Women prefer cigars.
There are two women who post pictures regularly on one of the FB pipe forums. They always look content, and intelligent. That is not the case with all the men whose faces show up there, some of whom look like haggard and disappointed heavy metal freaks or nerdy basement dwellers (not their fault, they just are), and there is one chap whose selfies always look the same; front on, at arms length, slightly upward angle to the camera, while in the cab of a big rig, corncob pipe, and a rather interesting description of what he's doing right now (picking up a load, or dropping off a load), plus mention of the aromatic he's smoking and the passage of time through a part of the country that I will probably never visit.
I always enjoy reading the brief postings from our correspondent in Hong Kong. He lives well, enjoys good tobacco, and has a cheerful smile. Most of his shots feature backgrounds that are not a man cave or a basement.
I do not have a cellphone, and consequently never post selfies.
But if I did, they would show me somewhere in Chinatown. Badger on Hang Ah Alley, with Toishanese gents playing volleyball in the court behind me, or a mahjong parlour entryway. Badger on Trenton Alley with the Ping Yuen West housing project mural in the background. Badger on Becket; that colourful area behind me is the Mah Tsu temple, I am framed by fierce guardians. Badger on Fa Yuen Kok, with the 'no smoking' sign to my right which I am ignoring (it is in Chinese, and as a kwailo I have plausible deniability). Badger lighting up after leaving the Washington Bakery & Restaurant, where I just enjoyed a Hong Kong milk tea and a snack.
Or Wing Hing Bakery ("double A"), or New Hollywood.
[The Washington does a rendition of baked Portuguese chicken rice which I like, and their HK club sandwich is nice. Their tiramisu pastry (意大利蛋糕) is delightful. Wing Hing ("AA") has delicious flaky egg tarts and charsiu turnovers, plus good scallion poofs. Their coconut tart is too sticky by half (though scrummy) and you will need another beverage. New Hollywood has a lotus flaky bun, egg tarts, curry puffs, and hot dishes too, but they close at six thirty. The bus driver hangs out there and rants eloquently and very entertainingly (in Cantonese). All three places have excellent Hong Kong milk tea. If you wanted century egg in a pastry crust, you are on your own, as I haven't decided which place in Chinatown does that best.
Try Yummy Bakery down on Jackson.]
Unless it is raining cats and dogs, the final pipe lit up in Chinatown will probably end with Badger on the edges of Sue Bierman Park down by the Embarcadero, with screeching and swooping parrots. Which are hard to capture in a selfie, so what's the point.
Seldom, rarely, do I hang around Waverly. But when the rains come I shall probably have to do so, or on Clay, Washington, and Jackson near Grant. The reason being that there are awnings there. Badgers like awnings in rainy weather.
On a related note, someone I know spends a good part of the year bellyaching about the weather. "It's too hot!" "It's too cold!" It's raining!"
Always dress appropriately. Especially if you lack a sleek layer of insulating body fat, have old bones, or are going through menopause.
Or, if you have a car, smoke in it.
There are benches on Commercial Street where you can sit if those old bones and creaky joints refuse to carry you any further. They've been repainted, they are clean and bright yellow. It is festive.
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