Thursday, September 20th, 2001:

As tonight marks the first show of our tour, I’ve spent the last day and a half preparing for it, while finishing up my obligations as a tourist.

Tuesday night our group made like TV’s Batman and rode the Swiss-made cable tram at a 63 degree angle (!) up to The Peak, where we were treated to a spectacular night view of the Hong Kong skyline… And a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum. I couldn’t really enjoy it; my mind was on a store window we passed on the way there, displaying the same mobile gear I had bought the day before, for twenty bucks cheaper.

On the way back to the subway we passed through the Wan Chai district, well-known by sailors. Thirty U.S. dollars will buy the lady of your choice a beer in any one of a number of bar/brothels lining both sides of the street. Two drinks will apparently open the door to a return on your investment. Alternately, you can spend your thirty bucks on a gourmet meal in any one of a number of funky, fusion-style eateries that are also part of the landscape. As you can imagine, the area’s clientele makes for an odd mix…

Yesterday morning we rehearsed our show by the hotel pool, loud enough that guests in all the surrounding rooms couldn’t help but listen in on our wackiness. Then it was off to the Hong Kong Arts Centre for a technical run-through. By this time the effects of us not having a director for our show had become clear; my assigned roles were all a variation of the classic Second City “tomato head” (a guy who yells a lot), and two of our blackouts had pretty much the same punchline, in both cases delivered by the same person — me. But after an impromptu cast meeting over dinner back at the hotel, our lack of a director seemed less problematic, for the moment at least.

I celebrated our socialist theatrical coup with a visit to the night market on Temple Street in Kowloon. Had I any desire for a Sonee PlayHub or some Tony Hiflinger threads I would have been quite thrilled; as it happened, I was more than content to catch the last subway back to the hotel.

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