Ben in Hong Kong©

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Decisions made

I have made my decision as to where I should live next year. Should it have been.

a) Near work but in Kowloon (the mainland)

b) Half hour commute from work and on Hong Kong Island

After consultation with the parents they very typically said that I should be where I will have the most fun. Taking that into consideration I have decided that option 'b' is the right decision to make. Plus I quite like the idea of having a stretch of sea between myself and work.

Now all I need to do is work out where to live. At the moment i am arriving in Honkers on Sunday evening with no home at all, just the sofa of a kind hearted friend.

Either way it will soon be time to look down and say goodbye to green fields and hello to tropical jungle. Lovely.



You know you get cheap air tickets when....

...your Dad and brother start making plans to visit your new flat in Hong Kong for a long weekend.

To help you move in and put shelves up etc.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not quite in Hong Kong

So after living in the wilderness for nearly 2 weeks I am back in the land of the internet! I have been working at a summer camp which is connected to a charity school based in Chicago. I used to work at the camp for three summers previous but this time returned as a volunteer, partly because I was not there for the whole summer and partly because the charity is facing some financial difficulty. If you want to know more about what the organization does, or feel like donating some money to a good cause then check out their website (here).

The camp itself is based in North Wisconsin which is known as the dairy capital of America. Considering I have been in the very undairy city of Hong Kong for the past few months it was a nice area to visit! The camp is 8 hours drive north of Chicago near the town of Winter, smack bang in the middle of a huge national forest and quite frankly miles away from anything. To emphasise my point, if you wanted to visit the town you were looking at an hour drive to get there. Even then the place is tiny beyond belief and everyone seems to know everyone else!

But what was fantastic about working there was that as the following pictures demonstrate. It was the total opposite of Hong Kong in every single way.

400 acre Lake Blaisdale which the camp overlooks

The staff at camp this summer

The standard log cabin with sometimes up to 25 dead animals all looking back at you...

A very much alive inahbitant of the lake

Just in case you forget where you are, the flag is flying most of the time

The lifeguard crew

It was a tradition that every morning a group of brave staff swam across the lake and back before the kids got up. I reinstated the tradition of the night swim though. Which as it sounds is a swim across the lake in pitch darkness, quite freaky but amazing once you float on your back and look up at the stars. Below is a picture of the night swim team before embarking on our journey.

What was brilliant was I got to meet all my local friends as well. Here we are at a bonfire which as you can see was a bit out of control. We are not leaning for the camera but in fact leaning from the heat!

The night was going well till a rather drunk local decided to get out his chainsaw and try to chop down a tree at 1am...

me and some of my cabin kids

Sophie Sage and myself with our 'family' of girls. Something tells me she may have cheated...

Me teaching the chopsticks

And me helping some children have overdoses of sugar with the aid of fire and Marshmellows

I went to the local Musky Festival. Now a Musky is a fish... so perhaps that gives a small indication of the type of area I have been living in. They even have a 'Musky Queen' pageant.

The gang at a local bar with Dave (in the yellow). Dave is a bit of a mystery but an awful lot of fun. He does not seem to need to work but lives a lifestyle that suggests he is comforatble. To inquire about why he has chosen to hole up in North Wisconsin, or what he used to do previously is to often get some rather evasive answers. I'm thinking possible ex gangster. He is the 'Entertainment Director' for all of the staff whenever we get a break, and he never fails to show us a great time, be it on jet skis, speed boats or just generally going bar hopping.

To explain this picture above i just need to mention that Dave is in a legal battle over property which has resulted in the current property owner placing signs round the area saying "If you see Dave (surname) within 1 mile of this property call 911"
So we had the yellow T-Shirt made front and back

Overall it has been a fantastic holiday. It feels like I have been gone for months and it was a welcome break from Hong Kong. I am in England for a few days now till Friday when I jet back to the madness!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where I am now

I am in Chicago now and going up to camp tomorrow morning. I am technically on holiday but working for a children's summer camp I used to be part of during most of the break. My flight to Chicago was ok but the stop over in London was better. I had a fried breakfast with a big glass of milk and it tasted sooooo good!

I will try and post pictures next time I am at a computer but i'm not sure what the facilities will be like at camp!


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Small World

So in usual Ben style I slept for 10 hours of the 12+ hour flight to get from Hong Kong to Heathrow. I am now at an internet terminal trying to pass the time between now and my next flight to Chicago.

Things that have happened so far to me on my journey:

1) I was moved from my cramped seat between two strangers to an emergency exit seat because the stewardess took pity on me.

2) Quite randomly I found myself waiting to board my plane in Honkers along with 2 people who went to my boarding school with me. They were on their way back from Australia. There was some initial problems because they knew my name but i did not know theirs. In a moment of genius though I started talking about passport photographs. Finally they showed me their passport pic and I could covertly establish who the hell these people were.

3) Once I arrived in Heathrow I got a train to terminal 4. Sat with me was no less than Robson Green from 'Robson and Jerome' fame. Not quite as good as the time I sat next to 'dirty Den', from Eastenders but i was chuffed!

Anyway, gotta go get my ticket now!!!!! Chicago here I come!!!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Rain, Rain, Rain

This is concerning..............................................

Good point: I am leaving the country to America on Friday night

Bad point: The thunderstorm warnings tomorrow may well delay my flight out of here!



Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Unwanted Visitor

There I was having a shower.

Something moving suddenly caught my eye; it did not take long to realize that crawling up the other side of the frosted glass of my shower was a gigantic cockroach. Paralyzed with fear I watched as it seemed to climb higher and higher to the point where no longer a barrier existed between me and the creep crawly.

Abruptly the critter stopped. Sensing my opportunity I slowly opened the other shower door and leaning very carefully just reached the bug spray which was sitting on top of the toilet. Still only able to see its vague outline I poked the nozzle over the top of the shower door and napalmed my bathroom intruder.

Using my towel as a mask I waded out of the bathroom to inspect my giant kill with the mind to perhaps send it to a taxidermist and have it mounted on my wall…

…But it was in fact only the size of a 5 penny piece, the frosted shower room glass seems to have magnifying properties.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Worlds Apart

In Hong Kong: It's 8.30 AM. The temperature is 30.c and the humidity index is 85 %, hitting 90% before the end of the day

In England: It's 1.30 AM. The temperature is 14.c and the humidity index is at 65%.

Basically I am melting.


Reading Material

With everyone packing their stuff and moving out, I am starting to be given lots and lots of books. One such book I found on my doorstep last night was this happy little read.

Is it me or is that not a little weird? If I read this, and worked in a school, I would be looking over my shoulder every step!


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Miss Gweebs has left the building

Adam has officially stolen Robyn away. She has not only left the building, she has left Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island and the entire bloody country! She is now in Macau waiting for a plane to whisk her away to Malaysia :(

This has been the final weekend for lots of people in Hong Kong, so we have all been trying to organize tons of leaving events. I'm not sure if it was planned intentionally, but practically everyone went to a bar called 'The Keg', as a final leaving celebration. It was nice because that was the first bar we all went to as a group when we arrived in Hong Kong. We also went for dinner at the 'Good Luck House' and had drinks at the Russian Ice Vodka Bar. Which again oddly enough are all things we did on our first weekend out as a group.

Wanting to try and keep the final weekend going as long as possible, we went to a karaoke bar last night. It was my first proper karaoke experience and I had a fantastic time. We were all in a private room and belting out the most out of tune songs I expect the bar staff have ever heard. It was really funny and I can see it becoming a more regular occurance next year.

I left at around 2 am as I had work on Monday. Robyn however decided to stay out till she had to leave Hong Kong (5 am this morning!!) She woke me up before she left and lets just say that with our goodbyes Adam must have thought we were both a little bit mad.

Now I am faced with a little bit of a dilemma. My boss is starting to talk about helping organise where I will live next year and the truth is I can't decided! Our office is moving into Kowloon off the island in a few months, so I need to commute 30 minutes every day if I want to stay in Wan Chai. Now I love Wan Chai, but the thought of a daily hour commute does not fill me with joy. If I was to move off the island I would live in Mong Kok, which to me is an area that has the most character. It is a hard decision though because I have grown quite accustomed to the 24 hour lifestyle the living on the island provides. It's a tough decision!

Right, my lunch break is nearly over so I need to stop typing now. I leave you with a picture that I took of Robyn and Nikki (our neighbour) leaving the flat in the lift. Quite how I persuaded our security guard to let me through i don't quite remember, vodka did help though!