Old Friends & Bottles of Wine

What a treat to be in Hong Kong and discover an old friend is living here. One who I haven't seen in nearly 10 years. After playing phone tag and exchanging text messages over my now Hong Kong phone number equipped Sony Ericsson P900 phone Phoebe guided us up to her pad on Victoria Peak. Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. At the very top of this mountain is a park with a hiking path that offers expansive views of Hong Kong, Kowoloon and the new territories.

Phoebe moved to Hong Kong nearly 3 years ago after getting married. She and her husband live in beautifully decorated flat with a balcony that offered us the best view yet of Hong Kong at night. Photographers from an Asian art and design publication had been there earlier that day shooting their apartment for a feature in an upcoming issue.

I carried a bottle of 2000 Alban Lorraine Syrah with me from California — one of three bottles I brought to Asia. The first, A bottle of Ricolma from Tuscany never made it off the plane. I had corked and decanted the wine and returned the precious juice to the bottle before the taxi picked me the morning I left the United States. Replacing the cord with a simple bottle stopped I packed in carefully in my carry on. About half way into the flight during one of United's questionable meal services Bryan and I killed the bottle. With empty bottles wine, water and a bag of trash remains from other snacks purchased in San Francisco, I asked the flight attendant to take away our bag of trash. In a sarcastic and playful manner she asked, “and why do you boys have so much trash?” Remarking something about the food and then pulling the top of the neck of the bottle out of the bag a few inches said, “the wine bottle takes up quite a bit.”

Her demeanor changed suddenly. Her eyes from beaming bright and friendly to worried and accusing. “Did you drink that on the plane?” She told us that we are not supposed to this and we coulda got kicked off the plan — or more appropriate — deplaned. So I thought, hmmmmmm, miles over the Pacific and they'd deplane us where? She took this serious and several feet ahead of us she disappeared into one of the 747's galleys. Then reappearing and glancing my way she motioned her eyes to her male colleague in our direction. I had explained to her that I'd flown Delta and Air France and had success and even support from the crew in getting a bottle of wine opened. She simply just stared and said, “This is not Air France.”

I knew that.

The Alban was the first of many wines consumed over 10 years of catching up, reminiscing, laughing and living. I learned that Phoebe has been designing, importing and selling exclusive housewares items from throughout Asia. The next day we took a tour of her studio in the Central district of Hong Kong and learned that these items could be found in many top retailers in the US.

Next dinner with another ex-pat hanging his hat in Hong Kong – a friend of Bryan's whose been living her a couple years. I'm sure that will have more to say about the night life her in Hong Kong as we plan to take on SoHo, Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai. Stay tuned.

Photos: (1) View from hiking path high atop Hong Kong on Victoria Peak. Typical fog and smog combo obscures what would be a lush tropical view with jutting skyline of steel and glass; (2) The hike on Victoria Peak takes you through a botanical journey of discovery. This is an Indian Rubber tree; (3) Bryan taking the Star Ferry from the Kowoloon Island to Hong Kong Island.