Ben in Hong Kong©

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pictures so far

We are getting lots done and after one whole day it already feels like Dad and Jack have been here a week!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Two in, two out

Robyn and Hannah have gone and my brother and dad have arrived!

Their arrival and leaving day crossed over, so for the first time Rob and Han got to meet my brother which was nice! Things done so far with Jack...

  • Visited the Bridge pub
  • Eaten at the flying pan
  • Eaten at the revolving restaurant
  • Gone on the star ferry to the Avenue of Stars

Then dad left for bed and Jack joined a big gang of eleven friends to

  • Say goodbye to Robyn and Hannah at the Arabic Habbibi Restaurant
  • Go to 'Le Jardin' bar (where a cockroach fell from the ceiling and crawled all over me)
  • Visit to the secret 'Feather Boa' bar
  • Go to an African bar
  • go to the Scottish 'Canny Man' bar

Jack ended up falling asleep in the last bar, head back and snoring, so I had to get him to bed. It was very funny but also 1 AM on his first day in Hong Kong. So we will let him off :)

Ah yes, the US Navy are also in town so dad is getting first hand experience of how their visit can change the feeling and atmosphere of Wan Chai!


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back Home

Well I am back in Wan Chai!

The flight was pretty average, there was a child two rows back that was screaming for most of the flight, other than that it was not too bad.

I managed to be in my flat 50 minutes after my airplane touched the ground, not my record but still pretty good timing.

Hannah and Robyn have been staying in my flat whilst I was away and so my small little abode now seems like a tiny box. Everywhere I turn there are high heels, newly purchased electronic gadgets or large suitcases. Hannah stayed at a friends house last night, but Robyn is currently semi awake watching me type at 6am. What will be great about this situation is when they both take everything back to the UK, this flat will seem gigantic!

My brother and dad should have just landed in Hong Kong now so they will be round here visiting pretty soon. Pictures will be posted later! (i'm thinking of taking one of Robyn in a minute but fear she may kill me)


Friday, April 25, 2008

Last night in Canada

After 3 time zone changes, 6 plane journeys and 19 days I am now in my final hotel in Vancouver! I arrived today from Toronto and have just finished packing for my journey home to Hong Kong tomorrow.

Staying in Toronto was a welcome break from the cockroach pit I found in New York. The view from the window was fantastic, but I still prefer the one from my place in Wan Chai!

Toronto itself was nicer than Vancouver. This opinion could be because I was not chased by prostitutes for my entire stay, but it also helped that I have a friend who lived in the city as well.

Early evening in Toronto I had the urge to be a tourist, so I visited the CN Tower. It was originally created to just just be a giant signal antenna, but during creation it evolved into a tourist attraction as well.

The views from the top were spectacular, but the most frightening thing was the glass floor.

There was a large section of the building floor that was made of glass. I never thought I had an issue with heights but to stand on glass and look down 1,122 ft made me feel dizzy and nervous. I learnt from the information panels that the glass can take the weight of 12 adult hippos. There were none of the large water dwelling animals up there with me, but there were some large Americans, which these days is practically the same thing.

So thats it then, the big trip is now over! It has been fantastic fun and I have met some interesting people. In New York I learnt about a new type of yoga called "Laughing Yoga". Next time I am in New York I have been invited to go to a hall with a regular participant and just laugh with strangers, about nothing ...

... just one of the many weird things to look forward to on my next visit!


Thursday, April 24, 2008


I just had my last meeting at a university!!!

I am done! DONE DONE DONE!

And now I want to sleep for 2 weeks!


Monday, April 21, 2008


I am in Toronto!

There are Canadians everywhere!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pope Problems

I never thought that the Pope would cause me any direct problems, but today gods representative caused me a serious hindrance.

Annoyingly the Pope has decided to visit New York at the same time as myself. This clash in timetables could have been avoided if he had just had his people check with the office and my schedule.

This check never happened though so I was greeted at 9AM with this scene

THOUSANDS of people lined the 5th Avenue area and they were excited on almost a hysterical level in some cases. People were singing, dancing and crying! It would seem that I had discovered the route the Pope was going to be driving down.

I had no real urge or interest to wait the four hours to see the Pope drive past and wave, so I headed into the shops.

After hitting a few shops on the avenue I thought I would try to be clever and take a side road out of 5th Avenue to avoid the ever increasing crazy crowds.

But as I started to walk away from the Catholic hysteria, coming towards me up this side road was another large group of people. (Who at that moment did not look suspicious.)

Halfway towards the Catholic crowd though, these plain looking people approaching my planned exit route whipped out a series of signs, costumes and suddenly started shouting. They were the anti Catholics.

The police reacted ultra fast and set up a barrier blocking the protesters from reaching the Catholics, but at the same time they also blocked the Catholics from reaching the protesters. And I was left in the middle!!!

After ten minutes walking around like a sheep in a pen I asked a cop if there was any way I could get out from my religious no-mans land. I was told that I could, but it would involve crawling under the protest barriers and through the crowds standing at them.

So that's what I did! My hand was stood on once, but the anti god people were very nice about letting me through.


Friday, April 18, 2008


I am in New York for one more night and am flying to Toronto tomorrow! Some things that I have done in New York (in evenings and during lunch breaks of course!)

  • Learnt the subway system
  • Eaten bagels
  • Went to Times Square
  • Went to Wall Street
  • Went to 5th Avenue
  • Had lunch one day in central park
  • Saw the statue of liberty

All I hear locals say is how great the weather is at the moment and I would have to agree! I have been really lucky with this leg of the visit (except for the hotel)

I met up with someone who used to work for the organization today and we had dinner and then I randomly tagged along with them to a house party! That was quite good fun and it was nice to have to engage my limited social skills for something other than talking about working in Hong Kong!

This is my third trip to New York and whilst it is a nice city, I am ready to leave it tomorrow. My first visit was when I was 18/19 years old and I remember feeling really overwhelmed by the place and totally amazed. This time though I think Hong Kong has filtered my views of a "big city" significantly! The crowds in New York are not that large, the shops are not that cheap and the buildings are not that big by comparison.

So rather than overwhelmed i feel underwhelmed by New York, and the friend who took me to the party felt the exact same way. The Hong Kong effect.....???


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York

Well I arrived, survived and have checked in to the hostel/hotel which I will call home for the next 3 nights.

Good point: Hotel is in a safe area

Bad point: It is like an Iraqi prison

As soon as I log off the internet I am covering holes up in the room to stop cockroaches getting in. My room which can only just fit a bed in it and shares a bathroom with the entire floor.

I can hear tapping on the radiators...Is that someone trying to send a coded message for help??? It would not surprise me.


Boston - Yale

I am in Yale at the moment but thought I would post some pictures I took in Boston.

The first picture is the Boston courts or something historically similar. The city is quite small and really easy to walk around. I managed to visit 3 universities on foot without even having to get on a bus!
The second photo was taken from the tallest building in Harvard University. My friends mum who works there has the only staff keys to get onto the viewing deck of the building. So we went there early morning to have a look at Boston from above. The picture is not of the downtown city though because the sun was rising and I could not get any good city pictures with the sun in my eyes!
Finally I walked past the original "Cheers" Bar where the creators of the TV series based the concept for their show. I did not go in as I was working and already had my lunch, but it did bring back memories of getting thoroughly drunk the last time i visited! (they also do great burgers).
As mentioned, I am now in Yale. I met a girl who used to work in Hong Kong a couple of years ago and she was very kind and showed me around the campus. It is a stunning place and I can't begin to explain how amazing some of the campus buildings look. Without a doubt the most impressive campus I have ever seen. (and by now I could write a book about them)

Monday, April 14, 2008


I had an amazing work day in Boston today and really earnt my salary. Got some good contacts for the future and had some great meetings.

I am currently staying 'downtown' with the mother of my best friend from boarding school. Her boyfriend is a Brit and owns a pub called "Shay's" in the very expensive and historic Harvard Square area of Boston.

I just got back from there and I don't think I could have taken buch more free beer and food...I feel sick.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Be sure to wear...

I'm leaving to Boston in a couple of hours so thought I would share some pictures I have taken on my Saturday in San Francisco!

Taken from, Golden Gate Bridge, Farmers Market, Alkatraz Prison, and a boat tour.

Main Street

I was at Stanford University yesterday taking part in an all day career fair.

Whilst there I was sat next to a Captain from the Marine Corps who was also recruiting. We got chatting about my trip to Vancouver and I explained about my negative experience with the prostitutes and tramps.

He then said "yea there are some bad areas like that, you just have to make sure you are no where near Main street"

On closer inspection of one of the only pictures i took on the streets of Vancouver.

It seems that Main Street was exactly where I was!


Friday, April 11, 2008


Looking at the last few posts I would not blame people for thinking that I am not having much fun on this recruitment trip!

Thankfully a few of the universities I have visited in San Francisco yesterday have been downtown, which gave me the chance of walking through some great tourist spots!

This first picture is San Fran from the air.

Although I did have to visit Chinatown and have some dim sum and iced lemon tea to cure the homesickness.
Also, the weather is perfect!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


So the day after I begin my big trip I find out that my aircraft carrier "Oasis", has just been liquidated and is no longer running anymore. It has vanished.

I have NEVER had any type of trip involving aircraft go off without a hitch. My return flight carrier going bankrupt being right up there at the top.


Oh, and I just got abused by a US customs officer. They are all dicks with attitude problems.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vancouver and prostitutes

I'm now in Vancouver!!!

The flight was like being a sardine in a tin. I say 'like' being a sardine because to the left of me was a crying baby, and to the right a coughing and sneezing adult man. I bet real life tinned sardines don't have to put up with that kind of crap.

I managed to sleep about 10 hours of the flight, which made the journey go really quickly. One frightening aspect of Oasis is that the planes have cameras on their underbelly so that you can view heading towards the ground on your tv screen, pretty cool, but it makes landing scary!

After checking into my hotel and having a very hot shower, I decided that as it was only 6pm I should go exploring. So I talked to the receptionist about which bus to get/when it gets dark etc, purchased a map and set off downtown. Chinatown being my first tourist spot I wanted to check out.

Then next part will be written about as quickly as the events took place

So I got off the bus with the sun in my eyes and began walking towards Chinatown. Within seconds a guy had come up to me out of the sun glare and asked for change. Then another, then another then another did the exact same thing. Then a prostitute stood in my way and muttered "do you want some skirt?" I said "no thanks", and walked past her. She promptly began to follow me shouting "Hey, hey, hey!" at random points down the street at me. I passed another prostitute who pointed to my umbrella and mentioned how sensible I was, I smiled and kept walking. One minute later though I looked back to see that now I was being followed by two prostitutes. Seconds later a drunk guy fell out of a bar and shouted at no one in particular spotted me and began to head my way for what looked to have been a slow motion hug.

It was at that point that I realized I perhaps was in the wrong part of town. I hailed a cab and jumped in, requesting to be taken somewhere safe for tourists. The taxi driver laughed.

So my marks so far for Vancouver

Place: 8/10
People: 2/10

Because Vancouver is a stunning city

I just seem to be the pied piper of prostitutes and tramps today.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Just a simple school teacher

So having returned from the pig roast party on the beach I can report back that the entire day pretty much consisted of beer, piglet, fire and more beer.

It was a really good day out except the journey to get there. The beach was at the bottom of a mountain that itself was a thirty minute drive from Sai Kung. Problems began when we got out of the taxi assuming we had found the jungle path to the beach, then realized once the taxi had left us in the jungle that we had got it wrong and needed to walk over the mountain to the next path. In the heat, with three crates of beer in my arms.

Last night was the birthday party of Rosie, so we all went to the peak to celebrate.

After the dinner we went to see a friend perform with his band. The lead singer used to be part of the company and this was to be my first experience hearing him. The band is called F.B.I and here is a promo shot they use.

Going into the venue, I expected the whole thing to be a bit of a joke. This expectation came mainly from lines from the songs consisting of such lyrical classics as

"I'm not a preacher just a simple school teacher"
"Give me your children, put in a cauldron"

After watching them though I am now an official F.B.I fan! The entire band puts on a really good show, even if the showmanship outdoes the music sometimes. If you want to look at a clip of F.B.I in action then click here.

This is going to be my last post before travelling to Vancouver on Tuesday. This time I am taking my laptop with me and most of the hotels I am staying in has free internet, so I will post some pictures of my travels up as I go. (I have still not packed yet)


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


This weekend I am going to a beach party and we are going to spit roast a whole baby pig over a fire! Very cavemanish. Then on Saturday I might go to Disneyworld, which is not very cavemanish at all...

I have nothing else to report really, my brain is going to explode soon planning this recruitment trip. I have been trying to book my plane ticket from Toronto to Vancouver on the 25th of April.

I could not work out how the journey is 5 hours long, but the plane arrives two hours after I take off from Toronto.

It was the end of the day and my brain was not working, took me a while to remember that it's all down to time zones ... fool that I am.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I just ate a 100% Wagyu beef burger.

Click here to check out what Wagyu beef is, but basically I just consumed a high living happy cow.