Monday, July 30

Boat trip

At the beginning of this month I had a nice boat trip arranged by my friend Avis. Even though it was on such a short term, she managed to get us a boat, lunch and acompanied speedboat for wake boarding and some banana boat action!

So in the early morning (as I call 9am on Sunday), we took a taxi to Sai Kung. Along the way we picked up a friend of her and met with her colleagues. Actually it was more a company trip, but some extra friends were invited as well. Even though I was the only foreigner, it was pretty easy to catch up with the rest. So all very entusiast we went to the Sai Kung pier to get on the boat.

On arrival at the place where the boat put its anchor in the water the scenery was like this.

It was a really joyful day with lots of drinks, laughing and... yes, lucky draw! Got a nice watertight pastic pocket so my camera was spared that day. ;-)

Too bad my wake boarding skills were not that great as it was my first time. And I got home with major muscle aching the next morning and an eager feeling to try it once more because it was really cool, even just to try.

For the photos, have a look at Avis her photo album with all the photos collected of that day.

And now the end is near...

...and so I face the final curtain... yeah, but not really :-).

A couple of more days left and then we will be leaving Hong Kong. But fortunately not for good, as we will be back in September. I will visit the Netherlands for 6 weeks, do some traveling there (Croatia), and of course some working. We have to wait for approval of our working visa, and of course its good to see family and friends again!

It's been a very long time ago since I did a last update. So what happened lately... we did a lot of working, partying (I did :-)), met some nice people, losing with squash. I found a cool place in Soho. The bar is called 'Joyce is not here', and is a very small but well decorated place. They have a jam session every Thursday, were you can just walk in and bring your instrument. Really cool place, with a lot of nice people.

Furthermore I've been so stupid to lose my phone in a taxi. So I will try to not fall asleep again in taxi's with my phone still in my hand....

So a couple of more days of hard work... we have to finish our final internship reports and the last bits of the reporting system here. And for the rest of course one evening of partying planned, the goodbye party, so that will be good. Luckily I will fly home the next day, so then I can rest a bit. Unfortunately that is during the night, and I will have to be fit enough to work and pack during the day. But anyway, I've managed to survive that a couple of times before... :-)

Friday, July 27

Lost stuff

I don't know why, but everyone seems lose stuff... Adam lost his phone twice. Eva lost hers in a taxi. Jamie lost hers too. Daniel decided to take a swim with it. I know two people more who did the same. I lost my wallet, and now Patrick lost his phone as well! :-S

So that's why Patrick won't be reachable at his HK mobile phone number...

P.S. Just to be sure, I already made a backup of my phonebook. Maybe you should do it too? ;-)

Monday, July 23

Hong Kong 10th Anniversary

At the beginning of this month we had another public holiday. This time it was the 10th Anniversary of Hong Kong. So it's 10 years ago that Hong Kong became part of China again. For our Dutch readers I can recommend the blogpost of my boss Hans, since I wouldn't be able to describe it better.

To celebrate this, there were held a lot of events in Hong Kong. One of them was the big fireworks display in the Victoria Harbour. Of course Patrick and I didn't want to miss that. Especially because I can still recall the great show of on the Chinese New Year. This time it was told to be even bigger, so something we definitely shouldn't miss!

And it was great! Huge fireworks display and it was very worthwhile to wait there for 2 hours. :-) You can have a look at it yourself in the movie below.

A new home

Last Thursday I was in total stress. I found out that it is so difficult to find a cheap and nice place to rent, and that I had no time left to have a good look. I decided to go for flat-sharing (share a flat with somebody) and I could find only one affordable advertisement. So I sent an email at night. Actually a bit accidentally because my laptop wouldn't shut down.

The next morning I received a phone call from a friendly lady and we made an appointment to have a look at the apartment the same night. So I informed Eva, and we both went to the apartment. Exactly at 8pm we arrived.

When the door opened I was overwhelmed by the nice decorations and I felt immediately at home. I had a nice talk with the owner Tess, and it clicked with Eva as well. The apartment is in good shape (not so common for that price range), cheap ("only" 4500 HKD or 450 euros a month) and quiet. That last thing is quite important since it's next to a busy road and the apartment is only at the 5th floor. But that road makes it very convenient to get to work. The apartment is also close to Eva's place. Furthermore everything I need is literally around the corner!

Although I haven't got a real place for myself, it is still very nice. I like to live with others, since I enjoyed my time with my old roommates in The Netherlands and the time here in HK with Patrick. Furthermore its nice to have a friend around, because it is still a big city.

So I'm really looking forward to live there. It's on Hong Kong Island this time, so more close to the city centre. Luckily the neighbourhood is quiet but has all the convenience of living in the city centre. I'm just a few minutes away from the city buzz and nature parks. Great! :-)

Thursday, July 19

Daniel visiting us, The Peak and Dragon Boat Festival

As said before, I still have a lot to tell. So here is a second try to catch up... :-)

A few weeks ago our friend Daniel visited us again. This time he didn't traveled from Macao, but from a train from China. So the first day he had to catch up some good sleep. After regaining some energy we took him of course to some cool places, like some bars and most important: The Peak. Somehow he managed to skip the 1# hot-spot of Hong Kong?!

Luckily we had a public holiday, and that very hot day we took the bus to The Peak. It's a bumpy bus ride, over a twisting road. We sat in the front seat of the famous biplane HK buses, so we could have a good look around and feel scared to death when another bus or steep wall just rushes by just a few inches from your head. But we made it without - but close to -having a heart attack.

Since we took the bus, it drives for the last past over the "back" side of the peak. Therefore, you have an opportunity to see both sides of the island. The city part, and the nature park part. So when you arrive at the peak tower, you're pretty amazed by the view (because you can look at once over the whole city), and that's exactly what Daniel's face told us when we got there. To experience it yourself. Here is a photo and a video.

But the day was far from over, since it was a public holiday celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival! So we headed to Stanley, where one of the two big Dragon Boat events took place. However, it took us a while, since half the population of HK migrates that day to those two hot-spots. And hot is was! Burning sun, but with the slight sea breeze and cheerful atmosphere it's pretty okay. At Stanley we split up, and I joined Eva and her friend.

The Dragon Boat races are pretty cool. Slim boats with a team of peddlers and one to hit the drums. The races go very quick, since they move over a distance of about 1 to 2 kilometre. The boats row towards the beach so that everyone can see the spectacular finish before the boats shove up the beach. Each boat has a team of a specific country with their own colour. No use for me to shout "HOLLAND! HOLLAND!", because I couldn't spot our orange Dutch team... But would they have heard that anyway on top of all the other cheering and screaming plus the sound of the drums on each boat? I think not... ;-)

We arrived late in the afternoon, so the races were about to end. Because we didn't want to be in the rush-hour of the giant migration back home, we hurried to the bus stop. Luckily we could catch our bus within a few minutes (that on itself is pretty amazing compared to the time we had to wait to get the bus to Stanley), and went back to Central to jump on the MTR. From there to Kowloon to take the KCR, then in a taxi to arrive at our destination: I have totally no clue... But, our guide (Eva's friend) knew where to go, and we got there. It was a very local restaurant, although that's a fancy name for it. Big place with lots of tables, out-door style: big round tables and small plastic stools to sit on. Great atmosphere, lots of people talking and enjoying their food and (on almost every table) beer. The food was delicious and extremely cheap! What I've been told, is that this is a very local place to eat, even for locals, and that there are only a few places like these left in HK. Too bad, because it is so nice to have dinner there!

To read more about Daniel and his stay here, visit his weblog! He's now on a trip trough China, so it's interesting to read.

Monday, July 16

Rock Climbing

Ok, so here is something more interesting than the dull small posts I made lately. ;-)

A few weeks ago I went rock climbing with the Philips staff club. I applied for it, and I was one of the lucky ones that got randomly selected. With me a few colleagues joined the club. Too bad one of them was not able to come, but lucky for me because I was asked if I knew some friends who would like to join in stead. Well, it was not that much trouble to invite my girlfriend Eva, and so we prepared next day to go there early. Very early, because it was the day after Patrick's birthday party at Lang Kwai Fong. Unfortunately I couldn't stay long at LKF, because I was tired enough to report my lost wallet at the Police station.

So with some borrowed cash we took a cab to King's Park. We arrived almost as the first ones, so we had a chance to change and get some climbing shoes, since Eva was not prepared to bring ones. Those shoes are really nice to climb, because they perfectly fit the shape of your feet, are more flexible and have a longer heel. So way better for climbing. With that we're able to face our challenge of the day: the 18 metre high artificial rock climbing wall...

Then, when everybody was there, the training could begin. First we start off with some stretching. Everything was nicely translated from Cantonese to English by Eva. So I knew how to move. Then it was time to get the instructions for the tools. Everybody had to find a partner. About the same weight, because one would lift the other. Luckily Eva and I did match. :-)

We got explained what was meant by the terms 'CLIMBING!' and 'TENSION!'. So we knew how to give each other a break while climbing. It works this way. Because you're connected to each other with a rope, you can use your own body mass to lift the other because of the balance effect. This will require almost no strength for the one who climbs, so he or she can take a rest.

After the instruction we we're all ready to start climbing. Eva may go first, and she did pretty well! Because she already had a day of rock climbing before, she knew how to put her weight and got at the 7 metre top in record time. :-) Although I was not that fast, it was cool to climb up, and the climbing shoes provided a good help. My colleagues we're also great, and we all reached the 7 metre top.

After a few challenges it was time to face the whole wall, 18 metres high. And from the bottom that looks really high... So I collected my best guts, and started to climb. This time Eva didn't pull me up, but somebody else. Too bad he didn't manage the tension procedure well, so I couldn't take a good rest along the way, and basically had to keep lifting myself all the way. With only small spots to get grip that's a difficult job. But I managed to get as high as 16 metre. Great view from that altitude. Look at all the small ants down there, haha! ;-) The burning sun did its work, and it was time to go down. Too bad I hadn't enough energy to climb the last 2 metre, but still quite some performance for the first time. :-)
So Eva would show how to do it, and she did! Se went up so quickly, and with me pulling the rope (after some rest, haha) she got all the way up, the full 18 metres!

The rock climbing was very cool, and I want to do it definitely some other time again. Maybe get a certificate, so I can guide others. Then I also will have better training so I know how to face the diagonal walls. :-)

Have a look at all the photos...

Tuesday, July 10

Harry Potter in da house!

Ok, this shouldn't get any worse! Just a few minutes ago, one of my coworkers asked if he may take a picture of me, for his wife back home. Why? Because I look so much like Harry Potter! Actually, more people are telling me this, and it's not wise for me to stand close to a poster of the upcomming Harry Potter movie. People on the street even start to stare and point at me! So, I've come up with a plan. The 15th we'll visit the cinema to see the movie, and then I'll try to find some round glasses and try to put my hair in the same way. Let the madness begin! :-)

Het moet niet veel erger worden! Een paar minuten geleden vroeg een collega of hij van mij een foto mocht nemen voor zijn vrouw thuis. Waarom? Omdat ik zoveel op Harry Potter lijk! Opmerkelijk genoeg vertellen meer mensen mij dit, en het is tegenwoordig voor mij niet meer slim om langs een poster van de aankomende Harry Potter bioscoopfilm te gaan staan. Zelfs mensen op straat staren mij aan en wijzen naar mij! Zodoende heb ik een plan bedacht. De 15e gaan we namelijk naar de film, en ik wil zorgen dat ik dan een bril met ronde glazen bij me heb en mijn haar op de zelfde manier doe. Laat de gekte maar beginnen! :-)