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.

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

Currently reading: "Bird By Bird"

Friday, 15 January 2016

PAYG Tax, not here?

I just paid my 2015/2016 Tax Bill, not feeling particularly wealthy right now. It's a vicious cycle, always at the end of the year I think to myself "Hey, I saved a decent amount of money this year". Then I pay my tax and I re-think "Hey, I really didn't save that much money this year". 

The funny part is, it's only 15%. I really should not be complaining. Time for a month of austerity.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

48 hour water and tea fast

The apartment still smells. My housemates have left yet the smell insidiously lingers. Is this the offensive smell that my mother complained about when I lived in Sydney?

I wonder what the effect of this noisome would have on prepubescent females; they would gush and swoon leaving me with unexplainable pile of teenage bodies. Anyway. The first four days of the new year have been excess: Oolaa, Cha Cha Wan, Yung Kee, Tsim Chai Kee, Emacks and Bolio, Fu Sing, San Xi Lou, Carbone, Flaming Frangos and Tai Cheong. Non-stop eating.

Out of guilt and as an attempt to level out the volume of food I attempt my first 48 hour fast. Just water and green tea. Noticeable drop in body temperature and keto-breath that would also leave me with an unexplainable pile of bodies. All in all, aside from some jitters and the occasional lapse in focus I'm feeling pretty good.

I mentally put together my list of 2016 resolutions and prepare break fast at Island Tang with my uncle and auntie.

Currently reading: "Look Who's Back" - Timur Vermes

Friday, 1 January 2016

Two thousand and sixteen!

I struggle to open my bedroom door. The handle is jammed, the desultory jangle of the handle turning back and forth goes on for a few more seconds. I hear laughter on the other side of the door. I'm not alone in the apartment. I prise the door open, unconcerned as to why it took so much effort.

Two friends from lie sprawled in my tiny 120 square foot living room. One lies on the carpet wrapped in a duvet, the other awkwardly folded on my couch (he's > 6", my couch is  < 6"). Familiar faces from Sydney uprooted and temporarily living in my apartment. I take a deep breath and rub my eyes, the living room smells like dude, it's an olfactory shock. Like the inside of a mens locker room. I light a candle, it does little to dissipate the smell. My nose soon forgets what I was smelling as my other senses refocus.

Forgot how much fun these guys are and I'm stoked that they're staying over, only wish I could offer them more comfortable board. We play monopoly deal, watch TV (UFC, Making a Murderer, Seinfeld), laugh and chat; feels like only yesterday.

It's the 1st of January - Last night is what they call a doozy. Black out intoxication. Volar. Later interviews would include descriptions such as "Oh yeah, I saw you twice last night, once in LKF, the other in Volar, don't you remember?" supplemented with "you weren't really talking, it was more like barking littered with the occasional slur". My head confirms that all stories can probably be believed.

Time to make some changes this year. My attempts to complete my 2015 resolutions all but failed, except one 'to read more'; currently reading "The Martian". Time to roll last year's incomplete resolutions over to 2016, probably should break the tasks down into more quantifiable milestones.

Bring on the New Year!

Friday, 25 December 2015


Your Annual Leave has been approved: 25th December 2015 - 3rd January 2016.

Decisions, decisions. Do I, (A). Go to Phuket with people I hang out with in Hong Kong on a weekly basis, or; (B). Return to Sydney for my first Christmas in Sydney in eight years?

It's a no-brainer. I go to Phuket and stomp out the year with a flurry of Redbull Vodkas and Pad thais! That's what 19 year old Derek would have said. 33 year old Derek on the other hand locks in option B. No calling a friend. No asking the audience.

I depart Hong Kong on Christmas Eve. The airport is not surprisingly busy, people are shuffling through security with purpose and spending a little longer in the the Duty Free outlets. The airport radiates warm fuzzies. I arrive in Sydney, bleary eyed, managed minimal sleep. It doesn't matter! It's Christmas! I'm in Sydney!

My sister, my conspirator, takes me home. "Hello! Merry Christmas!". No answer. Where is everybody? I dump my luggage and walk through to the kitchen. Mom and Dad are lounging in their PJs (actually, they're hiding). "Hey! What are you doing back?" "I was just saying, why does he sound like Derek?". Not exactly the reaction I was going for, but I'll take it. It's good to see them!

I sometimes dread going home, it's not because I don't want to go home. It's more I know that I'll be in the firing line for a certain set of questioning. "What's been happening?", "Where are you working?", "Are you dating somebody now?", "When are you coming home?". There's times I don't feel like I have an adequate enough answer for those meaty questions. Speaking of meaty, I sure did miss home cooked food. Merry Christmas!

"And this christmas will be a very special christmas for me" - This Christmas, Donny Hathway

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Santa Claus is coming to town: Santacon 2015

There is always an excitement in the air around December. It could be attributed to the long year finally coming to an end, or the slightly cooler weather, but there is no mistaking the festive season and the buzz that Christmas generates. Wreaths and tinsel adorn retailer shop fronts while classical and remixed renditions of Christmas carols blend in with the car horns and chatter of the Hong Kong cacophony.

It's 11:45 on a Saturday morning and two men walk through Soho, Hong Kong. Young children stare, confused. Parents stare, disgusted. Locals stare, bemused. The two men are dressed in red faux velvet with white fur trimmings with matching hats both carrying cans of open beer. Both dressed as Santa Claus and despite the absurdity of the scene are on course to meet another hundred or so people similarly dressed. It's that time of the year again, Santacon.

What started in San Francisco has quickly become a global sensation (or nuisance, depending who you are). The Hong Kong leg, just so happens to be organised by two friends, Americans, no less. An annual pub crawl where participants dress up as Santa Claus. The typical route has seen an army of red and white move to various bars around Hong Kong. 2015  was a change in direction and the removal of the TST leg has not been popular with all participants. 

Regardless, the end point is always the same. Traffic on Lockhart Road has been blocked by a sea of red and white spilling out into the Wan Chai evening.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The BD Birthday: Taipei

I've slept 11 hours for two consecutive nights since returning from this Taipei trip. Feeling tired is an understatement.

Currently reading "Four Hour Work Week" - Time Ferriss