Sunday, September 16, 2007

Breakfast with Eggs

OK so in the Imperial House it's breakfast time and the reason I know that is I've just spoken to someone in Washington DC who's about to go to dinner and its too late to call the UK because its midnight or something so I'll just have the eggs, peppers, prawns and dumplings. That's the 1000 year old eggs whose whites are jet black - and slightly translucent I discover forking one towards the mouth - and the yolks are dark green, and totally opaque and crumbly, with the bright pink ginger on the side. Yus. And the spicy prawns are spicy like a red not chilli-ed up curry. No bacon and eggs for me please.

And that chinese music is really really annoying now, just switch it off, please, because I was enjoying the Stevie Wonder, Tamla Motown and Soul from the sixties medleys with Diana Ross. Because I just saw Diana Ross. She was flown to South East Asia and sang two songs, one of which was a duet with a Chinese bloke, a star apparently, and then she launched into "ain't no mountain high enough, ain't know river deep keep me from yoooooooooooooooooo" and we all swooned. She was utterly utterly fantabulous, despite some slightly shaky background vocals and questionable dancers. She wore a fantasy frock of the brightest yellow you can possibly imagine - a huge spread out affair - that most of the women seemed to think was rubbish but I didn't. Then she went off to sing at the gala dinner which was populated by knobs and knockers, investors and high rollers.

Now in the hours between my dimsum breakfast and our dimsum supper last night which was not only in the same town, the same street but the same building, (we were even at the same table) I didn't even leave the room. Because I'm in the world's biggest casino. It's huuuuuuuge.

I used system 17 in the automated roulette. This is the same as roulette operated by a croupier but has the wheel encased beneath an acrylic dome, and the numbers are on a touch sensitive screen which you touch - sensitively - to bet having inserted your money into a slot. Slightly inhuman but still capable of managing system 17. System 17 is unique and I shall describe it here. You bet on no 17. Then cover adjoining lines, the red (or black) and other areas such as "second 12" or "even" (or odd). The beauty of the system is that you lose very very slowly. Sometimes as little as 40 dollars at a time (which in Hong Kong dollars means 30p). The system is different to Sytem 16, say, which loses your money FAST. Mainly because No 17 keeps coming up (and while I'm on the subject it would be nice if said 17 occasionally appeared during the use of the eponymous System 17). And as for the other systems, say 31 or 8 - ironically the Chinese lucky number, well they're welcome to it - they just don't work at all. No sir. In order to lose your money so slowly it feels like winning sometimes it's system 17 for me. Which is scientifically worked out. As well as being my birthday.

And when you've lost, say, a thousand dollars, in America you'd go back to your room and go to sleep and then wake up and slowly remember it then try not to mention it to anyone, or specifically someone whom you know really well, so that you can go about your daily business trying not to think about what you might have done with 1000 dollars. But in China you can lose 1000 dollars (this is about 60 quid) and be so not bothered by it you can go and have some 1000 year old eggs right away! The Chinese would like the symmetry.

The dumplings arrive scalding hot and instead of the Chinese wine we had the previous night - god the wine took a long time to come, I'm sure they sent out to Oddbins for it - we're having green tea. Without mint. No idea why, as I'm sure I've never had green tea with mint before. And it's a fine breakfast. 7am and the light hasn't changed becuse like all casinos there are no windows or clocks. There are hundreds of Chinese people betting beside me, some are arguing with their wives/girlfriends and the Chinese Authorities have apparently held the adjoining border open to facilitate all night gambling on opening night. Nice.


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