Ben in Hong Kong©

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


H a p p y
Lots of love Ben xx

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wedding Bells

Two Western friends of mine are considering asking their Chinese girlfriends to marry them. Whilst these are very romantic gestures the result has uncovered a new economic aspect to wedded bliss in Hong Kong that I was not aware of.

I call it 'paying off the parents'

One American friend of mine has already proposed to his Chinese girlfriend of 7 years. She comes from a very traditional family and it was therefore expected that my friend first seek the permission of her parents. What shocked me was not that people still ask permission to do such things, it is that a financial deal needs to be agreed between the boyfriend and the parents before anything is allowed to take place.

100,000 Hong Kong Dollars is the price my friend has to pay his girlfriends parents in order to be permitted to marry her. This can be paid by installments or in one lump sum. Prices are varied depending on the family and the girl. I have since discovered families that have requested one million Hong Kong Dollars or more for their daughters hand in marriage.

My friend being charged 100,000 HKD has caused conversation. Additionally it turns out he was already paying the family a considerable monthly sum since his relationship with the daughter became serious.

Another friend I know was dating a Chinese girl and also paying the family 5000 HKD a month for the honour. He told me that during the period where he was paying these monthly installments his girlfriends younger sister was also renting a room in their flat.
Frustratingly the girlfriends younger sister was receiving roughly the same amount of pocket money from the parents as my friend was paying them to date their eldest daughter. He said it was annoying to see his money going towards ipods, clothing and expensive makeup.

Since then that relationship has now ended, and I don't think he got a refund.

I am considering summing up this post by ranting about romance being dead in Hong Kong and the whole place revolving around money. Or perhaps I could take an understanding tone and recognize that this is a different culture and they have different customs and systems.

I am going to do none of these things though. Instead I will start taking bets on which of my friends girlfriends will have the highest price for marriage.

If you know the friends I am talking about you can place your bets....



Sunday, December 21, 2008

We have a problem

So i'm still in Hong Kong, slightly hung over, and not in the Philippines.

I did not arrive in the Philippines due to a series of unfortunate events. Which will not require too much explaining.

Firstly we arrived at the airport on time, two hours before the plane was due to take off. This made me happy because I like things to be on time.

We waited in line to check in with mostly Filipino people and more than a few ladyboys. The ladyboys kept looking at us and smiling which was made more amusing because they looked terrible. Like grown men who had applied makeup whilst drunk and on a rollercoaster.

We arrived to check in our bags at the counter, the bags were taken and then there was a problem. The credit card Richard used to pay for the flight tickets was not actually his, it belonged to his mother and whilst the money had been paid for the flights and our names were on their database they needed to see a copy of the card used for the transaction.

In a perfect world they would have told us all this information at once upon arriving at the counter, we would have phoned up the mother of Richard and she would have faxed us a copy of her credit card to the airport head office. However they did not tell us all at once, they sent us to see someone at a separate counter who was not there. We waited, and waited, and waited. I did not wait in a quiet manner but still my increasingly angry manner did not make anyone come to help us.

So by the time someone did come to help us we discovered it was too late for us to do anything. The flight had closed, the plane had boarded, the bags were on board (though we got ours back). We could not transfer to the next flight the following day because it was fully booked, and all flights were booked till Christmas. We will get a refund on the tickets, but our Christmas trip was not going to happen.

We were both pretty angry about this but there was nothing we could do. A guy was in the airport crying and in hysterics about something that I never discovered and we both decided that it could be worse, we could have a serious problem like he seemed to be having.

We had money in our pockets and were in Macau, so of course we went gambling and drinking at the Venetian casino. We watched a fantastic live band, drank far too much and spent hours at the Roulette table. I set my limit for gambling at 500 HKD as this was the amount of money I did not mind if I lost, I did lose it, but I had a great time doing so and enough free drinks at the table to make it an economic way to spend an evening.

The plan now is that Richard and I will be doing something different every day in Hong Kong during the Christmas break. Today we are going hiking up Lions Rock which is part of the mountains surrounding Kowloon. Tomorrow I think we are going to the beach.


Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am leaving for the Philipines tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 11.30am. Our plan is to arrive in Manila for the first day then travel South to an area called Puerto Galera where will will stay a few days. Then depending on what we feel like doing the likely plan shall involve traveling back up to Manila then getting an internal flight to Cebu for another few days.

I am quite looking forward to the adventure. Last year I did not really take a holiday and ended up cashing in 9 days of my 15 days annual leave because I could never find the time to use it. I also deserve a holiday, I have not had the greatest health over the last few months and work has also been difficult.

On a positive note I was plucked from my office to go into a Primary school on Friday dressed as Father Christmas. The older children pulled at my fake beard and attacked me, the little ones thought I was the real deal though which was funny.

If I can get to the internet then I will update the blog, but until I return on 31 December I wish you all a happy new year and a very Merry Christmas! I will keep a daily diary and type it all up once I arrive back in HK.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is coming

This is a little bit of a ramble.

Hong Kong seems strange today. I can't quite put my finger on it but everyone seems to be even more militant on the streets in regards to pushing and shoving than usual. It might have something to do with Christmas but I don't remember it being this crazy.

Pre- Christmas sales have hit Hong Kong in the same way that they probably have in the UK. I walked past one shop on the way to the cinema today and they had actual real people in the shop windows modeling the sale clothes. This seems quite cool but is actually quite scary if you are not expecting them to move suddenly as you walk past.

We had our work Christmas party last night and it took place on the beach on the south side of Hong Kong island. I got slightly drunk and loud, which was probably not the best idea in the world but I did have fun.

And on a different note. The people I work with are very festive indeed.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Be nice

A good way of summing up Hong Kong is by looking at the signs that get plastered everywhere.

And these are just two of the current messages. Previous mind control has included "Take your grandmother to the dentist", and "be nice to tourists".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Panda Attack

Below is an article from the Hong Kong Standard newspaper

"Ocean Park is trying to find out why giant panda An An bit the left leg of a female keeper who has been looking after him for the past seven years.
The unidentified keeper, who has been with the park for 15 years, remains in hospital after the November 30 incident and is said to be recovering.
An An - which means "peace" in English - and his female companion, Jia Jia, - which means "Go on, bite her leg" were given to Hong Kong by the central government in 1999 to celebrate the handover."
So i might have changed a little bit of the article, but you can read the full thing here

Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry Christmas! x

click to make larger


Thursday, December 4, 2008


On my way to work today I topped up my Octopus card at a local store. An Octopus card is right up there with sliced bread and the light bulb in regards to inventions.

So when I topped up my card I asked for 100 HKD to be added. But the woman behind the counter added 300 HKD instead my mistake.

Because I was raised well by my parents I pointed out her error but she gestured for me to leave the shop quickly and so I did.

The extra money on my card is the equivalent to

17.6 British Pounds
90.9 rides on the Hong Kong star Ferry
12.5 meals of BBQ pork, rice and vegetables

This has made my day.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Sickness again

So yesterday I was sick again for my third week in a row (with three different ailments). I am not exactly sure what is wrong with me but the doctor says i am basically very run down and catching whatever the sickness of the week might be.

This is surprising because I have for the past 6 weeks been drinking less, running more and increasing my intake of vegetables and stuff. Perhaps I need to stop all this and just return to being a binge drinking, fast food eating slob.

One good thing about being in bed all day though is that I get to see the sunset in Wan Chai.

And one remedy I will not be trying can be found below.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Weather this week

Hong Kong is freezing. I am on my lunchbreak at work and wearing multiple layers and a scarf.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cultural understanding

I sat in the bus and saw that my stop was coming up. I looked up to the front of the bus and said "Yeow Loc Mm Goi", in my best Cantonese accent.

The bus did not stop.

So I tried again "Yeow Loc Mm Goi"

Still the bus continued, and we sped past my stop.

I considered that the bus driver could be deaf so I shouted loudly. "YEOW LOC MM GOI!"

This got my first reaction, the bus driver looked up at me in the mirror. But carried on driving.

By this point I was 100 meters past my stop and going downhill. Perhaps I was saying the Cantonese words wrong. Maybe I was actually saying "Ignore me please". It was time to switch to English.


This got a reaction "You want to stop the bus?" The driver asked.

"Yes!" I exclaimed, "stop the bus!" The bus driver nodded in reply.

But he could not stop the bus, we were on a busy road. Up ahead was a bus stop though, so no worries.

But we sped past that bus stop and continued on.

"You want to get off?"

But we sped past the second bus stop on the road. This was the point where I totally lost my cultural sensibility.


The bus stopped. I left in a flurry or angry brit abroad attitude.

I walked back 20 minutes to the meeting, uphill. Frustrated.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 25 Panic

Laura returned from her exciting four months traveling in Asia safe and sound. It was nice to see her again and it now feels like she has never left.

I don't think I fully appreciate how much Nikki and Laura gave up during their journey. Nikki can count on one hand how many places she stayed in that offered hot water showers. And it seems like they got into some pretty difficult situations at times too.

Still I did not fully appreciate their plight till after Laura returned home and opened up her wash bag at the kitchen table where I was sitting. Whilst she was getting ready to go to the Bridge bar for a drink, a very exotic looking cockroach crawled out of her washbag and towards my arm.

I'm not going to lie, I did jump up and scream a little.

But the cockroach was not the only thing that Laura and Nikki have returned home with. They seem to have also returned with The 25 Panic.

The 25 Panic is not hard to explain. It is a medial condition that I have witnessed taking place in Hong Kong every year and it goes in the following stages.

  1. People realize they are turning 25
  2. They then then realize that their life is not on track for the career/children/marriage/house/white picket fence they imagined they should have by now
  3. They panic and do something drastic

I can provide numerous case studies that are examples of people I know hitting the 25 Panic but to do so would be unfair. So rest assured that I can think of at least 6 people I know who have caught the disease and quite often run away back to London looking for the cure.

Laura put it best when she realized that her list of "things I want to do before I'm 30" will take her to the age of 60 to complete, and how can you factor in living in Europe, learning a language, skydiving and visiting numerous countries with the additional issues of finding a career?

So this was the subject of conversation round the dinner table last night, and this is how those people deal with the situation.

Laura: Talks about the 25 Panic

Nikki: Avoids thinking about the 25 Panic

George: Does not need to think about the 25 Panic as he is 21 or 22 (i forget)

Ben (me): Has got a list of options regarding his 25 Panic but can't actually decide which one to take. Causing panic.

So on May the 8th 2009 prepare for my 25 Panic. I might shut down the blog, move to Indonesia, take up pig hunting and change my name. Let us hope that a 25 Panic pill can be found before then.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kowloon City Strike Force

"So why did you decide to be in a band if you are not really that great at playing the guitar"? I asked Donald a few weeks ago.

"Well, when you get older, you have to be able to say you were once in a band", came the reply.

Last night was the debut for 'Kowloon City Strike Force', a band consisting of four guys, three of which I have known since arriving in Hong Kong. It was an accident that they were even on stage last night, Donald got drunk and agreed to the band playing after another band pulled out at the last minute.

Well the location of the show was the first problem. It was in Kwun Tong which is further than we are used to travelling for a night out. The second issue was the location, it was on the tenth floor of a warehouse building that was in a quiet backstreet of a quiet area you would never think of normally going for a show. We knew that we were in the right place though because we got into a lift with a bunch of black dressed gothic looking Chinese music fans.

And the warehouse name was amusing.

So other than being the only Western people on the 10th floor of a warehouse building in a backstreet of Hong Kong... How did they do?

Well you can click here for a quick video of them playing.

And here are a couple of pictures.

And my opinion was that they were quite good, but the main focus was on Richard the drummer. He was in the middle of the stage and more of a showman than the rest. He was also really loud, kind of like a kid with a new drum set in a library. Kids should be seen and not heard, Drummers should be heard and not seen. Richard was both. Though he was good.

I think if they manage to get a balance sorted out then they would be better.

This is Ben, music critic with not musical talent, reporting from Hong Kong.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Caption Competition

Please no one tell her this is on here.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Financial Crisis...

Seeing as Hong Kong is a financial hub, and the whole world is currently gripped by a financial crisis, I thought I would write about how it is affecting me.

Well it is not really causing me any bother at all. The only slight personal change I have noticed is that some European yogurt I used to buy has gone up in price by about 20 Hong Kong dollars in one week. So I stopped buying it and instead now buy a Chinese brand that is probably laced with Melamine. I know some banking people who are at risk from losing their jobs, and I know that quite a few others have lost them already, but other than this Hong Kong seems to be business as usual.

If anything, the financial problems are quite good for me right now. The exchange rate for Hong Kong dollars to British Pounds last year was about 15.9. It is now 11.4. This means that saving money has beome that little bit easier whilst the cost of living in Hong Kong is basically the same.

I know that this is not going to be the case forever though. Within the next year I will be job hunting and then I will be likely facing some issues, till then I am not really bothered by the rise and fall of stock markets.

In other news Laura returns from her massive 4 month trek this evening and our other friend George is also visiting Hong Kong for a few days at the same time. Nikki has been sleeping on my floor for quite a while since she returned back from travelling and she has just moved out yesterday to go and stay somewhere else. I thought it would be difficult to have her staying in my small flat for so long but it has actually been really easy. Truth be told I quite miss her at the moment!

It is Saturday morning as I type this and I have no plans at all. We were meant to be going hiking and camping this weekend but it got called off. Instead I am meeting Nikki and George at the Flying Pan for breakfast in half an hour and then we will see where the wind takes us. We went to the Bridge bar last night so I feel we deserve a fry up.


ps: For Hannah and anyone else interested, I found a video of Chris doing standup omedy on yourtube (Chris used to work for he company) click here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pictures from the Sedan Chair Race

There is quite a bit of focus on a girl dressed as a mouse. That is my friend Kristy and she was very funny.


Monday, November 17, 2008


I am going to the Philippines for Christmas!!!

This is exciting because it is a new place in Asia that I have never travelled to. I am going with a friend who is very organized when it comes to planning trips etc, so it means I don't have to do too much organizing which is good.

I was at first a little bit concerned about the Philippines because it has mixed reviews and some dangerous areas. I did my research though and discovered that there are certain places you should avoid, but otherwise it is just as dangerous as parts of London.

The weekend has now passed and I spent it going to Sai Kung for an amazing bbq and also the peak to see a friend dress as a mouse and take part in a sedan chair race for charity. Pictures to come soon!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Jumbo Goodness

On Sunday I had a massive brunch consisting of spring rolls, eggs benedict, sushi, crab, beef steaks, mozzarella, curry, prawns, cheesecake, ice cream and topped off with a bloated sick feeling.

This came as a result of my visit to the famous Jumbo floating restaurant which does not float but actually sits on concrete in the middle of the water. I was slightly let down when i learnt this.

There was quite a few of us who went for brunch, but Nikki and I turned up first. This made me happy because I hate being late for anything. Nikki had been out the night before and had not slept, so she did not appreciate the food on quite the same level as we did, she also did not appreciate me making her rush to arrive on time. Especially when everyone else was late. Below you can see her looking all lonely at the end of the table before everyone arrived.

But soon the table was full

We also had unlimited drink during the brunch so it made sense to get very drunk.

In other news I have some friends visiting this week who I worked with in America. It is fantastic showing them around and will throw some pictures up here as soon as I get them. I have been giving them lots of tourist things to do.


Winter is here

Winter today has hit Hong Kong.

Winter in Hong Kong is not really winter by any normal standard. The temperature today is 19c, the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. What makes this winter though is that there is now a slight breeze and the humidity level has dropped to 23%.

This is a very big deal as It means that people in Hong Kong can now begin to look like Arctic explorers. Today I have seen people wearing coats, extra jumpers and even one weirdo wearing gloves.

It also means that people walk faster, which I always forget till I'm overtaken on foot by a grumbling grandmother. On the way back home today I felt like I was racing with a pack of crazed people in suits. I employed dirty tactics such as fake coughing loudly to get other people to disperse from round me. Everyone being paranoid about sickness can sometimes work to your advantage.

I'm sure it is not winters fault, but I also have a new neighbour who I managed to insult in spectacular fashion. She has moved in across the hall and rang my doorbell at 9am on Sunday morning to introduce herself. In my defence, the only people who ring my doorbell before 9am or after 9pm are annoying salespeople trying to sell me TV packages. I looked through the spyhole and she was carrying papers with her, so I opened the door, witnessed the usual shock that I was not Chinese, listened to her mumble something then said "I'm sorry, I'm not Chinese, try next door," and closed the door.

Amoment too late I realized that she was not dressed like a salesperson, looked through the spyhole, and saw her go into the flat opposite and close the door.

Hopefully I will undo this bad start with a nicely worded Christmas card.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Hot and Cold

I have Tonsillitis again!

I went to the doctors today and am now on antibiotics. This caused me to go to the shop, stock up on Ribena, water, bread and ice-cream then retreat to my flat. Nikki has gone to the beach, which is quite a good idea seeing as the whole place is now a contamination site.

Other exciting news is that my air-conditioner has recently been fixed after being broken for 3 weeks. I was not really bothered too much when it was broken because I like to sleep in the warmth, but Nikki likes the cold. To compensate for this we have placed the remote control for the aircon between us on a chair (Nikki is sleeping on a matress on the floor). We now have continuous battles when we wake up in the night and turn it on or off though. I think I will blame the tonsillitis on her and the aircon :)

Anyway, time for me to go back to sleep!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

A serious event in Hong Kong

It is now 1am On November the 2nd, and I am watching TV with Nikki. She is staying with me for a week and then will travel to a different friends floor for a further week. This is a cycle that will continue till she can move back into her flat at the start of December. It's quite nice to have her back, so I don't mind having her. Plus I am basically providing a charitable service to a homeless person, so i'm sure good karma will result.

Halloween 2008 has now been and gone in Hong Kong. It is an event that is taken very seriously here and is one of the best nights of the year. My theory is that generally people in Hong Kong are quite uptight, the community consists of bankers and lawyers and a largely conservative local Chinese base. So on Halloween everyone seems to take advantage of an excuse to have fun on a large scale.

Whilst mentioning bankers, it was a banker friend of mine called Matt who offered to host a Halloween party at his flat. However, during the organizing of the event it became apparent that we might be inviting too many people, and needed a larger space. It was at this point that someone who knew Matt offered his flat as an alternative venue, which Matt explained as being 'quite a large place'.

Well large does not describe it. When I walked into the flat my mouth almost hit the floor, the place was massive on almost a ridiculous scale. It was possibly larger than my family house in England, but it was in the mid-levels of Hong Kong. A very exclusive area. I could not begin to put a price on the place but it was clear that the owner must have a great deal of money. Walking around the flat you could see some pictures the owner was displaying on electronic photo frames. At first they all looked like normal family pictures, they contained relaxed settings and images of children and a man who I later discovered to be the owner of the flat. Except that when you looked closer, you could see that there were additional guests in the photos. Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, George Bush Senior, the Chinese presidents and various other dignitaries all featured in the family shots. This guy was clearly well connected.

However, whilst the owner of the flat did seem to have an abundance of money and power, he thankfully did not seem to have an abundance of character or manners. This was something that the rest of the guests at the party did have, so I left the venue not feeling the slightest bit jealous.

And now, onto the pictures.


ps I am aware I look pretty much the same as I did last year, my original plan was going to go as dead Steve Irwin but I was told that this would be insensitive.

pps I am trying something new with my pictures, if you can't view them you need to download software called flash player. Let me know if you can't see them

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Have you ever woken up one morning and wondered to yourself what the Central District of Hong Kong looked like in 1964?

Click here to find out!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When family friends visit...

At the request of the parents I have found the most embarrassing picture I could find of Samantha when she came to visit in Hong Kong. Despite the mid-dance-move picture, you can clearly see that she is not the middle aged boring person that I had imagined she would be. She is a young, crazy dancing fantastic lunatic :) .

(Although in this picture it does look like I am trying to ignore her, though this is not the case!)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pictures from the Swim

As promised, here are some pictures from the 2400 meter cross ocean swim I wrote about earlier this month.

Below is a couple of shots showing the finish area and you can see the dots swimming in the water. I am one of those dots trying very hard to beat my friends in the race.

And here we all are with our certificates.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bindoa Nikki?

Nikki Fowler is lost.
And without money.

And she is a tiny bit of a disaster.

I would not make such allegations without some proof to back me up, so I will direct you all to this story .

Nikki was supposed to be here at noon today and it was planned that she would be sleeping on my floor. She is coming back early because she has run out of cash, leaving Laura to get drunk and adventure South East Asia all on her own.

I can't help but wonder what type of Nikki will be returning to Hong Kong. She might return a well travelled buddhist like character, having found herself whilst sitting on stunning beaches like this. Or perhaps nothing has changed, which this holiday snapshot argues quite well.

Either way, she has not yet arrived.

So I ask you to all be on the lookout for Nikki, because she could turn up anywhere.

This has probably been my longest period not updating the blog for some time. I have good reasons though. We lost an employee (on good terms) to work elsewhere in Hong Kong, and so I had to hire someone else. This is quite a bit of work and so my head has been stuck in a work related bubble all week. Good news is that someone arrived from the UK on Saturday to start work, so now I am back in the land of the living.

I leave you with some pictures taken on a weekend work activity day.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

2400 Meter Swim

This was the 36th Annual swimming race held in Tai Po. Whilst I thought we would be the only Western people amongst the thousands of Chinese folks I was wrong, there was one other Western guy looking equally out of place.

We ended up at this random event because of a Chinese friend who told us about it and translated the application form. As you would expect for an event that has taken place for the 36th time, everything was organized with near military precision.

We all met at a coach station near the local town and the idea was that you place your belongings in plastic bags that are numbered, then these bags are left on the coach and guarded by boy scouts.
However, the Chinese friend we were with had his dad with him who also owned a car! He felt that it was best that we leave the belongings in his car and then get on the coach to be taken to the starting point. This would mean that we do not have to wait at the finish line to collect our belongings which was good, but it also meant that we had to get changed to swim in the local town and walk to the coaches barefoot and in swimming trunks... which was bad.

In the New Territories of Hong Kong you get stared at enough just because you are white, but when you are with four friends striding up the street wearing swimming trunks then you are more than just a spectacle. At one point when we crossed the zebra crossing I had this flashback to that famous photo of the Beatles crossing the road, except this time it was the McDonalds overweight version.

The swim itself took me an hour from start to finish. The first half hour I was taking it quite easy, staring at the mountains around me and swimming on my back. Then in the second half I realised two things.

  1. One of my team mates called Don will be taking this race very seriously and wanting to beat me
  2. If you take longer than 1.5 hours to do the swim they pull you out of the water and onto a boat

At these two thoughts I started to really swim hard, and managed to keep slightly ahead of the average swimmers of the group.

I beat Donald too, which really made my day.

Although beating him may mean that I hurt quite a bit tomorrow.


ps: Thanks goes to the parents who took me swimming almost daily as a young boy

pps: Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eggs ahoy

It seems that stupid mistakes involving eggs run in the family.

I arrived home yesterday evening after a particularly hard day at work. In my sleepy state I decided that I quite fancied eating two hard boiled eggs. I turned on my electric cooking pan, I added water and eggs, and then promptly fell asleep.

What happens if you boil eggs for 7 hours on maximum heat?... They explode.

I woke up to a strong burning smell and jumped out of bed. There was egg stuck to my ceiling, there was egg on my floor, there was even egg shell on my bed. As I type I can still see some egg under my chair.

But exploding eggs are not the only exciting thing that will be happening to me this week. Somehow I have become involved in a charity swim that should take about 1.2 hours in the South China Sea. I will be swimming in an area called Tai Po.

I'm not 100% sure because the instructions about the event are all in Chinese, but from what I understand, the journey is across the harbour. If you click here you can be taken to a map. I believe I am swimming across the gap.

The swim itself will see me having to wake up at 6.45am on a Sunday morning, and apparently I will be one of four Western people taking part, and I know all of them.

My Chinese friend has told me this will get us in the news.

There are sharks in Hong Kong.


Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sam is a family friend who I have never met. She works for British Airways and was scheduled to visit Hong Kong this weekend, so she very kindly carried a package of goodies from my Mum and Dad to give to me.

Sam is a family friend because she lives next door to my grandmother. When I thought of what Sam would look like I imagined a middle aged lady who would not be much fun. This is mainly because I associated her with my grandmother.

So when we finally met up, drunk, in a club, I suddenly realized how wrong I was. Sam was anything but old and boring, we spent the entire night dancing and drinking and then drinking some more. I finally got back to my flat at 5.30am.

The next day (today) we went to the revolving restaurant for buffet lunch, (it's easier meeting someone properly after you have been drunk with them) . We talked about the various interesting things my gran has done whilst living next door. My fave story is that she had some new tights on that someone had purchased for her and she showed Sam and her boyfriend by lifting up her skirt and flashing them.

The only other interesting thing that happened to me is that I got locked in the bathroom of a very posh club last night and had to have management release me.

It turns out I was not locked in though, I was just pushing the door instead of pulling it.


PS. Thanks for the stuff parents!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A good ...

On Wednesday I walked into a room in the office where a fellow workmate was residing.

I announced to the workmate that I just had a particularly good bowel movement.

My workmate found this slightly amusing but pointed to the far corner of the room. We were not alone in the room, there was an employee there as well. Something to check in the future.

This weekend has seen plans change a few times. I was going to go camping but I have a family friend coming to Hong Kong and she is bringing lots of goodies for me in her suitcase. I think it would have been a little rude if I asked her to leave the goodies at the hotel desk for me to pick up, so I did the right thing and cancelled by attendance at the camp. Besides, I can go camping anytime.

Then there was a silver lining because I was invited to a Bar called the 'Armani Bar'. I have only ever walked past this place during daylight hours and it seems pretty posh. There is a well known DJ playing there on Saturday night with tickets being reasonably expensive. But...I got on the guest list through a fantastic friend who knows the organizers of the event, so I don't have to pay and I get a free drink too. Not only this, but I can also bring four friends with me, so I think i'm going to invite the family friend along if she wants to go.

I'm British, so anything for free is always good.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pictures you don't recall happening #1

This is the first in a series called "Pictures you don't recall happening"
I was drunk enough to dance on the bar and grab my crotch dressed as a hippy it seems.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Macau (again)

A small group of friends decided on the weekend to visit the crazy and fun Casino country that is Macau. We decided to just go straight to the Venetian Casino because it had everything you could ever need all under some very large and decorated roof.
And staying indoors all day was not too difficult as the place had huge sections of waterway and fake sky on the third floor.
We were in Macau this time to see Cirque Du Soleil. The only way I can describe this show is a cross between gymnasts, drugs and Salvador Dali paintings. It is all very surreal and totally breathtaking to watch.
I found some clips on youtube that can show you some of the stuff that Cirque have done in the past
click here, and here to be taken to some videos.
I would say that it is worth going to see Cirque Du Soleil but I would probably not go and see it twice. As spectacular as the show is, they have these annoying clowns that keep cropping up and just running around the audience. I know that the reason for these long clown periods was so they could change the scenes and get ready for the next big spectacle, but for me it was a similar experience to watching a good movie on Channel 4 and having advert breaks between all the important bits.
Macau itself was as ever a fantastic playground to spend a day in. I did not win any money this time though which was annoying. We got back to Hong Kong in the early hours of Sunday morning and now I am typing this blog post in bed.

Some people though decided to get some sleep whilst still in Macau. In a posh bar.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Long Weekend

After National Day holiday last Wednesday I now have a Friday - Wednesday off work this week because of another festival. I was intending to go travelling during this time but left it too late to book any good and cheap deals, so instead I am going to Macau!

I went to Macau earlier last month and had a really good time. This time though I am going to see a show called 'Cirque Du Solieil' at the Venetian Casino. I don't really know much about the show but apparently it is really good.

I was supposed to be in Macau today but another Typhoon is edging its way towards Hong Kong, so our plans were scuppered and postponed till Sunday. The last big Typhoon to hit Hong Kong was Typhoon Nuri and the government has just released the facts on this big pile of wind.
  • 112 people were injured during the passage of Nuri
  • 2 fatalities
  • 122 reports of fallen or dangerous trees
  • Eight reports of collapsed scaffolding
  • Traffic in part of Nathan Road in Mongkok were disrupted for about 9 hours due to collapsed scaffolding
  • 31 cases of dangerous signboards
I don't quite know what constitutes a dangerous signboard, but I googled the phrase and came up with this.
Whilst I am firing bullet points onto this blog post I can also report that I had another Chinese lesson yesterday and will now share with you some vocab I have learnt.
  • Tai gui le = Too expensive (said with attitude)
  • Jiao zi = dumpling
  • niu rou = Beef dumpling
  • San ba san = 3 umbrellas

I learnt how to say 3 umbrellas by mistake when I got my accents mixed up, but it may just come in use on a wet China day, who knows...


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

National Day update.

Today is Wednesday, but not only is it the middle of the week, it is also National Day!

This is when we all pause and give thanks to mother China and all the poisoned milk products it produces.

If the video below does not work try clicking here

They also put on a really good fireworks show.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend stuff

The weekend has just finished and was full of stuff going on.

Saturday the company put on a junk boat trip for all the new employees. It was really fun with lots of sun, sea and island visiting. We were lucky with the weather as Hong Kong was due to get hit by another typhoon, but it just missed us and ended up going to Taiwan instead.

After dinner on Satruday we all went out to the bar and club district of Hong Kong. By mistake we wandered into the wrong lifts in a building and found ourselves in a club on a very high floor of a skyscraper that had the most amazing views across Hong Kong. This was where we spent the next four hours dancing like fools and drinking surprisingly little, because we were all dancing like fools.

Sunday I spent the afternoon at my new fave place to be lazy and relax, RED bar on the IFC rooftop.

The good thing about RED bar (other than the views above and all around) is the seating is for the general public, because the government makes all these big buildings provide public space. This means that you can bring cheap drinks and food from home and sit on the massive comfy chairs for free.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have just returned home from my Chinese lesson and thought it about time I updated the blog, as I have been neglecting it slightly this week.

After picking up little bits of Cantonese during my years in Hong Kong, I decided that it was high time I learnt the language of mainland China instead. This is because China is trying to connect all the various provinces that make up the country using one single language called Puthongua (also known as Chinese or Mandarin). Another interesting fact for you is that one reason Cantonese is so widely spoken in Hong Kong is because Britain enforced the language to differentiate between mainland China whilst under colonial rule.

My lessons are free because I provide an English tutorial to my tutor, then she teaches me Chinese. We both get something out of the two hour session and no money is exchanged. This exchange way of learning was something I came up with in the shower, but since then no other good ideas have crept up on me whilst cleansing. My overall plan is to make this method of learning Chinese available to all of the company employees sometime after Christmas, as we have connections to a University that has loads of Chinese mainland students.

Hong Kong weather has been pretty chaotic. One minute it is stunning, blue and sunny then the next minute it seems that someone has painted the sky black. Yesterday for example we had another day off due to a Typhoon edging towards Hong Kong. This is the 3rd time it has happened this season and now the excitement has worn off. I don't think a typhoon is ever going to impress me now because I want to see cars lifted into the air, pandas from the zoo zipping round in the sky above my head and fish sucked from the sea and raining down upon the streets. Apparently this is not what a typhoon does.

I went to the Bridge bar yesterday then to the races after work which was good fun. The racing season started a few weeks ago but I have not bothered to go till this week. It was good fun but I did not win anything :(

This Saturday I am going on a Junk Boat Trip with the new employees and then eating seafood at Sai Kung in the evening.

But apprently there is a typhoon coming again that could wreck those plans....

I leave you with a picture of all the ways in Hong Kong you are not allowed to catch fish.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

On Camera

Two weeks ago an ex employee from 1999 contacted the office to say she was coming to Hong Kong for her honeymoon, and that her husband to be was a documentary film maker. This then led to an offer or creating a new promotional film for the organization which then led to loads and loads of work organizing all the shooting to take place in two really busy days.
I now feel I could work in a Hollywood movie studio.

Other than this, the week has been pretty standard. Yesterday I took about 20 of the new employees to Shek O beach and we had fun getting sunburnt and relaxing. Then next weekend we are going on a big junk boat trip island hopping round Hong Hong.
Below are some pictures that were taken at a party last weekend. We were all very drunk and being a bit silly.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paradise Found

If you take a train, then a bus, then another bus, then hike through the jungle across two mountains for two hours, you will find a very deserted and perfect stretch of beach where you can go camping overnight. This is what I did last weekend, and here are the pictures!

I can't even start to describe the place without sounding like a drugged up travel writer. So the pictures will have to do the talking. It is my new fave place in Hong Kong without a doubt.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random news

Random News Item 1: Today i consumed a cake that contained the boiled down vomit of birds

Random News Item 2: In October I am swimming 2400 meters in the South China sea with 1000 others just for the hell of it

I will explain random news item 1 in more detail soon.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008