Friday, February 6
Hong Kong. Breakfast of fruit in my room, compliments of the hotel. Afterwards, another rehearsal 11 – 1 devoted to Mozart and Strauss. Same passages covered as at previous rehearsal in Tokyo. On my way out the door after finishing, I glance at my watch. It’s 11:23. There were some warnings about the acoustics at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. It’s sort of a smallish place and the sound was not too clear, although I’m not convinced we did our best to adjust our playing to the room. There is no backstage there to speak of, so much of our stuff had to be stored at the hotel, which was a bit of a drag.
After the brief rehearsal, while soaking up some of the nice warm sunny weather, a man in a turban approached me, introduced himself as a ‘Yogi from India’ and began telling me I had a lucky face, along with a number of other insightful observations about my personality – all of them way, way off. This shifty-eyed gentleman was impossible to get rid of, and I waited for the moment he would try and pick my pocket while he read my palm, where he failed to notice I have unusual markings that get most palm readers attention right away. Next, he gave me a small folded up piece of paper to hold in my fist while he asked me for a number between 1 and 5 along with the name of a flower. I’m still kicking myself for picking the obvious – 3 and Rose – but was still pretty impressed when I unfolded the paper and, sure enough, it hade 3/Rose scribbled on it. He then asked for 300 Hong Kong dollars (about 40 US) and warned it might be unlucky for me if I didn’t pay up. Not noticing any accomplice around, I felt confident in giving him only 10 HKD (about 1.20 US), already kicking myself for making such obvious choices but acknowledging a nice magic trick on his part. At that point the mood turned a bit ugly and he demanded more money. When I refused, he cursed me (literally: “I curse you!”) and walked off muttering probably much worse in Hindi.
Saturday, February 7
Breakfast of coffee at Starbuck’s. (They have them here too!) Nothing scheduled until the evening when we had a 45 minute rehearsal, 90 minutes before a 90-minute performance of Mahler 6.