Ben in Hong Kong©

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

what we did not

Nikki did have to sign a four page contract to secure the table on the peak, but we were not guaranteed window seats to watch the fireworks.

Luckily for us some friends were inviting a mystery Russian guy to the dinner. Upon hearing that we were not guaranteed a window table he made a phone call to his credit card company, gave them the details of the dinner booking and informed them to make sure we get a window seat.

We got the best seat in the whole place, and then decided that this mystery Russian was probably part of the mafia.

The food was fantastic, but the fireworks were not because the weather was a bit murky. it was still a really good night though and we got very drunk.
And so the Russian guy then tells us this story. I will tell it again.
One day Mr Russian took a walk round the very exclusive area of Hong Kong. This area was called the Peak, which is on a mountain overlooking the whole kingdom. Whilst walking past all the multi-million pound properties he came across an old derelict mansion. This mansion had paint peeling off, weeds and trees had grown so dense that clearly no one had visited it for a very long time. It was protected by a big black iron gate, but sat overlooking all of Hong Kong.
Mr Russian was curious about this building and contacted his personal assistant. Soon the investigation into the mystery mansion began and soon the mystery only deepened.
The mansion had been on the market for 15 years. With nobody taking up residence. It had been purchased by many different people, but then sold very quickly, without anyone ever holding onto it for more than a year.
Mr Russian was informed that the mansion could be his for 18 million pounds. A significant discount compared to other properties on the Peak. He was also told that he should not purchase the property, which is unusual advice for a property agent to provide. The mansion is haunted by the ghost of a girl it was explained, a girl who has never taken well to guests.
.And here the story ends.
This made us all very scared, yet at the same time curious. We were on the Peak, why not go and visit this haunted mansion?
So we all climbed into Mr Russians BMW jeep/tank/bus and made the journey to the gates of this lone mansion sitting above Hong Kong.
And here is where I explain what we did not do.
We did not climb over the mansion gates and open them up.
We did not all creep through the overgrown trees to get into the mansion grounds.
We did not go looking for the ghost of the girl.
We did not have to spend periods of time hiding as people walked past the mansion on the road above.
We did not marvel at the amazing views or in any way become scared.
We did go later to many bars.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Parade and fireworks

Apparently New York, San Francisco and even mainland China look to Hong Kong to see how a Chinese New Year Parade should be done.

It was therefore with great excitement that I attended my first Chinese New Year parade full of expectation and anticipation.

We started the evening by going for a curry at Chungking mansions. Chungking mansions is a giant building on Nathan Road that is the home to refugees and budget hostels for young backpackers.

It is no surprise then that the building is famous for being full of refugees trying to scam young backpackers.

Once you get over the distinct impression that you have stepped into Baghdad on a bad day Chungking mansions offers amazing cheap and authentic restaurants. Probably the most well known establishment is named the "Taj Mahal". Chungking is such a maze of stairwells and corridors that we were soon spotted by a man who promised to take us to the Taj Mahal and instead took us to a totally different restaraunt. It would seem that whilst we did not have backpacks on our shoulders we were going to be scammed anyway. We eventually found the Taj Mahal and had a very tasty meal.

After dinner a group of seven of us waded through the crowds in search of a good spot to watch the parade. We eventually found somewhere and waited for the fun to begin.

And the parade was.....boring.

Well not so much the parade, the crowd was boring. Or perhaps it was a little of both. Watch this video and see the excitment and atmosphere in the crowd. You see? There is none. No one was waving, clapping or smiling. If the crowd was a patient and I was the doctor I would have classed it as being terminal, with euthanasia as the best medication.

So the evening ended with us all catching the Star Ferry home and going to bed.

Tonight though there are far different plans. Nikki has booked a restaraunt up the peak for 8 of us to watch the fireworks and consume a four course meal with unlimited drink. To secure the booking Nikki had to sign a four page contract. I consider this to be slightly excessive for dinner reservations but this is Hong Kong, and much like parades such things are taken too seriously.


ps. On a totally different note click here for something that had me crying with laughter.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year! I have been away from the blog for a little while partly due to writers block, partly because family have been visiting and partly because I am getting ready to go to the UK for my yearly recruitment trip.
Hong Kong is cold right now. It has dropped to about 10 and I don't think in the past three years I have experienced a winter quite like this one. I know that it is not cold in comparison to England or Alaska, but it feels cold to me!

So what have I been doing recently?
Well I have been hijacking a tram and flying through the streets of Hong Kong

I also took a trip to the Hong Kong history museum and learnt lots about Hong Kong that I did not know about. My head was filled with so many facts and figures that I felt it best to dispose of my head totally.

I have also been playing with the settings on my camera and learning to do new cool things.

The previous picture I took today (Sunday) at the Hong Kong flower market. I have been past the market and seen how busy it was in previous years and never had an urge to visit the place. This year Laura expressed a wish to go though, so after a morning hike from Chai Wan to Shek O Beach (yes that is as impressive as it sounds) a bunch of us went to check out what the market had to offer.

And the flower market offered crazy crowds and bright flowers. I have experienced crowds in my time in Hong Kong but this was without doubt the most extreme experience I have had. There were people pushing and jostling you from all sides, flower sellers shouting out their deals and the usual militant old ladies shunting and pushing like rugby players in a scrum.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Family visit 09

Click here for pictures!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I am in a video!!!

Click here


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hiking Pictures

These are a few pics I have taken recently whilst out and about


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

So I do have things to report including doing step aerobics with old ladies in the public swimming pool and New Year stuff. However for the moment please click here to see the New Year HK fireworks!

Ben x