Ben in Hong Kong©

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!!!

1 comment:

David said...

small trip down the memory lane.
I kind of miss a good work out in a refreshing lake in the morning.