Ben in Hong Kong©

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.