Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A long and rambling post....

I haven't drafted this post, and am writing it straight on to blogger, so apologies if it isn't structured very well; but here goes.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about meeting a charming, young lady at a favourite watering hole in Wanchai, and how we exchanged phone numbers. I did, indeed, get in touch with her and suggested that we went and took some photos on Saturday, since the weather forecast was fine. She readily agreed to this suggestion, but she couldn't meet until 4pm as she had a class to go to, and could we go to one of the outer islands. So thje plan was to meet at the piers at Central and head out to Lamma Island.

Although the company was good, I was not impressed with Lamma - there seems to be one main path which appears to be a race track for cyclists and packs of pedestrians - not the place for a stroll. Well we made it passed the beach, and after the beach the island seems to be dominated by a power station. So we headed back into the main town and ate some grilled meat from a Thai(?) kitchen, then headed to a bar for a couple of pints each (yes, she drinks pints and smokes), and then headed back to central on the ferry.

P (that is the pseudonym I will use for this lady) then suggested that on Sunday she could cook me a meal at her apartment, as long as I didn't mind being in a small place. When I came to Hong Kong I was told that Hong Kong people always go out to eat, drink and everything, because their apartments are so small. but on Sunday I saw just how compact these can be.

P rents an apartment in Wanchai, which is about 10 foot long by 6 foot wide. However, despite this small area, it is complete with a bed, a trunk that doubles as a table, a fridge with two hot plates on top.

In this miniscule area P managed to cook me a meal:- spaghetti with seafood. She decided to add some squid ink to the spaghetti, but I think she put too much in. I ate what I could, and since then evrything has been stained black - ughh.

She used to be a cook, so that is a plus point; next time she can cook in my kitchen!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Carbs are back!

John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is one of my personal heroes; not only did he carry on with his game of cards when he should have stopped for some food, but he gave his name to a staple British food, the sandwich, when he instructed his servants to serve him roast beef served between two hunks of bread.
Recent fads like the Atkins diet have told us that we don't need carbohydrates and bread has been in demise ever since, to be replaced with such horrors as soy burgers and alfalfa sprouts.
OK british food is not famous for its gastronomic delights but how can you knock such British staples as toad-in-the-hole, and cornish pasties.
Well the good news is, according to a nutritionist from New Zealand, feasting on potatoes, rice and white bread at bedtime does not necessarily make you put on weight.
So, now, where can I find a chip butty and curry sauce?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Field trip photos

OK th other day some one left a comment asking to see the photos from the field trip, well here are some of them.

Here's the Star Ferry - you wouldn't think that the light was terrible- would you?

Here's someone else from the course - I liked the angle of this photograph.

We went over to the Kowloon side, really early and the light was terrible. Trying to get the subject in and the background was a nightmare!

Here's an ape at the zoo. I didn't like the photo, but I was told that having the cage bars at an angle was artistic!

This is one of the girls on the field trip - concentrating on her camera settings.

This is the big fountain in Hong Kong Park - I used a long exposure time to try and blur the water. Luckily no one walked in front as I was taking the shot!

This is the same fountain - I used a fast exposure time to try and freeze the water in mid air.

Here's a night time shot, done with a long exposure - about 20 seconds; I was lucky that the bus came along as it adds some interest.

This is another, long exposure shot. I was very pleased with these, as I didn't have a tripod, and was resting the camera on the handrail of the bridge - but hanging omto the camera strap!

Photo workshop last day

Yesterday was the last day of the photo workshop, and it was a long day.
The first couple of hours covered flashlight technology and rules - all new to me, but easy to pick up, then we set up the studio, and took it in turns to be photographer model and assistants. I have to say, that with so many people it got a bit tedious in the end. Standing around holding a light to illuminate the back drop is boring and holding a light to illuminate the hair is tiring, but it was fun being photographer and model.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Midweek and going out

I have realised that my life has become even more predictable and boring recently, but by the time I get back from work, I am just too shattered or lazy to go out. Its time for a change!

So yesterday, I went to a seminar to discuss the "Human Element" (no, nothing to do with kettles). Afterwards, I remembered that I needed to pick up a firewire cable, so headed off to Wanchai Computer Mall; and was very disciplined, and only bought the cable.

After that it was nearly time for Crazy Hour at Carneggies so I strolled the few blocks and managed to secure a seat at the bar. The bar was fairly quiet, though a few of the regular faces were there. Anyway, a short while later an attractive Chinese lady walks in and grabs a gap at the bar next to me, and orders a pint of Tetley's bitter. I gave her a chance to take her drink to a table, but, no, she is happy where she is - so I offered her my chair, which she declined. Carried on chatting for a while. After she finishes her pint, I offer her another and she switches to Guinness. Anyway we are getting on like a house on fire, but the lack of food and drinking in midweek means that I am not fit to carry on this wonderful evening. We exchange phone numbers, and I head back home in a taxi with me wondering "what kind of girl walks into a bar on her own and drinks pints of bitter?"

I will let you know if this goes any further; but, I do need to get into training for these midweek sessions, as I seem to be totally out of practice.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Washed out and knackered

Since I have come back from China, I have been totally knackered. I suppose its a combination of old age and jet lag. So I haven't been out of an evening yet, which is very boring for those of you that are interested in reading about me going out.

At the weekend I did a photography workshop. It was good revision, for me; but the light was terrible on Sunday morning when we had to take the first ferry from Central to TST. Getting up to catch a ferry at 6.30 on Sunday morning was not fun.

I took about 300 photos on Sunday, of which about ten where of a standard where I would want to keep them. Oh, well it just shows that I need to practice more!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

San Francisco

Whilst I was in SF, I was too busy at the software users conference to blog, and probably, because I was too busy I didn't get to see the city properly, but, my overall impression is not a good one.

What I did like was:
-The no smoking rule: you can't smoke in any public building or within 20 feet of a door that could open into one. The result of this was I smoked far fewer cigarettes last week than I have done in a long time.
-Cucumber Sake Martinis. Discovered these in the hotel bar and found them quite delicious, and you can deceive yourself that they are a healthy drink.
The people, I have always liked most Americans I have met, they do seem to be so friendly.
The Apple store, great place!
King of Thai Noodle shop - terrible food and decor, but great service and cheap. The food wasn't that bad, but I have high standards when it comes to Thai food.
Clothes shops - at last I could replenish my wardobe with ease; I find it hard to find fat bastard sized clothes in Hong Kong.

OK, what I didn't like was:-
The noise, traffic noise was terrible, especially fire department vehicles who seem to need to put their sirens ion even when there is little or no traffic around.
The number of homeless people begging on the streets. Some of them were witty, some of them were pleasant, some of them were a pain in the ass.
There were a few other things but I don't want to turn this into a moan.

Got to the airport to check in on Friday night and they asked if I would volunteer to downgrade to economy class as business class was overbooked. Initially I declined, but when I was sat in the business lounge sipping a G&T, I started thinking what I could do with the money they were offering, so I went and put my name down as a volunteer. Sure enough I was downgraded, got a nice wedge of dosh when I arrived in Hong Kong, but now, can't remember what I decided to spend the money on!

Flying up to Dalian this afternoon for a couplke of days, back in town on Tuesday