Ben in Hong Kong©

Monday, June 30, 2008

record breaking weather

"Hong Kong - Weather experts said June was Hong Kong's wettest ever month after 1,346.1 millimetres of rain was recorded in the territory, according to figures released by the Hong Kong Observatory on Monday.
The observatory said June's record broke the previous monthly rainfall record of 1,241.1 millimetres set in May 1889. As a result, June 2008 became the wettest month since records began in 1884.
The heavy rain was associated with the active south-westerly winds over the South China coastal areas and severe tropical storm Fengshen hit the territory on June 25. (dpa)" Source

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Typhoon update

From around 7am when I woke up till 11.45am the Typhoon level 8 (T8) warning was in place. This means you stay indoors and don't leave the building unless you have to. During this time I looked out of my window and there was no one on the streets. Wan Chai was a ghost town.

At 11.45 though the warning dropped to a T3. This means it is safe to go out.

5 minutes after the T3 announcement Wan Chai went from ghost town to rush hour city. It was like somone flicked a switch and made everyone eager to get to work, even though many employers don't expect people to arrive instantly. This is such a typical Hong Kong moment, in England people would be dragging their feet to get to the office after a morning off.

The typhoon itself was just a load of wind and rain, a few trees fell down and a couple of signs dropped onto the street but that's about it. Not as exciting as I was expecting.

In other news I am going to the Gold Coast (area in Hong Kong) to stay at a rather swish hotel overnight tomorrow. This is with everyone else who works in the office as it is time for the annual staff development day. Quite what is in store for us I am not sure, but the hotel has a swimming pool so i'm happy.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I had a potentially crazy day at work this morning but I woke up early, opened my curtains and...could not see outside.

Because I am in the middle of a typhoon!

This means that

1) Water is seeping through my windows
2) I don't have to go to work
3) Pubs and bars will open later for typhoon happy hour

Guidelines state that I have to stay inside and away from windows, which is pretty difficult because my flat is made up totally of windows!

b x

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Pictures

It was the memorial event for a friend of mine today who suddenly died of cancer (two weeks after she found out she had it). She was only 29 and liked to party, so it was fitting that we went to her favourite (and quite posh) bar to celebrate. Projected onto the wall were pictures of her from various times and nights out in Hong Kong, which is how Robyn, Hannah and myself managed to get projected onto a wall, as we were in some of the pictures too.

On my way there I decided to go on foot from Wan Chai, so took my camera with me.

I passed out old flats just as they were taking out all the mirrors from the bathrooms. Which amounted to some serious 7 years bad luck.

I also went a bit snap happy in Hong Kong Park.

Right, gotta go to bed, sunday evening now and i'm up early!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sunny Overtime

Most of the last half of this week I have been doing stupid amounts of overtime at work to try and get an event I am running on Monday problem free. Which is why I ended up at the office on Saturday morning for 5 hours trying to put the last pieces together. Working on a Saturday is a bit rubbish, but what is especially rubbish is that the weather is now AMAZING whilst I am stuck inside.

I took this picture on the way home of Hong Kong Island. It has rained almost non stop for the last three weeks so to get a clear day in typhoon season is really lucky. Not only that, but the weather is going to stay like this till Tuesday and I get Monday afternoon off (for the overtime I did today) so beach here I come!

Here are some more pics.

In other news Kat visited Honkers and we were going to show her the nightlife of Hong Kong.

except she got so drunk she does not really recall ever leaving my flat...

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have decided to make a Vodka watermelon.

I thought a vodka watermelon was an urban myth till I started to search online about how to make one. The idea is that you can take the giant green ball, fill it with vodka, eat it, then fall down. If legend is true, through some process that I expect I would know if paid more attention in science the Watermelon also removes the typical taste of the vodka.

My project has started yesterday. I have drilled a hole down the middle and every morning and evening I top it up with drink and it slowly absorbs it. A bit like my father and scotch. I subsequently feel like I am now living with a random person in my flat because...

  1. I am providing alcohol, a place to stay and 3 shelves in my fridge to my new guest
  2. I am only puting up with the inconvenience of the guest because it will be a good laugh on the weekend

What is frightening though is the raging alcoholism of my friend. So far it has drunk 3/4 of a bottle of vodka and does not seem to plan on stopping! I am aiming for two litres.

The question is, what should I call this melon? When friends look back on what I have already prenamed "The Watermelon Incident" I feel that the watermelon should be named. Mainly this is because I think naming the melon will divert blame. Stories will go something like "Do you remember when William The watermelon got (???) so drunk that she (???) on (???)..." Which is far better than "Do you remember when Ben thought it would be a good idea if..."

Name suggestions welcome.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Office Pictures

I was browsing through the office photo albums during my lunch break and thought I would share some.

This is the Chatteris Educational Foundation team of 2007-2008 taken during the CNETs (that's what we call the gang who work in schools) leaving ceremony.

This is a shot of the office team, if you look closely you can see some red puffy eyes.

Because it was taken during the leaving party of Rachel

This was my surprise (ish) birthday party in the garden outside the office.

And as usual you can't do anything without it resulting in some sort of group picture!!!

Not much other news really. A friend of mine who I know through Robyn is visiting Hong Kong this weekend and so I will probably be doing a bit of tourist stuff with her and her boyfriend. Highlights on my list is a trip to lamma Island, a day out at Shek O beach, Dim Sum lunch and then probably a pretty drunken night out in the bar district.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

A boozy birthday brunch

For 350 HKD (25 quid) per head you can go to the Jumbo Restaurant in Aberdeen and consume an unlimited buffet of seafood, landfood and inbetween food (crab). Not only this, it also comes with unlimited free champagne and you get to enjoy all this yummy grub on the top deck of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Visiting Jumbo has been one of those tourist things that I somehow have never ticked off my to do list. So when a friend organized her birthday there I was happy as a pig in poo.

You have to get there by boat so I took this on the way to the entrance.

An entrance which was pretty over the top in terms of gold dragons!

The food was amazing and we were there from 11am till 5pm drinking. Needless to say by 5pm I was pretty drunk.

So then we decided to go to the Russian Vodka Bar which has a walk in freezer section that has just been newly renovated.

It was great, except my drink froze a bit.

And I now have a bad hangover.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wan Chai River

At around nine AM I got a phone call this morning from my friend Nikki. She told me to look out of my window and see if there was flooding on my road. I looked out of my window, saw lots of rain, did not see any flooding. Then went back to my sleep.

Then half an hour later I woke up properly and realized that when I looked out of the window the first time I never had my glasses on. So I found them and then realized what Nikki was talking about.

Which then made me want to go and get a closer look.

In case you have not yet guessed, Wan Chai flooded and basically became a river today. It was the result of 48 hours of continuous rain and it caused things to come to a total standstill.

I took this video of the inside entrance of casa Nikki, Laura and Rosie.

Click here for video

And when I was on Lockhart road a brilliant moment occurred. There I was taking another video and a prostitute approached me in 1 ft of water! Check out the video below and turn the sound up :)

Click here for video

To clarify in case you can't hear the video, she asked me if she could go home with me, and I provided a very polite and british response!

The floods may have closed shops, but it can't shut down the oldest occupation in town.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

After the event

Work has been pretty frantic since everyone left the organization because we are now in full gear trying to prepare for the next lot of people arriving this August. That still does not mean that some people have finished leaving though. Today I said goodbye to Rachel (the one who cried at the leaving ceremony) and on Monday I will be saying goodbye to George, (who was not at the leaving ceremony). They have each decided to travel back to a strange and mystical land called Europe.

Rachel had a leaving party last night and we went to the best Chinese restaurant ever (n my opinion). It is pretty famous in Hong Kong for its food and has been on my 'to do list', for some time. It is called the "Spring Deer Restaurant" and you can read about it here. About 22 people went to the dinner itself and the food was incredible.

And above you can see a picture of Rachel in a goodbye headlock at the Spring Deer.

Earlier this evening a group of us descended upon the residence of Rachel to help her move out and clean the flat. We had to hurry because the property agents were soon to arrive to give Rachel back the deposit for the flat (around 560 quid).

We cleaned and packed in time for the property agents arrival and the deposit was subsequently provided to Rachel without issue. Then came this weird moment where four of us were left in the flat sitting on the sofa whilst Rachel left to quickly cash her deposit before the banks shut. During this time the property agents stayed and stood opposite us and no one really talked. Then I shifted my weight and there was a really loud crack. I had just broken the sofa.

This did three things all at once. 1) it made me thankful I did not break the sofa before Rachel received the deposit, 2) It made the silence in the room even more profound, 3) It has assisted in prompting me to remain on my diet.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

60 less

We now have 60 less people working for the organization! The 2007 - 2008 team have officially checked out and gone off into the sunset.

We had a big leaving ceremony on Friday where awards and recognition was provided to the team. There were a few tears from people at different parts of the day, the largest eruption of water surprisingly coming from the tear ducts of a member of our own office team. Earlier in the week we had collectively decided that Rachel should say a few words of goodbye from the office because she was playing less of a role in the ceremony itself, she was also believed to be the least likely to get emotional. I have found her rough notes from the speech and placed them below.

"On behalf of the office, thank you for hard-work, determination and effort this year

Office team have enjoyed working with you this year. And we have had a very successful year. We appreciate all the hard work you have put in
Sincerely wish everyone the best for there future -
Safe travels,

safe trip back to home countries.

Keep in touch

Thank you"

Half way through the first line she started to sniff, then her voice began to go higher and higher (like beaker from sesame street) and then she began to totally cry and could not read any further. All the 60 staff in the room were silent, they did not really know what to say or do, then she tried to talk again and began crying even more! At this point everyone clapped and tried to break the tension, only for her to try again and fail. It was emotional and at the same time quite awkward, but memorable all the same.

Saturday afternoon the company organized a leaving junk boat trip for all the staff. Here are a few pictures.

Out of the 256 islands that make up Hong Kong, we were quite lucky that the island that we visited was the exact same one that we were taken to on my first every junk boat trip in 2006.
The reason why I like this island is because it has a waterfall that you can climb up. Halfway up there are freshwater pools that you can swim in and look back out onto the sea. That this tumbling rainwater is probably polluted and from industrial mainland China somewhat negated that tropical feeling though.

On Saturday night I went out to the bar district in Lang Kwai Fong. I got considerably drunk and decided in the late hours of the morning that I should go shopping and purchase bread and cheese and make myself a toasty using my grill. I got back from the shops and proceeded to place the cheese directly on the grill and the bread on top of the cheese, at this point I realized I was still drunk and should probably go to bed.