03 August 2010

Honkers Konkers

We spent a total of 3 weeks in Hong Kong, taking it easy, applying for more Visas and visiting friends and family.  We stayed in big room in a commercial building that Audrey’s dad uses to store stuff and keep his big hi-fi setup (one half of it to the right).  It had a small bathroom, but with only cold water, so it was three weeks of cold showers (which was not too bad, as the heat and humidity left us sweltered).  Luckily Audrey’s mum, Dorothy, had kitted it out with everything we’d need for a prolonged stay.

I spent most of the first week staying up late to watch the final stages of the world cup (with the later games not finishing until about 5am), sleeping late and meeting up with a former colleague, Oli, and his wife Jess who’d moved to Hong Kong a few months ago.

After that, Audrey’s dad (Dr. Tam as I still call him, I never use his actual name of Lin Cheong) took quite a bit of time out to show us around a few different parts of Hong Kong and the New Territories.  One of the best was a fish market on the south side of the island, near Aberdeen.  You could buy your live fish and crustaceans in the market, and then head upstairs, where there were a number of little kitchens offering to cook them for you in different ways.

On one trip into the new territories, we drove past quite a few run down looking industrial buildings.  Dr. Tam explained that these were the areas that used to pump out all goods that Hong Kong was famous for.  It brought back nostalgic memories of toys in my childhood, which nearly always seemed to have “Made in Hong Kong” stamped on them (whereas today’s kids get to see “Made in China”).  I read later in the HK history museum, that for a period in the 70s and early 80s, Hong Kong was the biggest exporter in the world.

During out time in HK, there was numerous typhoon warning, but, much to my disappointment, nothing much came of them.  We had one instance of ‘black rain’, which is a torrential downpour.  I went out to the harbour to watch it.

While the effect on the water was nice, there was no wind or crashing waves.  I went out to an outlying island, Cheung Chau, on another day when there was supposed to be a typhoon warning hoping for bigger waves, but it was a perfectly sunny day.

The southern part of the island had, until relatively recently, been reserved solely for “foreigners” (read whites) to live in (as “the peak” had been in the past).  On a walk around it, I stumbled upon a couple of derelict building.  Looking like they had previously been grand villas, today they were losing a battle against the advancing jungle growing over and through them.

The most interesting restaurant I’d been in since Unsichtbar in Cologne was in Hong Kong.  Modern Toilet, was, as you may have guessed, a toilet-themed restaurant.  Most of the seats where of the porcelain throne type, with tables on basins.  Meals were delivered in a variety of toilet shapes, and were pretty tasty.  The only thing they were missing was serviettes as toilet rolls.

Dr. Tam also did a medical on Audrey, her sister Katie and I when we visited him at his practice.  Katie commented that I looked too white (which is true, I think I could make an albino look bronzed).  Obviously I still haven't been able to pick up much sun despite weeks of temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius and quite a few blue skies.

He included an ultrasound as part of it, to have a look at how our internals were (which I thought was mainly the preserve of pregnancy).  My liver got a clean bill of health (along with everything else).  I think Audrey would like to have seen no permanent damage, but signs of drinking too much so that it would shock me into consuming less alcohol.  I see it from a different angle, obviously I haven’t been trying hard enough.   ;-)

On that note, on to beer.  Much better than China, although that was mainly due to decent foreign beers being available.  I found one pub, the East End Brewery, with a couple of nice locally brewed ales that also had a BOGOF happy hour on them.  Apart from that, drinking out was in general more expensive than even London.

We left HK on the 24th of July.