Sunday, February 19, 2012


The last day in HK. Our flight wasn't until 5pm so we did have a bit of time to do something other than pack and check out of the hotel.

After breakfast we walked up to Times Square and to this Japanese department store called Sogo. In it we did a bit of shopping. I picked up green tea and Jin Ramen. I should explain the last item. This type of ramen was the one I'd eat in Korea and let me say, it's wonderful when you have a hangover. Not that I get hangover these days!

Anyway, a bit of shopping and a coffee before meeting the coach to take us to the Airport. Before we did that, I took these 2 pictures. I quite liked them. I have no idea what kind of 'rabbit' that is. I'm not even sure it is a rabbit?

The airport was 'alright'. It's an airport, what else can you really say about it?

The flight back though was really poor. Not only was there the 'normal' bout of turbulance. Typical really, when I fly but it latest almost the entire time we flew over Thailand. I'm not going there on holiday in protest. In addition, the inflight entertainment was limited. It harked back to the 'old' days in which you had to refer to the inflight magazine to find out what was on and on what hour and with it, had to figure out what 'hour' of the flight you were in. I didn't like that.

 And that was really it for Hong Kong. I enjoyed it. The missus didn't really. She's been and that's enough for her. Fair enough.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Yes, the last full day. I think it was fair to say that we were both a bit knackered. A lot of walking had been done and I think that had taken it's toll.

But the day started off with taking an old fashioned tram from Happy Valley to Admiralty in order to get the metro over to Kowloon. It was a bit of strange experience but that is part of the charm of them.

One in Kowloon we went to the park next to Nathan Road and during our time there, the sun came out. It had been mostly overcast up until that point. Not cold at all though. Next up was the Sky Building. It has 100 floors and gives an excellent view over Kowloon and Hong Kong. It was pretty hazy so we couldn't quite see over to the Airport for example. I must say, it wasn't very well signposted. I don't mean the building itself - it's massive! - but how to get to the bit where you pay to get the tickets to go up it.

Cherry Blossom in the Park

HK Island from the Sky100
A well deserved rest was taken in the afternoon, in readiness for the 'Ladies Market' in Kowloon. Before that though was our second attempt to get to the Symphony of Lights. We managed it thankfully. It was good and worth a visit.

Really wasn't sure what to expect at the Ladies Market given those 'interesting' market stalls yesterday. I need not have worried. It was a much better market than the one in Temple Street. More variety and more closely packed in. The missus picked up a purse and few other bits and bobs. I bought a cup. Yes, a cup. It's quite cool though and it has a bit instead that you can put tea in to steep. I like it!

Perhaps the best bit of the evening was the food. We were just kind of wandering around when we decided to go 'local'. We weren't disappointed. It was a canteen or sorts and it was busy. A good sign. In we went and we ended up sharing a table with 3 others. We had some lovely chicken and dim sum. Cheap but filing and most importantly, filling.

Afterwards, we walked back down to where the fortune tellers were and the missus did do a bit of tarot. It was late yet the place was still very busy. In fact, it was well after 11pm when we finally went to get the metro back and it was as busy as I'd seen it. It seems that it all happens at night in Hong Kong!

Friday, February 17, 2012


We walked quite a bit yesterday and the plan today was to do a bit less. That didn't really happen. In fact, we walked more. Walking is meant to be good for you but...

We headed out to Lantau Island. It's an island not far from the Airport. The purpose of heading here was to visit the 'big Buddha'. I think it's the largest sitting Buddha in Asia or something like that anyway. The plan was to take the cable car to it from Tung Chung. So, we got the metro to it. The metro was quite busy up until the 2nd last stop when almost everyone got off. The reason was that it was the stop for Disneyland!

Once we got to Tung Chung, we found that the cable car was 'suspended'. Nightmare! Instead, we had to queue for a coach to take us. The coach took about 40 minutes and let me say, the coach nearly didn't make it. The route was very steep and we literally crawled up the road at 10mph.

But, it was worth it. The Buddha is perched right at the top of a hill and there are something like 260 steps to reach it. Another geek fact is that it is north facing which is unusual. It was definitely a sight to behold. After that we went down into the monastery at the bottom of the hill and had lunch. Really not sure what it was but it was definitely vegetation. It was a really relaxed afternoon and I really enjoyed it.

The Big Buddha
The bus stop to Po Lin
Out feeling of 'calm' suddenly vanished on the trip back to Tung Chung. About 6 rows in front of us was this toddler who literally screamed the whole way back. I don't know why and I don't know what on earth the 'mother' was playing at but my goodness, I have rarely heard anything like it.

From Kowloon back to HK Island
On the way back to 'town', we decided to go to the Avenue of Stars which is basically the same as the Hollywood Walk in LA. It's right on the shore in Kowloon. All the Hong Kong favourites are there like Jackie Chan and Jet Li etc. We then headed up Nathan Road to the night market at Temple Street. It's a great sight - all bright lights and essentially anything you could wish to buy all at a 'good price'! All the way up the road were restaurants with tables outside. The smell was wonderful. We went a bit further up past Temple St. and discovered 2 things. Loads of stalls selling sex toys and the like. Interesting! Nearby were a lot of people who tell fortunes, read tarot or palms. The missus had said she was interested in getting it done but she couldn't find a decent person to do it.

After a very quick bite to eat - McDonalds for the first time this millenium! - we rushed back to the Avenue of Stars for the Symphony of Lights. This is basically lights and lasers beamed from the buildings on the shore of Hong Kong Island to music. But, we missed it! We thought it was at 8.30pm but it was actually at 8pm. Instead we got some photos and then headed on to the Star Ferry back over to the Island itself. Then we walked back to the hotel. Yeah, more walking. And to celebrate, we had a pint at the hotel bar. Not the cheapest pint but it tasted pretty good.

And that was pretty much it for the day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


And so the first full day of our trip to Hong Kong!

It was cloudy but not as cold as I had been expecting. In fact, I had a shirt with a t-shirt underneath and that did the job. At least it wasn't raining.

Quite steep - Peak Tram
After breakfast we headed out. The hotel provided a complimentary bus to Times Square is where the nearest metro station was - Causeway Bay. We took that and elected to head straight to the Peak Tram. This is a tram that takes you to the top of Hong Kong Island. It's not just a funny name! Actually, the tram itself goes up at literally a 45 degree angle. I know because I felt it. It was busy and no seats were available. We had to stand and let me say, I was holding on on the way up!

Once at the top, there were a number of shops as you'd expect. But no view. In was all grey as far as the eye could say. Which was about 20 feet in front of us. Not good at all. Instead, we had coffee then went to Madame Tussard's. Yes, really. It was located right there. It was alright. A mix of Eastern and Western famous faces. We've never been before and since we could see anything, we might as well.

At the top of the Peak!
The greyness did dissipate after a while so we did get to see 'something'. Afterwards, we went back down the hill and headed to the financial district then onto Soho. In Soho we had this excellent lunch. It was one of those canteen style restaurants. The food was good and plentiful. Sweet and sour something, rice and something else. Can't remember what. But the plates were emptied!

Next up was a temple near Soho. It was weird to see because all around were buildings, seriously tall ones, then this single story temple. It was quite small but the design of it was very intricate. We went inside and had a look around. No photos allowed and we respected that. Other 'whiteys' didn't sadly. Inside was nice though smoky with all the incense. I quite enjoyed wandering through Soho. There were a good mix of restaurants, boutique style shops and antique shops all on the side of quite a step hill. I wonder what it would have looked like at night?

At next we went back to the Times Square area of town for dinner and a look around. It was really busy actually. For dinner we had sushi. It was one of those restaurants with the conveyor belt that you selected what you wanted. Nice!

That was about it for the day. Quite tiring in some respects but enjoyable nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Hong Kong baby!

The flight was until 10am which meant that we could afford a longer lie than we would normally have if we had to go to work. In the fact, the morning was quite relaxed. No big rush to the airport. Indeed there was no big rush at the airport itself either. The only thing of note was this blooming UAE E-gate card. In theory, you get this card and it means that you don't need to wait in line at immigration both on the way out and on the way back in. Instead, you go to the side and it's a bit like going to through a metro ticket machine thing. Same process really. Put your card in, the first set of doors open. You then scan your finger then pass through the second door and out. It should take 2 minutes which is a godsend. However, it never really works like that. This time it was my card that didn't work and I had to go through the normal process of getting my passport out and stamped.

Nearly there
The flight itself wasn't too bad actually. Mostly full. A bit of turbulence over the Indian Ocean, near Pakistan which though expected when you go from 'ocean' to 'land' but it's never an experience that I can say that I like. It really makes me nervous. Other than that, it was good. I watched Solider, Sailor, Tinker, Tailor. Is that the right word order?! Good movie. Slow in parts but I enjoyed it.

We got into Hong Kong around 9pm and were immediately whisked on a driverless train to the main immigration part. It look a while but doesn't it always. Then we got picked up and taken on a very nice coach through Kowloon, to Hong Kong Island and to the hotel. We checked in and went to the room which was on the 17th floor. The room was perfectly fine. It was after 11pm when we did this and instead of going to bed we cracked open the pink champagne, the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut and watched the Fugitive which was on the TV! How classy are we?!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yes Valentine's Day. More ingenious marketing by some bloke or company back years ago. And now we all have to play along otherwise questions will be asked, and arguments had. Or, the alternative view which states that you should show your love for your significant other on this day.

Whatever your view, it's still Valentine's Day.

To be honest, we didn't do much for it. A gift and a card. I can't say that we went out for the evening. Instead, we were busy getting ready for something much more exciting. Namely, our trip to Hong Kong in the morning.

Happy Valentine's Day nonetheless Mrs. F!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Off to Hong Kong on Wednesday for 4 days.

Looking forward to it, no doubt about it. I like going on holiday. I wish I could do it more often. Sadly though, work and money get in the way of that. If I won the lottery...sigh.

I've been before. My best mate and I went back in 2000. Again, that was for about 4 days. It was the first stop off on our round the world adventure. Neither of us had been to Asia before and it was all new. It didn't really start all that well as the flight to Hong Kong was delayed. It soon perked up when we saw Jackie Chan standing waiting for us as we landed. A cardboard cut out of him at any rate. We had to make do with the shuttle bus driver welcoming us.

It really was an amazing experience and I really enjoyed it. I think it's far to say that I really knew nothing about anything at that time but I suppose such innocence was part of it all. It was all eyes wide open trying to take everything in. I can clearly remember going for dinner in Kowloon, into some restaurant. It was like a big canteen. We proceeded to order and me being the nice-but-a-bit-dim bloke I was, I just assumed that because we can order prawn crackers with the Chinese takeaway back in Scotland that we could do so here because, well, we were in China. Clearly the waiter had never heard of them!

It will be odd going back. I'm 12 years older and with that, 12 years richer in experience. My best mate has been substituted by a wife. My advantex camera is no longer in use to take widescreen photos of the harbor at night but not really knowing if they would come out alright. Instead, I have a digital camera and I can take as many shots as I want. The places that I'll want to go may well be the same but they will be 12 years older. I might even get to places that I didn't get to before. I will know not to order prawn crackers. In fact, I might even be a bit more adventurous when it comes to eating. The smells of the street cafes and stalls. I suppose I've also got a bit more disposable money if I want to buy 'stuff'. There is no way that this trip can replace the experiences of the previous trip. I don't want them to. It'll just be different. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Five days til HKG.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


So, Fabio Cappello has resigned as England Manager. I was a bit surprised by that actually. He was contracted until the end of Euro 2012 on a £6 million-a-year contract. I guess he doesn't exactly need the money, does he?

It seems that his captain was stripped of the captaincy against his wishes. The captain, a certain John Terry. He's not one for keeping out of trouble that one. This time he's been charged with racially abusing another player who just so happens to be the brother of his England defensive partner. Of course, it might all be nothing. It might not be and as it stands, it doesn't look great. The court case is due right after Euro 2012.

I would put money on there being some kind of split in the dressing room particularly if Terry is selected. Of course there would be.

Cappello has had enough and off he has gone back to Italy. Not great timing you would think given that the Euro's take place in 4 or 5 months time. I think he probably should have left after the World Cup. England were rubbish and he proved to be stuck on 4-4-2. Fine if you have the players and the players have the energy and imagination to use it effectively to defeat lesser opposition who would invariably pack the midfield. He didn't and they were sent packing.

England would not have won the Euro's but have even less chance now you would think. They certainly know how to shoot themselves in the foot.

Up in Scotland, the Rangers Vs. Inland Revenue or whoever it is, is still going on. Apparently, Rangers owe something stupid like £40 million to the Government. Rangers disagree, for obvious reasons. I'm no tax expert but if they lose that, they are going to be in the proverbial you know what. It might even lead to going into Administration. Certain football fans, if not most of them would be delighted with that, I'm sure. Let's see what happens with that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Been knackered this week. Yawning my face off and out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow. I have been cycling and stuff this week so that might be the root cause of it all. That or walking to and from work just doesn't agree with me anymore. Old age kicks in. Better bloody not be the case.

Not related but I must write this down. In one of my classes is a guy. Not sure how old he is. Older than me, that's for sure. The first time I met him, something just looked 'off'. Something just didn't look right. I wasn't sure if was the way he stood or moved. I couldn't put my finger on it. I met him again and when I did, I thought 'hold on, what's up with his head?' From what I could see, he had like a Grade 3 or something at the back and sides. So far, so normal. But the rest of his hair just didn't 'sit'. It was as if he had had a bad haircut. Where the 'Grade 3' should have met the hair was a big kind of overlap of longer hair that just kind of sat. The hair on his head kind of looked a bit greasy as well. Again, fair enough. Some people have hair like that. And a bad haircut from time to time. I can definitely claim to have had a bad haircut in my time.

The 3rd time I met him was actually in class. Again, it just wasn't right. I ignored it and tried not to look. It's like that scene in the not-so-great Italian Job when Mark Wahlberg and Mos Def go to meet the 'Koreans'. Mos Def is told not to stare as the Korean dude is huuge. He stares. A lot. Well, I wasn't exactly like that. After class, I had to ask one of my colleagues what the story was.

'It's a wig' was the response.

I knew it. There was no way that it could have been real and so it proved!

My colleague said that he was bald and basically, got a wig.

How does that work though. I mean, if you are bald, you get a wig and then, what, the next day you go to work with it on? People would notice. I guess that's the whole point but wouldn't the people think 'hold on, he had no hair yesterday...' Wouldn't people say to him? Perhaps people are much to polite to say anything these days. Or maybe he went on a really long holiday and when he got back to work, he had hair and because he had been away so long, people had forgotten that he had no hair.

The point being, if you are bald you are bald. If I see a bald guy I look once 'oh he's bald' end of story. I don't need to look again. But, if a guy is wearing a wig, particularly a bad looking wig, I'm not just going to look once and move on. In fact, I'm going to look again to confirm what I thought I saw or didn't see the first time. Surely that defeats the purpose of someone who has a wig. He doesn't want you to look at him but what actually happens is the opposite. You do look and with it, you bring more attention on you!

I can't say anything to him though. I'd love to say 'look, you look silly, sort it out'. That probably wouldn't go down too well.

I can't imagine I'll get a wig. If I have no hair, I have no hair. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


I mentioned a couple of week ago about this car parking situation at the airport. It really doesn't bother me at the moment. I'm close enough to work so that I can walk without it being much of an issue. In fact, it's probably doing me good. 20 minutes there, and 20 minutes back. That's exercise that I've not been getting. For others though, it's been a inconvenience but most people have just dealt with it and adapted accordingly. You would, wouldn't you?

So, it appears that people have been parking in their designated areas, then either walking to the entry gate at the airport or taking a shuttle bus there and back. Easy. Well, to most folk it is.

Cue, our 'local' colleague. Seemingly the shuttle bus doesn't stop right at the door to the entry gate and she has to walk the length of herself from the drop off point to the entry gate. All of less that 100 metres. My god, what a dreadful distance to travel. On foot. It must be hell. She then kicked up a fuss saying that there was no shuttle bus blah blah blah. At this point, I really stopped listening. I couldn't care less. I just nodded and pretended to listen. So what if the shuttle bus doesn't stop right at the door. It's that kind of response that does my head. Perhaps it's a culture thing and what doesn't bother me, bothers her. Fair enough. But come on...

Monday, February 06, 2012


I was reading Rolling Stone the other day. Mostly I read it for the music but at times it's Politic articles are interesting. I clicked on one about US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. I don't know much about him or what he does. In the article it listed his 10 worst gaffes. Always a good read. Apart from trying to make a 10, 000 dollar bet live on national TV, he said this:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor."

Distasteful, isn't it?

To my eyes it is. If you are going to lead a country then you surely have to be all inclusive. You can't go leaving people behind or excluding people. What is that all about. If people in your country, the one you want to lead are very poor, you bloody well better be concerned. Why are they like that? What are the reasons for them being like that? And on top of that, what solutions can you make as leader to help? If they are not the fundamental questions that you are asking, then what kind of a leader are you? Hell, what kind of a man are you?

Oh, I forgot, the very poor are more likely to be disenfranchised and not able to vote and so you wouldn't lose any votes by not caring about them.

I bet he cares about the people at the other end of the scale, the ones with money and who can and do vote. I bet you 10, 000 dollars you care.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Billy Ocean.

You may or may not have heard of this guy before?

He was a really, superbig artist back in the 1980's. Indeed, I read that he still is the biggest selling Black UK artist ever. He had hits like 'When the going gets tough..' from Romancing the Stone, 'Caribbean Queen' and that song with Phil Collins, 'Easy Lover' I think.

The reason I mentioned him is because he played at the Irish Village across the road from us!

We had an excellent view of the stage from our balcony believe it or not. So there we were, scoffing sushi and Rose wine listening to him. He was alright and definitely had a big crowd at the Village. At £10 a ticket, I'm not surprised. That's cheap. I can't say I'm a big fan but it's not everyday that he essentially plays next to the house. Sadly, 'Billy Ocean is playing in my house' doesn't quite have the same ring to it as 'Daft Punk are playing in my house' but you can't have everything.

Seemingly another big act from the 1980's were meant to be playing as well, but in the end they didn't. The band? The Christians. They might well have only been big in Britain mind!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


That's the 1st month of the year gone in a flash. One of my goals this year was to get fit. Or should I say, fitter. We have a gym at the top our building and is great. When I can be bothered going to it.

When I do go, I have begun to record what I do in terms of time spent and distance 'travelled'. Mostly I cycle. There is a treadmill but I don't really enjoy running all that much. If I cycle though, I can read at the same time and that makes the time go faster. It's all about deceiving myself you see. So, last month I worked out that I had cycled something like 85km and spent about 2 and a half hours doing so. The longest I cycled was for 30 minutes and in that time I managed about 13km. I'm not sure if that's a lot. I suppose that its my 'benchmark' for the rest of the year. I really want it to continue. Often I just can't be bothered with it but once I'm there and doing it, I'm fine. I feel tired after but also refreshed. It does feel 'good'. Its all a mental thing with me. Got to be tough.

I've also bought a pack of resistance bands. Basically, it strips of plastic, like a burst balloon I suppose which stretches. The longer the band the easier it is to stretch, the shorter it is the harder it is and with it, you can tone your muscles. Its to be used in place of weights. Well, I think it sounds like a good idea!

February is here and it's time to continue with it. I'm aiming for 15 days of 'action'. That might be pushing especially since we're off to Hong Kong in the middle of the month. No pain, no gain. Apparently.