Hong Kong, A Food Mecca For Every Self-Respecting Foodie

Hong kong streets/Image: Hong Kong - November 2011© MojoBaron/Flickr

Hong Kong streets/Image: Hong Kong – November 2011© MojoBaron/Flickr

Other than being an exciting global city, Hong Kong is also a foodie’s paradise. It’s not just the number and quality of high end restaurants in almost every corner of the city, but also the dazzling selection of local and international flavours that satisfies even the most demanding taste buds. So whether you’re in the city for a short break or on a long culinary mission, you should definitely skip your hotel’s all-inclusive buffet meals, and instead explore the numerous gastronomic treats that Hong Kong has to offer.

Here’s a quick introduction to Hong Kong’s essential food map.

Fiery flavors. From trendy Korean eateries and super spicy Sichuan cuisine to  real mexican tacos  (to wash down with Cuban cocktails at Mamasita’s Cantina), Hong Kong has something spicy for those of us who like it hot.

Michelin stars everywhere . There are around 60 Michelin Star restaurants in the city for year 2017. Considering how small Hong Kong is, this clearly shows that food is a serious business in this city. And the best thing is the MS list doesn’t include only upscale restaurants, such as the exquisite Four Seasons Lung King Heen, Umberto Bombana’s vero Italiano Otto e Mezzo or Shikon’s  famous Sushi. The world’s first  Michelin Starred Street food Stall is the latest innovation in a city where street food is little short of sacred.

Street Food Hong Kong Style © David Guyler/Flickr

Street Food Hong Kong Style © David Guyler/Flickr

And speaking of the devil… Nothing beats a good food truck or a quaint food stall. I personally feel instantly happy when I see one, it just adds so much colour and life to a city. Street food, found in the local food stalls otherwise known as dai pai dong  is an important element of the Hong Kong spirit, and a must-try for every serious culinary tourist. Some of the delicious local treats include Hong Kong curry fish balls, egg waffles, egg tarts, and pork ramen. For more adventurous foodies, stinky tofu is another Hong Kong classic.

Traditional Chinese Dim Sum Tea Houses. Dim Sum, the local version of brunch-like tapas, is the heart of the Cantonese culinary culture. You can enjoy dim sum like the locals do, traditionally as a morning tea gathering, or during any time of the day you crave a fluffy white bun and a hot cup of tea. Dim sum signature dishes include steam pork buns, shrimp and pork dumplings, and delicious rice rolls filled with pork, beef and vegetables. Located right in the middle of the high end Central, Luk Yu Tea House has been a dim sum hotspot since colonial times, and has still preserved its colonial-style design and retro charm.

Image: Fresh BBQ pork noodles© Ernesto Andrade/Flickr

Image: Fresh BBQ pork noodles© Ernesto Andrade/Flickr

Hong Kong native Cha Chaan Teng. Since the 60s the Cha Chaan Tengs in Hong Kong have been serving the Chinese version of western food at reasonable prices. Nowadays, they are more a cult thing, but they are still extremely popular as an important part of the city’s identity and history. Famous Cha Chaan Teng such as the Australian Dairy Company, and Capital Cafe serve generous portions of comfort food like scrambled eggs with rich buttery thick toast and milk tea.  Don’t miss Honolulu Coffee Shop’s famous egg tarts, while retro Mido Cafe will take you for a trip down the memory lane to Hong Kong in the 60’s.

You can always rest your tired feet in the Bing Sutt Starbucks. The  traditional Bing Sutt restaurant has been something between the basic dai pai dong and the more upmarket Cha Chaan Teng. In the 50s a Bing Sutt was basically the standard Chinese diner serving Chinese Western food classics. A wave of nostalgia in Hong Kong has revived the interest for Bing Sutts, with Starbucks opening the world’s first Bing Sutt Starbucks in Duddell Street. If you’re in Central, you can have Starbucks coffee with a twist, in a 60s cult ambience of tile floors, green-metal-frame windows, old fans and vintage wall posters.

Image: Hong Kong Duddell Street Starbucks© tszchungwing/Flickr

Image: Hong Kong Duddell Street Starbucks© tszchungwing/Flickr

Hong Kong, Asia’s Perfect Example of Feng Shui

The Star Ferry has been one of Hong Kong's Feng Shui hotspots/ Image: Silver Star Hong Kong©Bernard Spragg. NZ/Flickr

The Star Ferry has been one of Hong Kong’s Feng Shui hotspots/ Image: Silver Star Hong Kong©Bernard Spragg. NZ/Flickr

With the Year of the Rooster already starting on a rough patch in the Western world, Chinese astrology and Feng Shui are always interesting to follow. As someone who has lived in the “West” most of her life, I was always intrigued by the idea that there’s another way to explain the world, other than our western dualism of good versus evil ,or Christianity’s belief in one higher force that in the end restores the moral order in our world. The Chinese school of thought focuses on a holistic understanding of one’s self and one’s surroundings, and the art Feng Shui and Chinese astrology have been important parts of this idea.

View of the Harbour from the Peak/ Image: The Peak©Eugene Lim/Flickr

View of the Harbour from the Peak/ Image: The Peak©Eugene Lim/Flickr

I first became aware of the importance of Feng Shui while I was travelling in Hong Kong, and I felt amazingly strong and euphoric walking down Victoria Harbour’s Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. I later discovered that this was not incidental: Hong Kong is amongst the most important Feng Shui cities in the world, as it has mountains behind and waters in front.

Here’s what you need to know about this ancient art that has blossomed in a futuristic city.

  • The Chinese Feng Shui (literally meaning Wind and Water) is based on the idea that the energy (chi) of our environment affects the energy of our lives and, subsequently, our health, success, and well-being. When the five natural elements (fire, air, water, wood, metal) around us are balanced, we too are balanced and feel harmonious and happy.

    Chinese Astrology Symbols © GanMed64/Flickr

    Chinese Astrology Symbols © GanMed64/Flickr

  •  Hong Kong’s notable Feng Shui buildings include the HSBC tower whose entrance is guarded by two bronze lion statues, as well as buildings with gaping voids in the middle, also known as dragon holes.
  • Hong Kong’s prosperity has been attributed to its good Feng Shui, but there are great examples of Feng Shui in the West. Think about the most prosperous and culturally rich and diverse cities that you know such as New York, London, Melbourne and Paris. They all have a strong element of water, sea or river, that has energised them and helped them flourish and become global cities.

    Rivers were sacred in ancient Athens/Image: Ancient Athens - Reconstruction 1©Patrick Gray/Flickr

    Rivers were sacred in ancient Athens/Image: Ancient Athens – Reconstruction 1©Patrick Gray/Flickr

  • From the druids to the ancient Greeks, the “West” was also familiar with the importance of the natural elements in life. But in our journey to modernity and to fully embracing logical thought, we lost the connection with this ancient knowledge. In my native Athens our government buried the city’s sacred rivers-which were worshipped as Gods by the ancients– in order to built highways. Athens never came anywhere close to becoming the great city it was known to be in antiquity and in the recent years it has been brought to its knees by poverty and austerity.
  • Being one of the most densely populated cities in the world is not an obstacle to Hong Kong’s good Feng Shui. Energy does not get stale here, but moves effectively and fast. The city’s highways are its “rivers” while its high-rises are the “mountains” that move the energy and bring luck and prosperity, according to the laws of ancient Chinese wisdom.

    Hong Kong's famous elevated walkways/Image: Street bridge walkway, HK © faungg's photos/Flickr

    Hong Kong’s famous elevated walkways/Image: Street bridge walkway, HK © faungg’s photos/Flickr

  • When it comes to big cities in many parts of the world we tend to see the things in a black-and-white scope. Most of us believe that megacities are crowded, polluted and bad for us. In this sense it might appear as a paradox that 70 percent of Hong Kong is countryside, country parks, and protected green areas. Nature feeds the megacity with plenty of Feng Shui  energy.
  • Hong Kong doesn’t only have Feng Shui skyscrapers but also has fantastic Feng Shui spots for nature lovers. Its world-famous Peak is a great spot to feel the city’s great energy, and enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic Victoria Harbour. There are several nature trails for hiking lovers nearby. Asia’s best urban hike, Dragon’s Back, is another idea for those looking for a more intense and memorable hike.

    Dragon's Back hike, Hong Kong © Rick McCharles/Flickr

    Dragon’s Back hike, Hong Kong © Rick McCharles/Flickr

  • The famous Victoria Harbour and the Star Ferry are what has been described as Hong Kong’s Feng Shui  centre of the city. An integral part of the city’s history and cultural heritage, the Star Ferry has never had any difficulty winning the hearts of the people, and it has been described the perfect combination of the five natural “chi” elements.

Debunking a few Parenthood Myths

This is my third year into motherhood so I feel morally obliged to share some insights. It has changed my life immensely and it has been by far the biggest blessing I ever received, but I wish there were more sincere aspects of the hurdles of first time parenthood on the web to prepare women for this life-changing experience.

So here it goes, debunking some myths:

“Balancing career and motherhood will sort out itself ”: The African saying “It takes a Village to Raise a Childprobably sums this up best.When you decide to start a family and you are a professional person, the first thing you need to do is look around you and identify what is your support network. Are your parents or your in-laws retired and willing to give you a hand once you return to work? Can your salaries afford you a nanny or daycare, and would you feel comfortable leaving your new born with strangers for nine hours per day? Obviously these are questions that should be addressed beforehand.

Breast is Best. Ok, this is such a sensitive topic. Obviously breast is best. But sometimes I feel I agree with the French on this one. You should always do what keeps you balanced and sane. You are an intelligent human, not a feeding machine. Couples today, eager to be the best parents possible, go to extreme lengths to prolong breastfeeding, and are very proud when little Sofia, that has a mouth full of teeth and can speak sentences,pulls mom’s blouse down in public to drink milk. Stop feeling a failure or guilty if breastfeeding did not work out or you simply did not enjoy it.

Early Potty Training. Just like breastfeeding potty training is another topic that sparks lively database and attracts the most condescending and smug  comments from parents that trained their baby as soon as he could hold his head up. Enough with this madness. Sooner or later they will learn, and rest assured, they will not go to school wearing nappies.

Playdates: As a new mother I felt obliged to take my daughter to playdates way before she was interested in engaging with others or even inclined to liking others. I would say that toddlers from the age of two onwards are likely to look for the company of children but earlier than that, I am sorry to say, but it is a waste of time. Yes, it can be also a social opportunity for the mom to meet other moms but don’t expect to get a second for an adult conversation,let alone an intelligent conversation of any kind. Most of the time you will be either pretending to tell off your baby not to scream, cry and throw things down (and pretend in front of others that there is some logical explanation for that “This is totally because she didn’t have a nap today”) and, secretly planning your escape when she gives her best and loudest performance. “I ll take her home for that nap that we were saying”.

I take care of my baby while I work from home. Since I became a parent I came across this urban legend of the professional (usually a mom) that works from home while she takes care of her baby. Even though I am not familiar with the specific working arrangements of every person this sounds like the equivalent of trying to write a text when you are driving a motorbike at high speed. When I work I need to be able to focus on what i am doing, which is virtually impossible with an awake baby in the house. If however someone offered me the kind of job that you can do while taking care of a baby, and paid me with real money for it, i would take it in a heartbeat.

The second one will be a breeze. I left my favourite for the end. In life you can never keep people happy. When you are single people want to know when you will tie the knot, and when that happens they regularly interrogate you when are you planning to get pregnant. Just when you thought you have ticked all the boxes and they will finally leave you alone, there is the question of the second baby.I once had a mom that tried to convince me that having two kids is easier than having one just because they keep busy playing with each other. As a new mom of one, I thought it was one of the most outrageous arguments I had ever heard.  Even if it holds true for some part especially when the children are older, the popular idea that the second baby is a breeze and it will simplify your life is ridiculous. Sure, you already have all the know-how but that does not make the 3am feeds any easier, or lessens the overall responsibility of raising another human being.

So have more kids, but because you welcome the joy and the hard work, not only to provide the first one with a play mate.

Why I am refusing to put that pizza slice down.

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A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. If a powerful genie appeared and offered to grant me just one wish, the first thing that comes in mind is this: I would like to be able to eat everything that I want and not gain a gram. If your first reaction is to mock my base instincts and lack of sophistication, please try to reconsider. Just imagine all those delicious comfort food feasts I could enjoy: pizzas and beers, buckets of buttery pop corn and eating ice-cream out of the box would definitely make life sweeter, once the prospect of looking like a bloated whale was removed from the equation.

In my 20s I did not value food that much. That did not mean I did not like food (quite the contrary) but i was happy to have a couple of glasses of wine for dinner. When I took a holiday I never looked for the the best restaurants or best ice-cream parlours, and neither did i try to educate myself on the local cuisine. Spending money on restaurants was not good on my wallet, and neither was it on my waistline. You see, being single and overenjoying your food is never such a good idea in today’s market, as you ladies probably already know.

Today when I travel I could probably skip a few museums, historic churches and monuments. If I have a great meal somewhere this makes it a nice holiday. If I am so lucky as  to eat well every day it is simply unforgettable, even without the museums and the churches. I guess it is one of the hidden advantages of growing older: You find more pleasure in the small things that when you were younger you either did not care for or you took for granted.

I remember when I was pregnant we travelled to New York. Before the trip, I spent hours, if not days, looking for things I would like to eat and restaurants I would like to visit. In this capital of fashion, not being able to indulge in cloth shopping was liberating. We visited twice Lombardi’s and both times I enjoyed a huge  NYC style Italian pizza. No guilty afterthoughts either. It was all “for the baby”.

Food gives us humans so much pleasure. There are of course numerous other pleasures in life that can make us incredibly happy. But at the end of the day, life is tough and, for better of for worse, the pleasure of food often requires less effort and is more readily available than other things.

I am not saying that eating like pigs and accepting obesity is a good thing. I am not obese and I would definitely not enjoy being one. We all hold on to the phantasy that one day that Jennifer Anniston diet will work its miracles and we will look so effortlessly chic and naturally glowing. (Diet? Daaarling, I eat everything in moderation) But as I said, life is not always a piece of cake. So you sometimes need a piece of cake to make things right after what appears to have been the shittiest of days. When this happens you should eat without a hint of guilt or sense of failure. Give yourself a break.

You deserve it.

Losing the extra weight: What I have learnt

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Being someone who has always experimented with weight loss, I have my own observations that I would like to share. With the exception of my post pregnancy weight where I had to shed around 28kg or 62 pounds, my main concern has always been the last stubborn five kilos (10 pounds), the result of love for food, loss of motivation and ignoring the caloric value of certain foods. I have never consulted a nutritionist or a dietician, (even when I successfully shed those 28 kg) but I always had a good general idea of the things I should and should not eat and I made my own diet plan according to my personal judgement.

Disclaimer: When you must lose  more than 6-7 kg it is best to visit an expert and get a a professional diet plan. The dietician will give you the right food combinations to cover your nutritional needs while cutting down on calories, and inform you about your personal ideal pace of weight loss.

However no dietician can make you thin, you are the the only person that can do that. Your motivation is your best friend in your weight loss journey, your driving force without which your goal cannot be achieved.

Below are some tips that I hope will help you keep it up and succeed.

Honesty with the scales: I myself have noticed that the times I tend to put on weight are those that I avoid stepping on the scales. Even though you should avoid obsessing over a number (numbers can lie) you still need to be honest about weight gain. No you are not “bloated” every day and it is impossible to gain significant muscle with little or no weight training, so just  be brave enough to admit that those pizzas and buckets of pop corn have turned into body fat that you now need to get rid of.

And now what? Relax.Once you get a cleat picture of the amount of extra weight that you want to lose, take a long deep breath. Success in weight loss requires that you are focused, yet relaxed. Stress, obsession, worry and impatience are only obstacles. The popular role model of the lycra clad  woman in a constant obsessive fighting mode against fat is likely create more stress and waste of your vital energy. Acknowledging that these extra pounds do not change a thing about you being a beautiful, sexy, intelligent person, but you would feel  so much better without them, is the way to start your journey.

Weight loss journey. Weight loss in a journey whether you need to lose 4 or 64 pounds. It is a change of attitudes and the realisation that healthy eating and exercise is a way of life. In fact, you need to accept that excessive eating and, unhealthy foods will always make those extra pounds creep back on. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more you have to watch your diet and eat clean.

Weight Plateaus: Embrace the idea that they exist. If there is one thing to be said about weight loss this is that is is not linear. It might appear that you are dieting for one or two months and the scales has not moved. The truth is that your body fat is a result of long term eating habits and what you need to do is to readjust these habits- in the longterm-to eventually find your weight where  you want it to be.

Learn to say no: Myself being Greek means that I come from a culture where throwing food away and not emptying your plate is the gravest of sins. I still remember as a young child my mother coaxing me to eat the last piece of bread “because children in some places in the world die of hunger”. Having this attitude makes it hard for you not to transgress, especially if you have a partner or child that orders pizzas and heaps of french fries and then does not finish them.Take responsibility for yourself and learn to say no to food. Are you willing to eat all the food available in the restaurant or all the food sold at the supermarket to rid the world of hunger? I thought so.

So do not give up. Weight loss is above all an attitude and a mental state . If you get there with your mind, the body will follow.

New Year reflections

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This year feels a bit different. I am more reluctant to make New Year resolutions and I don’t care to spend time spent wishing and liking Facebook posts. I have eaten a shameful amount of cakes and sweets and strangely that does not bother me either.

The only thing that have started getting a bit on my nerves is the amount of times I have been told that I should have a second baby or asked when I am planning to have a second child (because apparently  now is the time),  or had people compare my weight to last year (especially to tell me that I look “healthier” now). I  reached the unheard of point of stop smiling and nodding politely  when someone is annoying. I experimented a couple of times by trying to be less social at family get-togethers just to see how the others manage without my oh so appropriate comments. Even uncomfortable silences bother me less now.

So yes, this year I do feel that i am getting older. And naturally my criticisms and observations extend to my own faults and the negatives of my character which i try to acknowledge fairly.

But I guess this is just part of the annual Greek family gatherings,for which i am thankful. All the great home made food and wine, loud comments, gestures and grimaces make a great evening if you manage to navigate the conversation away from politics, the financial crisis, people’s children and unnecessary gossip, and instead dig out some interesting story from the past or a family anecdote of beloved family members that are no longer here.

And laugh off the Christmas family dinner tension with a glass of wine and another piece of baklava. One should be grateful to have a family that annoys and embarrasses them. (Provided that you fight back firmly, stoically and with a slight touch of passive aggressiveness).

Happy New Year everyone!

Kate Moss inspired fashion advice

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If you like fashion and you are always on the look for smart tricks to look good, model Kate Moss is a good example to take inspiration from. The secret behind Kate’s good looks, (apart from the fact that her bone structure is close to what some describe as the golden ratio of beauty), is that she never seems to try too hard. And if you look closely she has a specific personal style to which she stays faithful most of the time. Kate Moss has given the world some fashion advice which is not much, but then again there is not much to tell about fashion anyways. In reality it is not that complex.

The reason why I suddenly look to Mossy as a good stylistic example for the fashion-confused like me is that the more I grow up the more I find it hard to understand fashion. The other day I ventured a trip to Zara – one of my favourite fashion retailers for my kind of budget— and for the first time I did not find a single item that I felt I could wear. Everything looked like it was designed for tall and willowy girls and channelled a certain 60’s/faux vintage persona with an artsy, jet set-aspiring lifestyle. The clothes charmingly looked like they had “a story to tell” but after inspecting for the tenth time every single cloth rack in the hope of finding something that “made sense” I had to sadly admit was not my story.

The general factual truth with fashion trends is that the more women wear them-copying the example of models, actresses and other celebrities- the more they normalise the trends, so they gradually stops being edgy, over the top or even ridiculous and become conventional. Furthermore, our fashion conditioning sponsored by the same high street powerhouses wants us to think that a daring outfit equals a daring or confident personality. For instance take the popular Mtv show Plain Jane whose job is to transform “plain” looking girls to modern goddesses with the noble purpose of giving them enough confidence to ask their school crush out on a date. The show host Louise Roe, a woman who would ,no doubt, look good in a bin bag, is a fierce advocate for high street fashion. Louise encourages “Plain Janes” ,who would rather go out in jeans and a t shirt ,to try instead bright colours and bold prints, statement earrings , bling necklaces and sexy high heels as an exercise to learn how to radiate confidence and femininity. The show is very entertaining and surely only does some good old high street promotion, but the truth is that no girl should take its tips too seriously.

Here is why: In real life nobody over age 25 has the time, the energy and the necessary “talent” needed to figure out whether the orange bare midriff dress combines with the turquoise scarf and 5 inch platform heels, let alone actually put them on and walk down the street feeling no doubt uncomfortable and slightly ridiculous. No woman should be made to feel like that on fun her night out when she should above all feel comfortable and relaxed and allow herself to have a good time. IT IS NOT A CRIME TO BE IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE. (Also, in real life it takes more than mustering up the courage to ask the guy out to make romance happen, and at the end of the day if he was into you he would not wait around until he was asked).

Going back to Kate’s advice, here are some personal observations/inspirations that could help fashion conscious women keep their sanity.

Kate wears denim most of the time, especially her trademark skinny black jeans. Of course she frequently switches to vintage super glam looks for special occasions such as celebrity parties, receptions, official premieres and other paparazzi worthy events that the average woman most likely will never attend so she (you, me) should rather invest her money in things she will actually wear on a daily basis. So yeah, that party dress might look fantastic on you but better resist the urge to decorate your closet with yet another cute outfit.

KM wears what flatters her body shape. She of course is super skinny and all that, but she does not have the typical model body. In fact she is a bit shorter. She still looks better than you and me but also sticks to things that show off her slender frame and make her look taller. So if you have already found what looks good on your body shape don’t feel pressure to experiment or switch to something different because you “have to” wear a certain dress or skirt. Why wear it if it is not flattering? Stick to what flatters you. Use that as a basis to work your variations on that.

Invest in your basics. Better pay three times the price on a piece of denim that will last 5 years than one third on the one that lasts less than 5 months. This way you will spend less time worrying about what to wear.

Combine old and new from your favourites and be creative if you feel like it. You don’t need to look like the exact copy of the Topshop mannequin. It may earn you the respect of the 15 year olds but to all the rest you will look like you are trying too hard.

Finally, (like Kate), don’t bother too much. Life is too short and maybe you were not born to be a fashion genius. (like Kate) Maybe you will never pull off a sophisticated vintage look. It doesn’t matter. Change your hair or change your make up. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and show some attitude. At the end of the day the most attractive thing about your clothes is your personality. (and not lack thereof)

True Detective Season 2: Cheer up you 2! A True fan rant.

cheer up you two!

cheer up you two!

I have one episode left to finish watching season 2 of True Detective and I have now lost almost all hope the show will take an interesting turn to vaguely produce the spine chilling effect of season one. The motel sex scene took place and it was as sexy as witnessing an AA meeting. I for once did not see it coming and how could I? There had been no sexual tension building up in the Velcoro-Bezzerides relationship so far, and neither had there been any real chemistry between them. The two main characters have been too-superficially- preoccupied with being hopeless, weak and frustrated to blossom. Kinda like two caterpillars who fail to become butterflies. Sorry, correction, I meant three caterpillars. Vince Vaughn is another promising actor of this season that was doomed by the comatose dialogues and strange facial expressions.

Why did the directors feel they had to express this darkness so literally is beyond me. Take Colin Farrell for example, an actor which is naturally very intense in expression. You cannot go wrong with Colin Farrell, he can be intense. If however you put him to express a character so monotonously and persistently gloomy and desperate you burn him out. This way Velcorro becomes way too weak to the point that he almost becomes a parody of himself. Velcoro-Farrell’s misery should have been significantly toned down to allow the character to develop, just like Matthew McConaughey’s character in season one. I mean how can you make a boring sex scene with Colin Farrell?? Hellooooo??????

Rachel MacAdams also. I read somewhere that her character looks like it was meant initially to be a man and there was a last minute change to female. i couldn’t agree more. Ani is tough in an awkward way. She drinks like a man, talks like a man, acts like a man… Only that she is is a woman. Shame not to give her a chance to be tough-as a woman. She would probably have a better chance having some chemistry with Velcorro if she did not constantly look like she is ready to burp in his face.

And finally the storyline. The complexity of it makes it hard to follow. And then you simply give up trying to follow -there is no reason after all since many elements are not relevant- and you are just pondering how you could alter the storyline, had you had the chance. Like I did last night.

Here are randomly some of my quick “alterations”:
a) Velcoro’s personal drama is not the rape of his wife and the ambiguity of his son’s paternity (too complex and the actions of his wife do not fully make sense and come across as an attempt to victimise him and make her look ridiculously mean). He rather has a daughter that his wife has decided to keep away from men after her daughter’s school molestation case triggered her paranoia against men. She has divorced Velcoro to live with her girlfriend and gradually finds ways to push him out of his daughter’s life. This way Velcoro has some common ground to connect with Ani, apart from the fact that they are together on X case. And perhaps this way Velcoro’s depression can be explained in terms of feelings of failure as a husband and the traditional male that he is supposed to be. Velcoro has attacked and killed the molestation suspect only to find out afterwards that charges against him have been dropped by the student who faced psychological problems.

b) Ani’s character has dark long very curly hair. She is tough as a woman who has tried hard to get somewhere in her life. She emotionally connects with Velcoro after hearing stories about his personal drama (explained above). The conflict in his personal life becomes the ground on which they connect in a non romantic way (non romantic just like the show clearly intends with the stiff dialogues and naff energy between them.) The man who had assaulted her still works with her father as a respectable lifestyle mentor (she has until now repressed all memories of the event) but is illegally involved in human trafficking. Things work out this way that Velcoro gets to face and kill Ani’s molester.

c)Taylor Kitch character would be out. (why is he a main character anyway?)

d) Obviously some drastic changes on Frank’s character that are the equivalent of brain surgery. Still working on it.

Shame for all the great talent in the season. Nevertheless I still look forward to the third season of True Detective. Who knows, next time we might be pleasantly surprised.

Greek Referendum: Germany should be thankful for the OXI, it is the only moral basis for negotiation.

The Greek referendum crisis resembles a marriage crisis. The “cheater” was punished years ago with long term austerity, hardship and humiliation. One day she decided she is fed up with the hardships and even though she really does not want a divorce, if he keeps punishing her like he has done for years, she will file for one. He now feels angry and humiliated at her rebellion which exposed fully his unforgiving character to all their common friends and – passive aggressively- remains silent and vague about their future together. The ball is in his court to decide whether he will finally forgive her or let her go.

This is of course an oversimplified analogy and it is common sense that countries and their representatives do not act emotionally or whimsically. But then again whoever experienced the Greek Referendum and had the chance to look closely at the OXI voters can easily see that this was a matter of heart and pride, an emotional explosion and outcome of years of built up frustration.

When you ask your people a question, they are likely to be honest about how they feel about it. Simple people have straightforward answers. And in the case of Greece, the vast majority of the OXI voters are young and belong to a new generation that opposes lots of things. They not only object to more unemployment, poverty and humiliation but they object to the Greek political and social status quo. They say NO to political corruption, nepotism, media monopolisation and the shameless manipulation of the public by the mainstream media. They say NO to lack of functional institutions and shady laws.

Young Greeks want to remain part of European Union but they fully realise that in order to truly be there they need to get rid of debris from the past. That was the NO of the new blood. And it was even more reinforced by the weakness and lack of respect of the YES campaign, carried out by discredited symbols of the old political world.

Germany should be thankful for the Greek “No”. It shows maturity and willingness to be European in the true sense of the word. It shows responsibility and desire to be treated like an equal, not a misbehaved kid. It shows commitment to carry out its responsibilities and to work hard towards economic development. It is the only moral stance on which an honest and productive relationship can be built.

A newfound appreciation for Sex and the City 2

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When Sex and the City 2 was released a few years ago it was a huge letdown to the SATC fans around the world. Those who, like me, grew up watching the popular 90’s show had high expectations that the second movie (and the first one too as a matter of fact) would measure up to the original epic series with similar wit and spirit.

But the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. In the second movie the characters come across as extremely shallow and selfish, even though none of them any longer has to deal with the single New York gal drama. The scenario is lazy and does not do any favours to the weak storyline maimed by constant bitching and navel gazing. For all I know, It could have been an episode of “the Real Housewives of New York”. I remember watching the film in a London theater thinking it cannot get any worse than that.

I won’t get into more details about how bad an impression it made. I have read some pretty aggressive reviews, including some really angry bloggers taking it out on the web. SJP gets a lot of the slamming (as she did anyway during the series) and if you ask me she does not deserve it. If anything it is her solid acting that makes Carrie look exactly as she is supposed to: self centred, childish and selfish.

And then last night when I put my-tired- feet on the sofa and watched it for a second time it finally dawned on me. You see, the real SATC finished in Paris on that very well made last season finale. There is nothing else to say after that, because the whole point for the existence of the show was the single girls’ game and the (dis)enchantment. Once that problem is settled, you get Real Housewives. So what was the film about? The film (no doubt made for profit by the producers) was what we could call Carrie’s Dream: A dream or a fantasy single girl Carrie has one particularly hot Summer afternoon in her tiny New York apartment: a dream of lavish apartments , glamorous parties and designer clothes, as well as luxurious jets awaiting to fly her and her chums to exotic faraway places, and the only worry in sight the struggle to keep the sparkle alive between her and the man of her dreams. And mostly the very challenged idea throughout the original series that you can afford a collection of Manolos (among other designer names) on a columnist stipend.(A day’s work typically including lunch out with the girls, popping to Gucci to treat yourself with a pair of shoes or a bag, and lots of strolling around town with a cappuccino in hand). Those who have read the original book by Candace Bushnell may snort ironically right now. You see, there was little doubt how Carrie could afford her Manolos and it surely wasn’t because she was paid generously for her writing.

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So therefore Carrie’s dream starts way before the film Sex and the City 2 was made: Her life as a writer in NYC already belongs to an imaginary realm. Which makes SATC 2, as a romantic poet would say “A Dream within a Dream”.

The cues pointing to my dream theory are numerous. The most obvious of course the fact that the film does not take itself seriously. It does not even try to become more real or inclusive but proudly displays its over the top aesthetic. Garish gay wedding with bonus Lisa Minelli performance? Check. Handsome butlers in $22,000 a night suites? Check. Last minute Christian Dior shopping to ride a camel?Check. At the end of the day it becomes 146 minute trip to Wonderland where you are requested to leave your brain at the door (you won’t need it anyway) and indulge in this purely eye candy experience.

In the beginning of the film Big and Carrie snuggle up in the hotel bed and watch black and white movies on the tv. Here we are also reminded not to get too stressed or too eager to identify with either of them. (Not that it is possible for any human being to identify with Big, I mean the guy does not even have a name during the series). Carrie and Big are just another version of old movies’ characters: Cary Grant and the Hitchcock blonde. You are allowed to escape to that New York city with them, avoiding comparisons, expectations and disappointments. You are allowed to leave your lousy day at the door: that colleague that treated you badly,your money problems, your tired thoughts about life. You are allowed to indulge, two feet on the sofa and a glass of wine on the side. You are allowed to sneer and snort ironically and with delight. And go to bed at night to dream of faraway places too.

And that’s what happened to me after a physically and mentally strenuous day, I put my feet up and I let go. I ended up enjoying watching Sex and the City 2, and in my mind, I finally got it.

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