Living Out of a Samsonoot
I'm back from the Comedy Through Asia Extravanganza Special Tour of Good Luck. And I have a new Chinese tattoo that says that exact thing, or so they tell me that's what it says. The tour through Asia was actually named "Shanghai Dave's Headliner Tour". Dave Chu, who organized the whole thing, is actually from Hong Kong. But the name "Hong Kong Dave" was already taken by one of the local working girls, so we had to change it. The tour took us (Jesse Joyce and myself) to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. It was an incredible experience that left me awestruck, even when I woke up one morning in a bathtub of ice without my kidneys. From now on, hoax emails have my attention…except that one about boycotting gas for a day. That's just silly.
Shanghai was fantastic. I already had a decent amount of practice with chopsticks, and here is where I got to showcase that talent. I could have used a fork, but I refused to. They have a phrase in China that's just like "When in Rome, do as the Romans", only theirs is, "Stupid American better use chopstick or else he'll look stupider light bulb no walk here." (doesn't translate well).
Being the lovable germaphobe that I can be at times, eating in China was no small task. I once saw a chef filet a fish head with the same knife he used on the Board of Health inspector. The food, however, was out of this world. Seriously, I have no idea where they got this stuff. But it was delicious. And exotic stuff too…stingray, squid, shrimp. Shrimp may not sound very exotic, but these shrimp were political dissidents. Unethical but tasty.
We did some shopping in Shanghai too. The merchants there are pushy. Think Abercrombie and Fitch, only with persistence and not pretentiousness. They have some decent stuff for sale, however I think they're knock-offs. Like the new suitcase I got from Samsonoot and my new pair of Nikes with a smiley face instead of a swoosh.
After Shanghai we flew to Hong Kong. It's a lot like New York City, only there aren't as many Chinese people there. All kidding aside, the city is very Americanized. I saw so many Starbucks in the whole city of Hong Kong, I could have sworn I was in a U.S. shopping mall.
But it wasn't to the point that we ever confused it for an American city. Way too many thin people riding bikes and not giving a shit about Lindsay Lohan to make that mistake. Even their commercialism was quite unique, which is a nice way of saying that prostitution is legal there. And prostitutes sneak up on you out of nowhere. "Here's your green tea. You want massage?" You have to be alert the whole time. Maybe that's why there are so many Starbucks.
The coolest thing about Hong Kong was seeing the giant Buddha. I've always been a big fan of spirituality. I don't know a whole lot about Buddhism, although I used to pretend to meditate whenever my former boss caught me sleeping. Man, I don't miss sales. The giant Buddha was a sight to behold. Truly awe inspiring. Not just from a spiritual enlightenment standpoint, but also because of the simple fact that here was this big guy who had apparently never heard of the Atkins Diet and therefore wasn't clamoring on and on about it. What a refreshing change from our culture.
The Buddhist temple near the Buddha was amazing too. To know that people came here at all hours to seek peace was indescribably uplifting. I didn't want to leave. But then I was told that the "no shoes" rule applied to all kinds, even fake Nikes. So I was forced out. But it was still a terrific journey.
From there we flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KL), where the currency is called "ringits". Which to me sounds like an 18th century disease. "Did you hear about Shamus? He's got ringits." Who knows…maybe that will catch on and a hundred years from now your grandkids will ask, "I like those shoes. How many SARS do they cost?"
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in KL, which was also where the Indonesian President stayed during the D-8 Conference. I learned that after I walked on his red carpet thanking people for their continued support of keithcomedy.com. I don't recall any "Guerilla Marketing" books talking about sabotaging a dignitary's welcome mat, so I guess I just wrote a new chapter. So if you're the entrepreneurial type looking for new marketing ideas, you're welcome.
The people who hosted us in KL really did treat us like rock stars. We were given royal treatment and had an absolute blast there. They warned us about Singapore, and they were right. That was our next and last stop on the tour and everything, as we were told, was against the law. Spitting, jaywalking, chewing gum, whistling, calling a girl less than three days after getting her number, and on and on. It's like the country was run by Ned Flanders. It's actually a fine-able offense in Singapore to fart in public. I'm not making that one up, I promise. I couldn't help but think I was going to make the news back home like that teenager who got caned after spraying graffiti on a car. I hate stupid laws, but I also hate getting arrested. So…When in Rome, do as the Romans. And when in Singapore, clench.
The shows at all of our stops were great, and I had a terrific time. That part of the world is a wonderful place to visit. Especially since all four countries have currencies weaker than the U.S. dollar right now. So suck on that, France. Not to mention most Asians believe balding to be a sign of wisdom. If I could convince them that being a smart ass was a sign of great strength, you'd be looking at their next king. And I'd strike down all the laws in Singapore and happily watch my people relax their cheeks for the first time in decades.
Many thanks to all who made the tour a success…Dave, Dan, Dax, Ann, Jack, Gavin, and the countless others who helped out along the way. Xie Xie!! That means thank you. And if you say it with a southern accent, they think you're Garth Brooks.
By the way, you can view my photos by clicking on my photos page and opening the China Tour folder.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a tattoo removal artist.