Nov 02, 2006|
For all our long hours in the office, we deserve proper lunch breaks. But according to a recent survey by Diabetes Hong Kong, 69 percent of 1,322 office workers interviewed said their lunches lasted 20 minutes or less. Their food of choice: fast. 20 minutes? That’s just enough time to queue at the elevator, make it around the corner to McDonalds and back (better eat while you walk). Another 30 percent of respondents said they bring their own meals and microwave it in the office. Even in primary school, we got a full 45-minute lunch – plus playground time.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Office workers, stand up (between the hours of 1-2pm – oh why do we still have mandatory lunch hours?) and get out of the office on your next lunch break. Eat something nice, meet friends, go to the gym, do whatever you need to do to relax and prepare yourself for an afternoon back at the grind. Many in the city are increasingly refusing to wait in long takeout lines and instead are reclaiming their 60 minutes to take care of life’s other needs. If you want to join these people in reclaiming some me-time, here are some suggestions.
Yes, nothing will clear your head faster than shooting a gun. When you are staring at that black dot staring back at you 50 feet away, your cluttered mind just empties, your breathing is controlled, and you’re focused only on that black dot. Believers compare it to yoga. So give it a go. Phoenix Gun Club, 1/F, Chun Fai Center, 9 Chun Fai Road, Jardine’s Lookout, 2881-5546 or China Gun Club, 2/F, Futura Plaza, 111-113 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, 2915-0088.
Try out the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira – it’s amazing for your body and not as painful as the waxing. Capoeira works out all elements of your body in a routine that encompasses music, dance, acrobatics and fighting. It helps develop your flexibility, strength, balance and awareness. Part game, part workout, this exercise is suitable for people of all fitness levels and abilities. Capoeira Brazil Hong Kong is running classes at lunchtime in three locations, Wan Chai, Kowloon and Mong Kok. Check out the website www.capoeira.hk or call 9197-4429 for more information.
If you need a quickie fix-up, pop in to your doctor to have some maintenance work done. The swelling and redness that results from the injection should go down within an hour. As an alternative, you can have a botox facial, which does not require any needles. A mask temporarily freezes your face for an afternoon. Perfect for a poker face during the afternoon’s big presentation. The Firm, 15/F, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, 2525-6696.
Bored of that cross-trainer machine at the gym? Hong Kong’s many swimming pools scattered around the city provide easy access for a quick dip at lunchtime. You can choose from luxurious private pools offered by numerous hotels. The Shangri-La Hotel at Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central has a daily package for $400 where you can use the health club facilities. Cheaper options include both indoor and outdoor public pools such as Victoria Park swimming pool on Hing Fat Street, Causeway Bay. Visit the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural services website (www.lcsd.gov.hk) for a full listing of public pools.
If all the eye-sex with your colleagues is starting to disrupt your work, then swiftly move it over to the Eden. This trendy boutique hotel is the perfect place to conduct your illicit affairs and indulge your freaky fetishes. Known as one of Hong Kong’s top-level love hotels, it provides stylish, up-market rooms. The emphasis on discretion is pertinent and the employees understand your need to keep your secret rendezvous on the down-low. The Eden, 148 Wellington St., Central, 2851-0303.
Volunteer to walk a dog at the Hong Kong Dog Rescue. It will be good for you to get out of your cage and get some air and sunshine. Give some love and get some puppy love in return. 698 Victoria Road, Pok Fu Lam (just at the top of Cyberport Road), 9448-1128.
Grab your mate and stop by the marriage registry for a quickie nuptial. You will have to make an advance booking and sign a wavier that you are not marrying a minor. It takes only an hour, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks before the actual ceremony – which takes less than an hour. But after that, it’s bliss. Super-romantic and no cold feet. You come back to the office in a whole new tax bracket. Head to the Rawlinson House inside Hong Kong Park for marriage registry; or the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Take a quickie rejuvenation nap on a comfy lounge bed inside Season’s Fitness quiet room. Slip on your Bose noise-canceling earphones, set your Blackberry alarm, light the “Do Not Disturb” sign and we’ll see you in an hour. Seasons Fitness, 3/F, ICBC Tower, Citibank Plaza, 3 Garden Rd., Central, 2878-6288.
Instead of chowing down copious amounts of yum cha, hone your body muscles to perfection with “power yoga.” Power yoga gets you hot and sweaty as you work through several difficult postures. It helps release stress and tension and is a great way to escape back and neck pains from sitting at your desk all day. The synchronized breathing and fluid movement helps detoxify and purify your system. Try Planet Yoga, 2525-8288, www.planetyoga.com.hk or Pure Yoga, 8129-8000.
When was the last time you felt living grass beneath your feet? If you dare, kick off the pumps and walk barefoot through Victoria Park to get reconnected with The Mother. But bring a picnic basic from GREAT for some al fresco dining. GREAT Food Hall Basement, Two Pacific Place, Queensway, 2918-9986, call in advance for a picnic basket.
Go for a 30-minute circuit workout at the new American gym for women called Curves. This is how it works: Every 30 minutes women rotate through a series of exercise machines. They move in a circular fashion to the next machine and on to the next until they’ve used all the machines in the room. They say it burns 500 calories per workout. Better than packing on 500 calories with McDonald’s. 902 Pacific House, 20 Queen’s Rd. Central, Central, 2234-9000.
Join the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for a free lunchtime concert. Oct 27, 1pm-1:40pm. Sky Lobby, AIG Tower, Chater Rd., Central, www.hkpo.com.
Feeling bloated? Try a lunchtime colonic. Cleaning your colon involves having a lubricated tube inserted into your behind while someone injects clear fluid into your body. As unappealing as it sounds, colon-cleansing is very beneficial for your health. It helps detoxify your entire system and rid you of excess waste. It definitely won’t make you feel like eating any time soon either, once you see what comes out of you. Natural Path offers the procedure for $500 per session. 8/F, Malahon Centre, 8-12 Stanley Street, Central, 3110-1018.
Escape the dreariness of the office wallpaper and your colleague’s annoying laugh by riding off into the Hong Kong wilderness. The Hong Kong Jockey Club riding school offers a range of classes for all horse-riding abilities. The school offers classes in three different locations: Tuen Mun in the New Territories, and Pok Fu Lam and Lei Yue Mun Park, both on Hong Kong Island. If you can skive off work long enough to saddle up one of Hong Kong’s many ex-race horses you are sure to be rewarded with a tranquil lunch break. For more information, call 2461-3338 or visit www.hkjcridingschools.com. $360 for an hour (adults); $290 for 45 minutes (children).
Sick of being the one guy who can't say more than “ho a”? Take a one-hour Cantonese class during your lunch break. You can scarf down a sandwich during class and learn how to stop being the ignorant foreigner who can only mutter and nod politely at fuming waiters. The Pacific Language Center runs Cantonese classes in private and group lessons. Private lessons are $200 and up. Pacific Language Center, 2/F-3/F, Dah Sing Building, 99-105 Des Voex Rd., Central. Call 2287-5115 or visit www.pacificlanguage.com for more information.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a cheese connoisseur? Head down to recently opened Classified on Hollywood Road. The new store features a fresh deli downstairs with a sumptuous selection of fresh ham and cooking oils. Upstairs is home to one of Hong Kong’s finest cheese rooms. The room is chilled to maintain the best environment for cheeses and offers a wide selection of unique, tasty fromage frais. Classified additionally has a wine cellar stocking a fine selection of wines and Mirabella chocolates from New York. G/F, 108 Hollywood Road, Central, 2525-3444.
Do some lunchtime shopping to spice up your upcoming evening. Head straight to Agent Provocateur where you are submersed in lacy knickers, raunchy corsets and bodacious suspender belts. If you are feeling floral, try the “Francoise” pale pink lace with a black chantilly overlay. Or if you are feeling naughtier, check out Agent Provocateur’s “Dita” playsuit. From a distance, this black PVA suit looks only like black shoelaces and an eye patch. Naughtiness will no doubt ensue. Agent Provocateur, Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St, Central.
If you find yourself sweating profusely from that two-minute walk out of one air-conditioned building into the next, then ice-skating might be for you. Hong Kong has two state-of-the-art ice-skating rinks. The Festival Walk Glacier is the largest ice rink in Hong Kong (UG, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, 2844-3588. www.glacier.com.hk). The City Plaza ice rink is another option if you’re on Hong Kong Island (1/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Rd., Tai Koo Shing, Island East, 2844-8688). An ice-skating ticket costs between $45-60 and if you are lucky you might even get to watch a professional performance while you’re there.
When no one is looking, pop under your desk, and sit in silence for a moment or two. For extra privacy, drape a jacket over your head. It’s like you’re not even there. Or if you’re into group meditation, then at 12:45 every Thursday, you can “ohm” with the best of them at the Vajradhara Buddhist Meditation Centre in Wan Chai. It’s followed by an organic veggie lunch. Takeaway lunch boxes are also available. 21 Tai Wong St. East, Wan Chai, 2507-2237.
Bored of chewing? Try slurping down a liquid lunch. Hit Klong bar (G/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai) for half-price drinks from noon onwards daily. You could sample one of their famous Thai martini cocktails and have a swing on the dancing pole in the middle of the room. If the bar scene just brings back horrible memories from last night, or you are one of those fruity-tooty cucumber-loving people, hit one of MIX’s common outlets where you can grab a vegetable liquid lunch or a Dr. Feel Good, consisting of blueberries, raspberries and sorbet to revitalize you for the office.
There’s no shame in bird watching. Head to Hong Kong Park and take a moment in the bird observatory to reflect on how similar the office politics of that cage are to your workplace. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere. And hey, it’s free. Hong Kong Park Conservatory, 2853-2566.
If Hong Kong is starting to get a little too crowded and stressful, why not spend an hour to plan your ideal holiday? Lastminute.com.hk has loads of great deals to nearby destinations like Thailand, Cambodia, Beijing, and Vietnam for under $2,000 return. Even if you are planning for a long weekend holiday, there are countless options that include cheap air and accommodation deals. Travel Expert also offers many reasonable holiday packages. Call 2525-2540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you’re going to do lunch anyway, then you might as well do it right.
The Peninsula Hotel will helicopter you and friends to a secluded beach for a picnic lunch complete with personal butler. 18 Middle Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2920-2888. Price too high to print
Gaddi’s Kitchen has a chef’s table where you can watch all the talent it takes to get you some calories. Best of all, the chef will prepare a menu especially for you. 18 Middle Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2920-2888.
Dragon-I has a two-course Peking duck meal they can deliver to your next lunch conference. $480 for a whole duck, $250 for half. Centrium, 60 Wyndham , Central, 3110-1222.
Super Star Seafood Restaurant will bring siu mai, BBQ pork buns, prawn dumplings and chicken rice wrapped in lotus leaves right to your desk. 1/F, Shui On Centre, 8 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai, 2628-0989.
DOZO! has beautiful black bento boxes stuffed with jet-fresh sushi, and ready for takeaway. 44 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2581-1338.