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Of Buddha and Gardam 

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Adria.

Wish these greetings were coming from Hong Kong, one of the best times to be there. It is the only time when the city actually stops its frenetic pace, so the culture has to interest you if you decide to visit then. The city sparkles (rare) and pulsates with RED: trees decorated with red ornaments and red lei see packets (money given to single members of the family), children in red traditional garb, people carrying the ubiquitous red gift packages. And all the buildings around the Harbour are lit up and the views are more breathtaking than ever.

On the same note, I started reading The Man with the Wooden Hat, and there again, I was plunged into Hong Kong and it is evident from her writing that Gardam, understands the Chinese, the expatriates, the city and the lure of Asia. Lines such as:
He (Feathers) knew only that his competence and his happiness were at their greatest in the Far Eastern sunlight and the crash and rattle of monsoon rain, the suck and grind and roar of hot seas on white shores. After such lines, I have to close the book for a few minutes, because I am overwhelmed with melancholy (if I could just close my eyes and time travel). When I read Gardam my Buddha sleeps: I am not where I am.

If you loved FILTH, you will adore this book, Adria. It was published in 2009 and so she goes back to the characters in FILTH in their youth. And because of her skill at creating memorable characters, you begin to call up each one. As well, her ability to move back and forth in time is stunning. She is at the moment, my favourite writer and my plan now is to read ALL of her writing this year. So I declare 2010, The Year of Gardam.

I was thinking of what we talked about at lunch yesterday: relationships and how things change as we grow older (aging doesn’t sound any better) and for some reason the image of the girl who sat to our left came to mind. There she was, her face directly illuminated by the merciless noonday sun. The confidence of youth, I guess.  I, on the other hand, tend to hide. I cover my neck with scarves and my chest with high-necklines, my arms with long sleeves, I sit with my back to the light whenever possible (keeping my face in the shadows) and of course, I’ve stopped wearing shorts, bathing suits (unless I have some type of covering). It’s not something I actually plan/ned and I can’t tell you when I started doing it. I just did/do, even though I think I’m in relatively good shape and still have good skin. Perhaps this is an illusion fed by D. telling me I haven’t changed. What do you need to have done to your face? What wrinkles? Men. No doubt he’s thinking of the high cost of cosmetic work. I don’t ever remember looking at my Mother and seeing wrinkles or old arms – as she used to refer to them - and I wonder if it’s because I was fifteen years younger than I am now when she died and not yet into close examination of women of a certain age. Oh, this is all too revelatory!!  Like Gonnie, my vanity is incurable!

What a busy weekend: Chinese New Year, The Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Valentine Day Mania, Family Day and just plain great days off.  


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