluffy pink, “Hello Kitty” mules. He’ll get quite the wrong idea.
8. Ditto the T-shirts, which I wanted to wear in bed. (Yup, I didn’t pack a single T-shirt. They’re so not me. Such unforgiving garments.) All the T-shirts on display came boxed up with matching “leisure pants”, in shades of citron and cerise. See previous flatmate-related anxiety.
9. Overhearing fragments of conversation in Myth, the rather gloomy restaurant round the corner which attempts Chinese approximations of European dishes. (My “steak” and “chips” were a valiant effort, and actually quite edible.) Particularly the American guy behind me, talking into his mobile:
“Listen, I haven’t told you yet today that I love you. Even though our relationship is in jeopardy right now. And I’ve got a girlfriend.”
(Frustratingly, he went a bit quieter after that. But you know there’s a whole story there.)
10. The answer given by the neatly groomed and very good looking young candidate (if you like that sort of thing, bit Twink for my tastes), working for a company called Handsome – who, when asked what personal skills he could bring to our company, replied: “Being Handsome, I have a lot to offer.” Never was a knuckle more hastily chewed.
Happy Christmas, everyone.