Friday, September 29, 2006

Another pleaasant meal....

Well, with the obligatory round of mutual back slapping, the 50th pipe flange welders congress has drawn to an end, and acquantances who meet together twice a year for a bit of "aren't we so wonderful" are flying back to their different countries. My two colleagues are flying back at 3 am, so we agree to go out for dinner tonight, and we walk along the waterfront to a bar-grill-view called Lift. Being the only smoker in the group and because the evening was starting to get chilly, I suggest we eat inside (where I can't smoke).
The service was mediocre, but the food was good: I had a spicey paella, and my two fellow diners went for the salmon and the pork chop. My meal was washed down with pale ale, which I have to confess I find very pleasant here in Canada and far superior to Mohlson or Pabst.
After the meal I ventured upstairs to the patio for a cigarette to find they had a massive gas powered fire in the middle of the patio to keep warm and glass screens to keep the breeze off.
Tommorrow I have a morning sight seeing then fly to San Francisco on Saturday.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Great food,shame about the company!

Well Spike had a horrible meal, on the other hand, I had a very pleaseant meal from Canadian food, started off with lobster chowder, then a salad, followed by a nice piece of Alberta Tenderloin; dessert was an apple pie and all washed down with some glasses of BC red wine.
It was just a shame that the company was not more interesting - but that goes with conference type dinners. But I had a good feed, and just one more day of dull presentations - then Friday I am on a guided tour of this city, then off to San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Being bear aware!

I took a drive up to Whistler today from Vancouver, and it was a wonderful day with bright sunshine and warm enough for short sleeved shirts. The road is undergoing widening at the moment, to make it ready for the 2010 winter olympics, so there were lots of road crews out working, but, fortunately not too many delays. I was surprised to see so many girls working in the road crews, not the sort of job you would normally expect a woman to do, but good on them. Safety was a high priority with these gangs with lots of safety notices around. One such notice, aimed at the traffic going past the site said "Please, drive carefully because our Mommy works here. Love Tyler and Chad". At first I thought it was a clever sign, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that any woman who names her children Tyler and Chad deserved to die!
We stooped at a couple of waterfalls along the way, here is a photo of one of them: Brandywine waterfall, or something:
On the way to the viewpoint we had to walk along this path and there I saw something, I thought was really neat, a Caterpillar digger equipped with wheels so it could run on a railway track:.
Finally, we got to Whistler, which I didn't like much. It felt like a plastic town. Its the first ski resort I have been to and I have no urge to go to another one! But I did have a relly nice salmon burger there, cooked with a teriyaki glaze and served with a really nice coleslaw salad. Yummee.
Took some photos on the way back, just because I tyhought the colours were nice.

Oh, yes the bears. Well I didn't see any, unless you count some racoons in Stanley Park, but I thought the bear proof bins were a really neat idea, something they should use in the UK against foxes. Remember a fed bear is a dead bear.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Well its just gone midnight,

and its half past three in the afternoom in Hong Kong, and I have just woken up; my Buddha, jet-lag is a bummer.

Had a quick look around Vancouver, last night - i.e I made it across the road to the pub opposite the hotel. It ws a cool, clear evening, but a bit cool for sitting outside at a table where I could smoke. The leaves, on the trees are only just startring to turn, I am sure that in a week or two the colours here will be wonderful.

I saw a few flocks of geese up in the sky, and wandered if they were a hazard for the numerous sea planes that use Horseshoe Bay for a landing strip.

On the minus side I did notice a fair ammount of litter from a certain fast food outlet, and later in the evening, quite a few beggars, who were quite pushy in their demeanour.

The beer here is nice. At the first bar I started off with Granville Island English Bay Pale Ake, which had a mild, smooth flavour, and wasn't at all pale, it was quite dark. Then I switched to Kokanee, which is a crisp, light lager, and after a few of these I was calling them Coca-Colas.

It seemed it was a lot more fun sitting outside with the smokers than being stuck indoors watching TV. There was a big party of cabin crew who had just paid off a cruise liner and were whooping it up. There are a lot of oriental faces and Scottish accents in Vancouver, or thats what it seems to me. I suppose there is a good reason for it.

Oh yes, they don't seem to use cradles here for cleaning the windows on skyscrapers, they just seem to abseil down, cleaning the windows as they go - looks very dodgy to me.

Vancouver day 1

Well I have arrived in Vancouver, where it is Monday afternoon, although my computer (set on Hong Kong time) tells me its Tuesday morning. The flight was pretty uneventful, if a little bit turbulent. The Cathay Pacific cabin staff were great.
I was a little bit surprised to find that the fine for smoking on a Cathay airplane is only HKD5,000, that's less than the fine for smoking in Times Square - not that I succumbed to my nicotine craving, mind you; it was just on a notice behind the toilet door.

Immigration and custgoms at Vancouver airport were a doddle and I was soon at the hotel to find that the agent had booked me a non-smoking room. The only smoking room they had available was on the lounge floor, so an upgrade was necessary. Not sure about the room number though: 911. My boss twigged in the lift that I had upgraded top a lounge room, but hasn't said anything.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Eight days a week...

... and two of them are Mondays. This afternoon I fly to Vancouver, and get there this afternoon; such are the wonders of crossing the International Date Line, but its not very good planning to have two Mondays in a week.
Some of you will be thinking that it doesn't matter because when I fly back I will lose a whole day, which is true but its a Saturday! Thats right an extra working day and a day shorter weekend - hmmm.
I am looking forward to my trip:- 5 days in Vancouver folloewd by a week in San Francisco, it should be fun.
I will try and blog, so my two readers know what is going on.

"They used to boast there were only two ways to escape from Hitler's Beckstadt prison... to die...or to sprout wings." Well, I am sprouting wings, so to speak, the sort of wings carried on a Cathay Pacific Airbus A340.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Secret Policeman's Ball

Last evening, went and had a chilli con carne with some colleagues from work at one of their appartments out at Pok Fu Lam, and very nice it was too. By the time we left I was in the mood for going out a bit longer, so I went to Joe Banana's. They had a Corona promotion going, which was very pleasant to watch, but a little bit crazy - very few people whose tickets came out in the draw were there to collect them; mind you with such exciting prizes as cigarrette lighters, travel bags and a beach towel, its hardly surprising.

Anyway, I found myself a space by the bar, and was enjoying myself, watching the comings and goings, when a young lady comes and stands next to me. Unfortunately, for her the two Chinese guys sat next to her, on the other side light cigarettes, and the smoke is drifting straight into her face.

Taking this as a cue, I strike up a conversation; her name is Wee, she comes from Issan, has been here two weeks, its her first time in Hong Kong, and she doesn't like it very much, but must send money home to her papa, who is looking after her seven year old daughter. Probably much the same story as you would get from most of the Thai girls you meet in Wanchai. It doesn't help that she doesn't like cigarette smoke and doesn't drink.

After she asks, I tell her that I will be going home alone that night as I have to work the next day, so she asks if I am a policeman! A policeman?, I ask, what makes you think that? Apparently it was the beard! Not having seen a policeman with a beard in Hong Kong or Thailand, I was a little taken aback, but thought it quite funny.

Went home around midnight to find there was a peaceful military coup going on in Bangkok, so I ended up staying up far later than I intended, and now I feel as rough as a badgers arse.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

So you want to join the army?

I am amused by the antics of german art student, Pablo Wendel (Pablo, now, that's a good German name), who disguised himself as a terracotta warrior and hid amongst the 2,000 other life size statues at Xi'an. Apparently, he even bought a plinth to stand on.

It seems it took the security guards a while to fathom out which was the intruder, and they had to carry him out "like a log".
Police said his actions warranted only "serious criticism and education" since he did not cause any damage. Hah, I would have conscripted him into the real army, that would have taught him a lesson about playing stupid pranks.

If only all those other fakes in China were a little easier to spot.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bloggers Block

I haven't posted in a while - have just been too lazy, had other things on my mind and nothing has inspired me.

So a quick summary of the week:- I met up with Nicke and Ead on Sunday night and we headed up LKF. I am not a Sunday evening type person - with work the next day I would rather soak in a bath all evening, but with friends in town you have to make a bit of an effort. They seemed quite impressed with LKF, but with their toddler in tow it really wasn't the place to hang around for long, so showed them some of the sights of Central district, before shoving them back onto the ferry to Kowloon.

Monday night, I got a phone call two of our Chinese employees had not turned up in Trinidad, as they were supposed to, and anothr two who were in transit had disappeared off the face of the Earth. Eventually they all turned up fit and well in Miami, where the queues at US immigration caused them to miss their connection. They finally got to Port of Spain, but minus any baggage.

Tuesday was the day of the death of umbrellas. I have never seen so many brollies cast on the ground. Why don't people put them in the bins, or was the wind that strong that it wrenched all these from the hands of pedestrians?

Of course the big news on Thursday evening was the earthquake. Well, I can report that from the bar I was sat in I didn't hear or feel a thing!

That's been my week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another weekend in Hong Kong

Friday night I headed out late-ish and went straight to Neptune, since I hadn't been there in a while. Got myself settled by the bar. Emily came over to say "Hi", and we got chatting. It ended up being a very pleasant evening, ignoring all the girls who were giving me the come on and just chatting to people in general. Some guy comes up to me and puts his hand around my shoulder and asks "wharrrr arrrr u phrmmm?", so I told him Mid-levels. "ooooh, uarr clpher, wharrrr errrr u barn?" - to which I responded "Yes I am clever, and you are drunk - now go away and annoy someone else".
There was an excedingly attractive Colombian girl there - fair hair, blue eyes, slightly upturned nose, nice tits and a fit body to match. Her English was non-existant, and I was too drunk to remember any Spanish. There were a few girls who I think are also Colombian, and they do not appear to be very popular down there amongst the Fillippinas. "Colombians only come here to smuggle drugs" and "Colombian girl rob customer of HKD100K from his hotel room" - all taken with a pinch of salt by your correspondent - and anyway if he did have that much money lying around in his hotel room then "som nam na", as the thais would say.
Saturday, a friend from Thailand arrived on a visa run with his wife Ead. I arranged to meet them on Avenue of the Stars, and got there just before it started to rain. Took them for a dimsum meal, which they liked. It was still raining when we finished eating so we came across to the Hong Kong side, where the rain was easing - took them round Hong Kong Park, then we headed to Times Square, as Ead wanted to see the shops.
I was thoroughly fed up after a couple of hours, so I gave them some suggestions for the evening, and headed home. Will probably meet up with them this evening.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Conferences you don't really want to go to....

I have been attending one of those very tedious conferences this week. The sort of thing where people give talks, which are thinly veiled sales pitches, and during the coffee or meal breaks, try and sell you products that a) you don't need, and b) provide zero return to your company.

Having said that it was good to meet different people and catch up with new developments in that industry. At least they took us out to dinner at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Our venue was the Compass Room, and as you would expect this room is round offering great views over the harbour.

It was a very sociable evening, and I found myself at a table of men and women from TeleFrance, who made very entertaining dinner companions. The food was very enjoyable: seared scallops and shrimps, noisette of lamb, chocolate tart, all washed down by several glasses of wine.

When I left about eleven thirty, I was tempted to venture down to Wanchai, but I decided that my bed would be a more sensible destination. I eventually got a taxi that was going in the right direction and headed home to the arms of morpheus.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Holiday photos

One of Peanuts friends, Tan, had a birthday party whilst I was there. She was a very popular girl. It is usual there for a garland of flowers to be hung round the girls neck, and people staple money to it. I think Tan must have got 6-7,000 baht by the end of the evening. At the time of the photo, everyone was singing Happy Birthday, and clapping.
This is Bea, she is one of the girls who tried to drag me into her bar, and I went back to see her the following evening. Really friendly girl, who I enjoyed spending some time with.
Here are some of Peanuts friends; I had gone to say good-bye to them, on my last evening. I can't remember where my left hand was, but more to the point is: where is my beer?

OK, this photo was taken on the way home on my last night. I must have been totally brahms - you can see that the garland of flowers has moved to the top of my head, and my eyes have a sort of glazed look about them.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back to reality with a thump!

Friday night was my last night in Phuket, and I spent it going round the bars saying good-bye to all the friends I had made. As you can imagine by the end of the night I was fairly brahms; but it was an enjoyable evening. The best part was going to the bar where a lot of Peanut's friends hang out. "Where's Peanut", they asked. "Mai roo", says I "we've broken up". I thought they may be frosty after this, but several of them became very friendly indeed.

I will post a few holiday snaps, in the next couple of days, once I have sorted them out.

Back to Hong Kong on Saturday night, and I was pleased to get back to the mundane things in life like walking to Park'n'Shop. My life must seem so boring.

This morning catching the bus to work was a nightmare. First of all they have moved the bus stop, back to where it should be, but not where it has been since I have been here (if you get my drift). Crossing the road was a nightmare, as I live opposite on of Hong Kong's finer educational establishments, and all these people carriers and Mercede's were dropping off their loved ones to start the new school term.

Get into work, to find that my two Chinese underlings, who I delegated my work to on holiday have only achieved about 10 percent of what they were supposed to, and zero percent of the4 time critical stuff.

Oh well such is life, it won't be long until the next holiday at Xmas!