Ben in Hong Kong©

Friday, February 27, 2009

The biggest loser

The gym that I go to is the same one that I have been visiting with a varying attendance record since I first arrived in Hong Kong three years ago.

Whilst my own attendance has been sporadic, one continuous element has been the timing of my visits with that of an overweight, over-middle-age and over-tanned man. Whenever I am there he can always be seen on the treadmill, walking briskly and looking like he would rather be anywhere else than in the gym.

But his persistancy has paid off. He was at the gym Wednesday morning on the same treadmill as usual and he must now be easily 5 stone lighter than when I first started realizing that we shared a similar early morning schedule. But he still looked like he would rather be anywhere else than in the gym.

Then on Thursday night I was walking through the red light district of Hong Kong, in the general direction of our local pub. Just as I was about to enter I spotted over-middle-age and over-tanned man! He walked past me and then round the corner, having lost 5 stone but gained two prostitutes, who were hanging off his arms.

So when he looks like he would rather be anywhere else but in the gym, I am disturbed to know where he would probably rather be.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

I do it on the train

Since arriving back in Hong Kong I have started to realize how much the place smells.

Like any city Hong Kong has it's own special smells and they have caused me numerous flashbacks.

For example, the smell of the street vendors selling mystery meat reminds me of first experiencing them hung over with Robyn. Walking past the laundry shops reminds me of when I used to have my weekly washing done with no communication between myself and the staff except hand signals and facial expressions. I have also been to Lockhart road a few times and there is nothing quite like the smell of prostitutes burning incense on the streets in an attempt to avoid harsh judgement from the gods.

I have also become aware of some habits I have adopted since my extended stay in Hong Kong. In particular stretching at strange moments in public places. People in Hong Kong stretch all the time, old people meet in the park and do group stretching and middle aged men wave their arms around like they are possessed. I stretch in the train. That's right, in the morning whilst waiting for the train I touch my toes, stretch out my back and even sometimes reach for the sky.

I would never do that in England.

If i did, I would be pushed under a train.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

In England

I left Hong Kong at around 9am after not sleeping at all the night before. This was good because it meant that I slept for around seven hours of the flight and arrived not feeling too bad.

Then this happened.

The entire of the UK was hit by the worst snowstorm in 18 years.

England is not very good with varied weather. When it rains a bit we get floods, when it snows a bit the roads become too dangerous for travel and when it is summer we have hosepipe bans and drought. One constant guarantee in these uncertain times is that the people of Britain will moan and complain about the climate in whatever form it takes, as newspaper articles this week demonstrated quite nicely. To make matters worse many local councils are starting to run out of grit and salt to make the roads safe to drive on, which again is rather typical.

Surprisingly the snow has not caused my recruitment trip too much disruption. The first two days when the snow was at its worse I could not venture outside, but neither could the people that I would have been meeting. I could also reschedule those days to take place at the end of my trip so it all works out quite well.

Other than that my time in the UK so far has been quite boring. I have been travelling from university to university and have been doing presentations and interviews along the way. Annoyingly my back problem which has caused me issues for the last couple of months has resurfaced. I have also trapped a nerve which makes it impossible for me to raise my left leg if I am in a sitting position. This is not a movement that I make that often but it would be nice to have it back!