Sunday, April 29, 2007

One last chance.....

Peanut got in touch with me before I went on holiday, and said that she wanted to get back together again. When I went to Thailand, I sat down with her, and explained exactly why I had split up with her last time, and said that I was willing to try again, but, if their was any repeats of the old games she use to play, that she would be out the door faster than a scolded cat. We had a great time on holiday, then I came back to Hong Kong and she went back to her home for the Songkran Festival. I spoke to her the other day, and she has sorted out a few things, and is now ready to come to Hong Kong, later this month.
So here is the plan - from the 19th I will have a 1 week holiday in Pattaya, and she will join me - then we'll both fly back to Hong Kong.
I have never been to Pattaya, it has been described to me as "Phuket on steroids", which really ain't my scene, but I am sure there are some great things to do there to fill up the week. Just got to book the flight, now! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The worst chat up line in the world?

"Spartans! Enjoy your breakfast, for tonight we dine in Hell!" is not the way to pick up women. In fact, even in a place where all you need to say to pick up someone is "Hello", the Spartans line will leave you standing in a space five metres clear of anything with two legs. But this was the advise I was offered last night.

Fortunately, despite eager encouragement, from a certain person to try it, I was not drunk enough to pretend to be Gerard Butler. I don't look like him and I don't have a Glaswegian accent!

I don't know about anyone else, but was Hong Kong busier than usual this morning. The walkway between IFC and my office seemed busier, and people seemed to be striding with a greater urgency than usual. And, the traffic seemed busier than usual on the road. Maybe I missed something or perhaps it just that it's spring.

Finally, a la Fumier, to the lady driving a powder blue BMW saloon - sorry I didn't get the registration number, I was too busy giving the driver a withering stare of contempt. Lady, if you do decide to park in a bus stop lay-by to bring your husband to work, then buses will be forced to stop in the road because you are blocking the lay by. When the bus doors open it usually means people are going to get off the bus, so, this is probably not a good time to pull away. I would have stopped to remonstrate with you further, but I was late.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Mind

I have just happened to glance out of the office window, and my immediate thought was that it was night time or a total eclipse at 10.30 in the morning! The street lights are on, cars are using their headlights, and I can see into the offices of other buildings clearly.
However the reason for this is not some unpredicticted astronomical event, or my watch stopping, its really low, dark clouds scudding ominously across the sky. These remind me of a scene from the movie "the Day after Tomorrow". These great, majestic structures of ice and water have sprung up almost with out warning. The wind has freshened and changed direction.
And, now, the raqin is falling.
They say that every cloud has a silver lining; I suppose it will wash all the pollution away.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Its just another Monday morning

However, this morning we were blessed with rain. Not the soggy rain that makes you feel uncomfortable, but proper rain that falls horizonatally through the covered walkways ( can anything fall horizontally, or have I just invented an oxymoron?), wherre the petit, office girls struggle manfully to prevent their umbrellas collapsing from the wind or acting like a kite, when the small girl would take off like some Asian Mary Poppins.
This is the kind of rain that clears the air, and makes it possible for me to see the hills of the New Territories, whereas, I normally struggle to make out the buildings past North Point. It brings colour back into life, rather than a sort of insipid washed out grey that seems to pervade everything.
Already, an hour after it has stopped raining I can see a yellow pall of pollution building up in the north-east, and I am sure that soon we will back to Hong Kong's dark satanic views (with apologies there to William Blake).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Things could only get better

After the maintenance people left, I packed up my camera gear and headed down to Western District to take some photographs, but my heart wasn't really in it. It was an uninsipring afternoon, but good exercise - lugging all that camera gear around and walking for a few miles up and down the streets.
I ended up on Wyndham Street. I had been intrigued by the Pickled Penguin several times I had ventured in that area. Since Spike has mentioned it a few times, I decided to venture in. Since Spike only goes to bars where you can smoke, I was a little bit disappointed to find that smoking was restricted to two tables by the doorway. Since I managed to secure one of these I was quite willing to stay. The service was prompt and polite, the staff making an effort to enter into conversation - though what they must have thought of this sweaty lump of lard that had just walked in, I dread to think. I ordered a pint of lager and a beef brisket sandwich. The beer was served too cold, for my liking, but, that seems to be the way the beer makers are having their beer served these days - it just makes me want to pee too often.
The sandwich was a little bit overpriced, but when it came it hit the spot - lots of thinly sliced, moist, tasty beef in a roll with a few chips on the side served with grain mustard. I am beginning to understand about the lack of decent bread in Hong Kong, that was the most disappointing part of the meal.
After the sandwich I had another pint, then decided to head home. Well I must have caught shift change at the taxi firm, since 50% of the taxis were "out of service". Eventually, after quite a long wait I managed to get on outside the Fringe Club. Got home, downloaded the photos from the camera, and had a nap on the sofa for a couple of hours. After I woke up I reheated some left-over spaghetti bolognaise ( single mans staple home cooking, along with chilli con carne ), had a shower and headed out to Wanchai.
I was in the mood to be bad so I went strait to Neptune, where I haven't been for several weeks. I found a spot at the bar between two Fillipinas and a Thai girl. Started chatting to the Thai girl on my left, and then her friend joined her. Annie is from Phuket, and we had a good old natter. One of Annie's friends turned up - dressed in scarlet with a low cut dress to emphasise her silicone endowed breasts - and drunk, but in a nice way.
After a while, the police came in for their regular check on the passports of the girls. I made a joke that my visa had expired at midnight, and I hoped the police didn't want to make a check on me. The girls must have been as drunk as me because they seemed to find this as witty as I did, when I said it. Annie's friend handed over her passport with a credit card an said to the policewoman, "I don't have Visa, do you take Mastercard?". Fortunately, the authorities took this in the humourous way it was intended. I checked out Annie's passport to find that she had just arived in Hong Kong yesterday, from Macau.
As the night drew on, Annies friend left - so Annie and I headed back to my place for some wonderful sex, and a very good Thai massage thrown in as well. A very nice end to a day that didn't hold much promise at the start.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's Saturday morning, the World can wait

So continuing on from the water in the ceiling drama. The building management arranged to come to my apartment at 9 am, and turned up at 9.40 am, with a tube of silicon sealant and a pair of pliers. The engineer soon realised that he didn't have the right tools to gain access to the trunking, so off he goes to get some more tools. In the mean time I am talking to the manager and he tells me that they have the same problem on many of the higher floors, even eleven floors above mine. It seems they have not done any maintenance on any pipes in this trunking for twenty-one years.
I now have the engineer climbing out of my window on the eighteenth floor to see if there is anything wrong with the cladding on the outside of the building - rather him than me. I just hope he doesn't decide to jump!
Now he is telling me that he will come back again, at eleven o'clock, and I am starting to get a little bit miffed at this disruption to my Saturday, but, what can I do?
A bit of good news; a life insurance policy, I have had for twenty-five years has finally matured, and the payment has been authorised. So, a nice bit of dosh will be heading my way soon. The people who ran the policy wanted to know if I wanted to buy another of their products with the cash, and it didn't take me much to tell them that since I had been saving this money for so long that I wanted to enjoy it now!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Back in the back seat

Great, I am back in Hong Kong. The trip to Jakarta was fairly productive, and my Mandarin teacher would have been proud of my rendition of "Yueliang daibiao wode xin", belted out in a karaoke bar, with all the Chinese cheering along, or were they laughing at my tones?
A record for me: 41 minutes from door open on the aircraft to door open at the appartment. It must have helped that there was no point in dilly-dallying in the duty free shop, as I am only allowed to bring three packets of cigarettes into HK.
I got back to find that the people in the appartment below me had complained there there was water coming into their bathroom from my apartment. A mild panic set in as we went up in the lift - maybe the whole apartment was washed out? It seems the water is coming from the apartment above mine and travelling down through the trunking with the pipes and vents in, and there is some damage to my ceiling as well.
So that's my Saturday morning mucked up waiting for the building engineers to come in and get it sorted out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where has all the traffic gone?

It has been two years since I was last here in Jakarta, and my initial reaction, on the drive from the airport, was where is all the traffic? It may be my memory playing tricks on me, but the number of vehicles on the road seems a lot less than before. Also everyone riding motorcycles is wearing a helmet and no one is sitting side saddle.
Checked in at the hotel, after the obligatory security checks that were comprehensive. The girl who showed me to my room, pointed out my nearest fire escape ( I was impressed). When she asked if she need to show me the amenities in the room, I declined, saying it was a standard JW Marriott room and I think that I know my way around it. Maybe "showing me the amenities" was a code for something else?
Straight into a meeting with one of our managers from Singapore and a commercial guy from Head Office, catching up on what is going on in the company.
Nice meal in the evening at a Balinese restaurant, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Meal for 10 people, with copious beer 1.6m Rupiah, about 200 US Dollars which was copious ammounts of food and beer.
Things are looking up. On the way back to the hotel, I found out about the traffic: it only comes out after dark!

Monday, April 16, 2007

"See! No dragons! It must work"

For the last few days my internet, from home, has been up and down like a pair of whore's drawers, and I am getting totally fed up with it. Netvigator's wonderful technical support have been about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, so I will have to try and sort it myself. I suppose it serves me right for taking the easiest and cheapest option when I came to Hong Kong.
A very quiet weekend, after my meeting with the 'Belinda' on Friday, I was intent on keeping a low profile.
I did enjoy spending the day in Hong Kong Park on Saturday, especially in the aviary, where several of the birds are sitting on eggs in their nests. It clearly says at the entrance to the aviary, that to get the best chance of seeing the birds, you should walk slowly and keep quiet. This is clearly not possible with most of the people who visit there, who like to let their unruly children run through there shouting.
I am off to Jakarta for the next few days, so I may not be able to, or be inclined to post. I am back on Friday!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Viragos, dragons and battle axes

First of all, a quick thank you to Victor, for pointing out that I needed to change my comments settings on Intuitive Observations to allow non-Google users to leave a comment. This has now been done.
I had a really nice meal at Isola the other night, with my business aacquaintances. Nothing fancy, I stuck to the plain food: Calamari skewers, folled by roast chicken. Some people tried the spaghetti with sea urchins and said it was wonderful.
After the meal, I was set up by one of my colleagues to take two of the Australians up to Lang Kwai Fon. I don't normally do late drinking on a weekday night. Although we had a great time, I was not in a great mood on Friday morning, when I had to drag my sorry ass to work.
Friday, dragged on and ona ,nd I could hardly wait to escape. Went up to Bulldog Bar for happy hour, where I got talking to this German lady who was visitting Hong Kong from Xuhai. She had planned to get the six o'clock ferry to Lantau, but kept ordering more glasses of wine and missing her deadline for leaving. As she got more drunk she got more loud, opinionated and objectionable. Her stated feelings about the Chinese were not very nice, and she was repeating these in a very loud voice. Every time I went outside for a cigarette, I kept telling the girl who greets you to save me from this harridan - the girls thought it was extremely funny. Eventually I just had to say to the lady, "Look, I find what you are saying, and the way you are saying it, to be offensive. Please, shut up." She took the hint and left, and I was able to enjoy the rest of happy hour in peace and quiet - after all no one was going to talk to me after I had been associated with that termagant.
Headed home and rustled up a curry out of some left overs, thought about heading down to Wanchai, but decided that after eight pints of lager, earlier in the evening that it probably wasn't a great idea, so had an early night. I phoned Peanut, who was in the middle of her songkran party, and was having a great time. I wished her, "Sawadee pee mai! Koh hai mee kwansok!", and she was over the moon. In someways I wish I was in Thailand for their new year, and, on the other hand I am glad that I am being spared all the water throwing.
I have been having big problems with Netvigator broadband, at home, culminating on Thursday with having no connection at all. I sent an email from work, to their technical department; I, now, have an internet connection, but it is unbearably slow. Better than nothing I suppose

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Expensive glasses

My Mandarin lesson, yesterday, wasn’t as painful as I expected. Maybe I am a cynic, but I am sure she makes it easier to encourage me to sign up for another batch of lessons! Anyhow, I was quite pleased that I hadn’t forgotten as much as I thought I had.
After the lesson I headed down Wanchai, as I wanted to price up a couple of lenses for my camera. One lens I had read good reviews of was the Canon EF300mm f2.8L; but, at HKD32,500 I think that this might be a bit extravagant, even for me! Having said that – knowing how weak willed I am I will probably splash out on it. I will let you know.
After visiting the camera shops, I managed to catch the end of crazy hour in Carnegies. Lockhart Road seemed quite busy for a Wednesday night; I supposed there must be a trade fair on, or something. I declined to hang around for ladies night, and decided to grab some food from the Thai food hut and head home to call Peanut, as I had promised to do.
It was really nice food, but, by the time I got around to calling Peanut, she was already in bed (8pm Thai time!), watching TV, saying she had to get up early for work today. Twice today she has sent me texts – she knows I have important meetings all day, so she hasn’t phoned me, but she hasn’t been this eager in a long time – I detect the influence of her mother behind all this.
Really positive meetings today with parties from Australia and China, so all I have to do now is take them for a meal tonight. We have a table booked at Isola, which I recall having a great meal at last time, so I hope they have maintained their standards. Fortunately the view will be much nicer this time; the weather in the last few days has been really good, I just hope it stays like that for the weekend.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back to normal

Intuitive Observations is my new photoblog. I would really appreciate some feedback on the pictures posted there. Please, take a look.
Getting back into the swing of work hasn't been too bad; I, even, remembered my computer passwords! Off course, once I had logged in, I had to wade through over twelve hundred emails. Why, oh, why do people use the "reply to all" button, when all they are saying is thank you for the message?
I have very important meetings tomorrow and Friday, and I am supposed to be preparing presentations for my trip to Jakarta next week, but all I can do is look out the window at the lovely weather, and wish I could take a half day.
I have another Mandarin lesson this afternoon and I haven't done any revision for a long time, so I think it will very painful and arduous, and I will definitely need a drink up LKF afterwards. The only problem with this is it takes me along Stanley Street, and then it is too tempting to spend money in the camera shops - mind you I managed to avoid the temptation yesterday.
Just before our team meeting this morning Peanut phones me, saying she wants to talk to me. That was at half past eight in the morning Thai time, so I am wondering what plan she is hatching. An hour later I receive a text from her saying that she is "so missing you tilak". My bet is it will be a request for money. I have told her I will phone her this evening, so I am sure to find out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bank Holiday Monday

So on Sunday, I just spent it lazing about the apartment, did a bit of laundrys ,orted out my photos from Phuket, watched a bit of TV. I didn't hold out to much hope for Monday as the forecast was for rain. I have been in Hong Kong long enough, now, not to rely on the Observatory for reliable weather forecasts, and, so I was pleassantly surprised to wake up and finfd the sun shining.
So I grabbed the camera and headed out of the apartment. Down through Hong Kong Park, down to Central, where there was a rally by the Hong Kong Mini car club going on, then wandered up to Lang Kwai Fong for a liquid lunch; bumping into as couple of people I know, then home to a nice supper of Prad Kaprow Gai.
I don't know if the body will cope with going back to work tomorrow; but, at least it is a short week!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Back in Hong Kong

I am back home, now, after a wonderful holiday, and, the great thing is I don't have to go to work until Tuesday.

The highlights of the holiday were (in no particular order):- getting back together again with Peanut, meeting up with old friends, eating lots of Thai food, taking lots of photos, lazing all day on the beach and frequent Thai massages.
The lowlights, again in no particular order: inflated tuk-tuk fares, a four hour stopover in the new airport at Bangkok, finding out that you are only allowed to bring in 3 packets of cigarettes to Hong Kong duty-free, drinking too much beer and the heat.

Okay, so I suppose you want to see some of my photos - well I am going to tease you here, because I am going to drip feed them onto my new blog, which is dedicated to my photgraphs that can be found by following the link to "Intuitive Observations" on the sidebar. There's only one phot there so far, as I have only just started that particular blog, but I am sure it will fill out over the next few days and weeks.