Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter: Wedding

A wet Thursday evening, the ceremony was scheduled to start at 5 pm. I had just climbed into an Uber, it was already 5:30. The rain teamed down and not surprisingly the wet weather wreaked havoc on the roads. There's something calming about rain, except in Hong Kong. Rain brings a heightened sense of anxiety, the additional umbrellas, the lack of taxis and the congested roads coupled with the formidable T8 and Black Rain storms add to the the already humid climate. This evening felt different. The blaring of the horns, the stagnant traffic jamming the Aberdeen tunnel adding to my already late arrival had me calm. Work has been busy, but productive and it was a nice end to the week. I had the Easter long weekend to look forward to and a trip to Malaysia scheduled and it all started with a Easter wedding in Hong Kong.

This would be my second Hong Kong wedding, my first was a huge production and this was billed as an intimate casual affair with close friends and around 60 people who had made the trip over from Australia. Anthony and Sylvie get married at The Verandah in Repulse Bay, followed by a late night romp in Mahalo, Wan Chai and late night ramen in Ichi Ran, Causeway Bay. Happy Easter!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Locked myself out of the apartment

That moment, when you arrive home and you realise, that you don't have your keys and that the only spare set is back at work. The round trip back to Quarry Bay from Sheung Wan is brutal. I really should have a spare set of keys somewhere closer.

Currently reading: "The Light Between Oceans"

Monday, 7 March 2016

Southern Sri Lanka

Admittedly, Sri Lanka has never been high on my list of countries to visit. So when a last minute invitation came my way it roused interest without any real desire. The interest wasn't so much from the country, but more from the company and from whom the invite came from. After consulting a few friends, it turns out most people all shared the same sentiment that it was a very special place worth visiting.

Given the last minute notice, I luckily secured annual leave and book tickets with 50,000 miles and 400 HKD. The flight is perfectly timed after work on the 4th Friday and despite being in business class I don't really manage to sleep throughout the 4.5 hour flight. We arrive in Colombo and negotiate a driver to take us straight to Weligama for 10,000 LHK. Despite a horrible first night hotel we wake early on the Saturday and head to W15.



For two days, we become familiar with the art of haggling Tuk Tuk Drivers navigating our way between Weligama and Mirissa Beach. Enjoying fresh juices, plenty of seafood all whilst learning to surf. On the 7th we head to Galle, for an evening at the Sunhouse, a beautiful Colonial guest house serving delectable Egg Hoppers and Mahi mahi Roti wraps.



The highlight of this leg is the train from Galle to Colombo. The weather is sticky and angry, and despite our attempts to get first class tickets, we find ourselves at the train station 30 mins before departure trying to secure a spot in the non-air-conditioned carriages of second class. At 3:30, we realise the train is late and the heavens open up lashing the platform and surrounding Galle with a cleansing storm. Suddenly the platform rouses from the lethargy and people shuffle along the platform as the train pulls in. Second class is warm, the deep smell of spices and the trace sound of flute players. We find a seat in front of a group of nuns as head north with our back to our destination. Sometimes you can't see what's in front of you, but you know you're heading somewhere special and all you can do is just admire what's passed. Pause, reflect, absorb and then it's gone, part of the horizon.













Monday, 8 February 2016

Monkey 2016

It's that time of the year! Where Hong Kong feels like a normal, uncrowded city with a lot of closed shop fronts and when I thoroughly clean my apartment and try not to infringe upon the Chinese Traditions. Given my last few years, I'm pretty sure I'm not doing it correctly. Although the notice in my building seems to suggests that everything will be fine as long as we don't produce any trash or takeout the trash on the first day of the year.


The weather this past weekend has been amazing. Hong Kong you have truly outdone yourself. Happy Chinese New Year!


Monday, 1 February 2016

Short Term Memory: Osaka-isms

And, we're back! Osaka, round 2. We booked the exact flights we took last time, two days annual leave, fly out Thursday evening, arrive back Monday night. The flights with Jetstar are just too cheap to pass up, half the price of the next cheapest carrier. However, the adage of "You get what you pay for" holds true, in fact it was exactly the same last time. I had just forgotten. Our flight was delayed again, this time for an hour. Thankfully the flight wasn't full, but the constant chatter of passengers and the lack of seat recline made it particularly difficult to sleep.

Each time tiredness overpowered my body inducing my body into a relaxed state my muscles would seize up and my head would jerk. There was also an unusual pattern for cabin lighting, dim, bright lights, shifting through different lighting ambiances throughout the flight. Ontop of that the airline decided it would be useful to announce every movement and update, in three languages. "We will soon be serving food", "we are now serving food", "we will soon be selling duty free", "we are now serving duty free". Suffice to say, little sleep was hard to come by. Funnily enough, despite all the complaints, I'd have no issues taking the same flight again.


So why are we back? Ko's Buck's party. Reliving the memories. Here's what we did, checked into Stargate hotel, Airport hotel, managed to get us a little more sleep. Friday, it's raining and wet, I don't have the right footwear, after 1 hour of walking my feet are complete soaked, we take the Rapi:T into town, ¥980 for 40 mins. Checked into the Cabana Capsule hotel. That feeling when you take off wet shoes and have a hot shower cannot be described. The day one agenda was: Eat. Eat. Eat. Buying Buck's costume. Eat. Spa. Sleep. The capsule hotel is practical, but noisy, you have to be pretty darn exhausted to sleep here as every movement strains the capsule and the evening is littered with the creaks and groans of the capsules.





Saturday. People from Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore have arrived, early morning train into Kyoto. Food tour "can you say, Sashime?" 10 courses of food, and a sake tasting experience (¥8000). Checked into the local Ryokan and had dinner in the Geisha region of Gion. 


Sunday. Another early start, the 7/11s in Japan are amazing, I buy a pre-packed poached chicken breast, some nuts and a hard boiled egg for breakfast. Train back to Osaka for a lovely bike tour through Fukushima along the Yoda river (¥6000). Includes Okonomiyaki lunch, beer drinking up the hill and around the neighbour hood. Dinner at our favourite restaurant Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku. Waitress remembers us, well remembers one of us. This is a pretty half-assed attempt at a Blog post.




Ah Japan. You're a whirlwind of fun and warmth in our tummies.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Coldest day since 1957

It's cold; 3° C cold. Just like London isn't built for the heat, Hong Kong isn't built for the cold. The high humidity and the lack of heating have led to an increase in the sale of Uniqlo Down Jackets.

My apartment is freezing, condensation billows from my mouth as I breath. I'm wearing everything I own and have my duvet draped over me. I futilely scrunch my toes up under my socks to no avail.

My oven is on and I'm not baking anything. Why is Hong Kong so extreme?


Currently reading: "Bird By Bird"