31 December 2006

Taiwan Quake

A Taiwan earthquake has severely limited communications between South-East Asia and North America. Under ocean cables were damaged, and as a result, my internet is rediculously slow. They say it will take 2-3 weeks for things to return to normal, so until then I will be posting less often.

26 December 2006

Siu Sai Wan

I realized recently that I have not posted many photos from the neighbourhood that I live in Hong Kong. It's called Siu Sai Wan, and is pretty much as far East as you can go on Hong Kong Island. If you take a boat out of the harbour going East, we're in the last big building you would see before the Ocean. Our apartment doesn't have an ocean view, rather we look at a mountain, but the prominade and other side of the building have great views.

This first picture is where we live. The building is called Island Resort. It's 60 odd stories high.

These are some boats in the bay down the road from us. It's mainly a industrial area, and this is where a lot of boats drop off their cargo. It's not very large, compared to the docks near Kowloon.

The next few are just random pictures walking around the street. It's not the most exciting place to walk around. There's mainly office buildings and industrial studios. No shopping malls! Only a few located where the main residential buildings are. Our building is on top of a mall for instance.

This is a hard-court soccer field to the side of our building. Most of the time you can just walk on and kick a ball around, but they do have many organized games that go late into the night sometimes.

This is the 6th level of out complex. It's the 'main lobby' area where you can walk around, see the pool, have a glance out over the ocean etc.

This pictures gives a good idea of how tall the buildings really are.

This is the view looking back towards central Hong Kong Island. You can't see the central district, but if you follow the harbour to the left, that's where you would get.

24 December 2006


Jumbo Floating Restaurant. It is what it says it is. Although being quite a 'jumbo' sized restaurant, the famous Hong Kong diner is not actually floating! gasp...! It has been rooted in cement for at least a few years, I'm not sure how long. It's proper name should be 'Jumbo Island Restaurant.' I don't know why they had to suppport it, maybe it's was a sinking Jumbo. Who knows.

I had heard a lot about this place called Jumbo, and I've been excited about it for the past week. It didn't even matter to me what the food was like, I just love the name, and the fact that it 'floats.' Also it is possibly the most cheesy overdecorated restaurant I've ever eaten in. It's so great! When you get to Jumbo, you actually have to take a small ferry out to Jumbo. It only took about 2 minutes, but you get to see a lot of really expensive boats on your way to Jumbo.

For dinner we ordered the 'Special Seafood' set menu, because it looked like a good variety from the menu, and it makes ordering nice and easy as the menu was also jumbo. Where we ate was on the 2nd floor of Jumbo, and we had a window seat facing towards the pier we had just taken the ferry from. I'm not sure if locals ever eat here, as it's very touristy, but the tourists sure were having fun. There was a large group at one table, and they took full advantage of the photo-op area where you could dress up in Chinese costumes and sit on a throne-like seat, in Jumbo. Me and Mai didn't do this, as it was a jumbo rip-off (you had to pay to use your own camera). Also I'm sure it would have been slightly embarrasing to the doll (who came along in the purse...)

The food was pretty good at Jumbo. Everything had seafood in it, except desert. I'm getting better at chopsticks, but slippery scallops are still a little tricky. The fish was very good, and the deep fried crab claw was very amusing. It looked like a crab was trying to crawl out of the deep fried ball, haha.

After eating, we walked around Jumbo. You can walk around the entire restaurant outside, and see the area they keep all the fish. It's very fresh, as they pull out the fish when you order it. They had someone on a microphone call out to a lady who scooped up the fish when someone from inside had ordered it. Can't get much fresher than that.

I'd highly recommend Jumbo, it's a lot of fun and the food is pretty decent, but a tad over priced. But you pay for the atmosphere as well, so it's worth it. Jumbo Jumbo Jumbo!

I said Jumbo 19 times!

mmmmmmm Testarossa

What did I happen to see just around the corner from my apartment? Oh I dunno...

Just my most favourite car ever! The Ferrari Testarossa. I love bimmers, but if I could choose any car to own I'd have to say this would be my pick. Soooooo nice. Old'skool Ferrari is classic. And at under $100K US, this would be the only Ferrari I could ever come close to owning, so it's not too crazy an idea, hahaha.

23 December 2006

Gucci, Prada, and... LOWEPRO!

Today I accompanied Mai and her mother on their shopping trip. Mai's mom is in town for the weekend, and from what she says Beijing isn't much fun, so they had to shop shop shop while in Hong Kong. As much as looking at purses all day (and some occasional clothing) doesn't really inerest me usually, I decided to tag along as it's Christmas, and I had no other family or friends in town to do anything more productive with. We went for lunch at a nice and quiet Italian restaurant in Causeway Bay. This was unusual as almost everyone in Hong Kong speaks ridiculously loud. You can often here people at least 100metres away and they're only talking to their friend beside them. So this was a nice change.

My title emplies the trendy upscale bags seen in malls around HK, but I had my camera bag with me, I thought it very high-end, haha. I paid only a fraction of what these other bags go for. I'd rather buy a lot of beer, or a new camera lens.

Only a couple more day(s) until Christmas, depending on what part of the globe you are from. I'm getting excited. Today I even bought some Canadian steak for our Christmas dinner. I wasn't about to buy a $1200 turkey. The Maple-Leaf beef wasn't exactly cheap, but it'll be better than any cow from China that's for sure. Mmmmmm...

22 December 2006


Hooray! I am on holidays as of Wednesday (Dec20th) afternoon, and I don't go back until January 2nd. Being a teacher has its perks. So far, it has been nice to sleep in and enjoy doing nothing. It is almost Christmas, and for a change I don't have any last minute shopping to do. Which is nice because I don't really want to go shopping in the madness that is Hong Kong malls. For some reason, my building seems to add more decorations every day, the lobby has become quite an intense overload of Christmas shlock. I can't even imagine what they do for Chinese New Year. The plans for Christmas this year aren't too crazy. I am really looking forward to Christmas eve, as I have booked a table at the famous 'Jumbo' restaurant! Hahaha. Just the name means it has to be good. The other awesome thing? It's a floating boat! To get to the restaurant, you need to take a small boat, hehehe. I can't wait, even if the food is bad, I'll be happy, because we're eating dinner on a floating boat. (I hope it isn't as bad as the floating casino)

On Christmas morning, Mai and I will be opening the presents sent from my family back in Canada. This also marks the first time I will not be with my immediate family for Christmas. I did spend one Christmas in Mexico, but that was a family vacation. It is not as warm in Hong Kong as Mexico, so I can sort of imagine snow and all that regular Christmas stuff. I really don't miss the -30 degree weather though.

Also I bought a new webcam a few weeks ago, so I am capable of video messaging, which is so much nicer than long distance phone bills. Free = nice. Skype is the best program out there from what I can tell, as it costs nothing, and the voice over has no delay (messenger does) plus the video seems to be pretty good as well. Hooray for the internet!

21 December 2006

Dragon Lust

I ordered this awesome t-shirt about 2 weeks ago. I have since received it in the mail, and it is frickin cool! It's from a Hong Kong based company, and they ship anywhere in the world for very cheap. Really high-quality shirt too. I haven't washed it yet, hope the print doesn't wear off. More cool shirts at gmtee.com

20 December 2006

Wong Tai Sin

Every Wednesday and Friday I walk by this temple on my way to school. Other than what it was called, I didn't know what Wong Tai Sin Temple was or even how big it was. Today I decided after 3 months to finally take a peak. It is actually a pretty cool place. Usually I find stuff like this to be typical 'touristy stuff', but the temple was anything but. There was no question I was the only white guy in the place, and probably the only one who spoke English. For the middle of the week it was quite crowded, more than I usually noticed. The temple consists of a few buildings and some nice gardens. Today there were hundreds of people burning incense with many people holding bundles of up to 20 sticks at a time. They would place the bundles in various spots (little hut-like structures) and many of them were focusing on the main alters of the temple. I don't know yet if this was a special day/week, if it has anything to do with Christmas(likely not) or most likely something to do with New Year's or the season changing. Usually there will be a few people burning incense, when you get off the MTR there are street vendors selling them, but today seemed unique with the large crowds. The oddest thing I saw was a man carrying a full sized pig on a wooden board, wrapped in red celophane. He was taking it towards the main temple. I must find out why...

More pictures >>> here.

Update: 10 Seconds on Google Reveals.....

Haha! I feel somewhat silly. According to most sites, this is one of the biggest temples in all of Hong Kong. And I walk by it every week and didn't know it's significance. Wow, funny stuff. I guess a lot of mainland Chinese people hold the temple in really high-regard, and the incense burning has to do with connecting to the spirits (I sorta knew that) Here's some proper info:

"Wong Tai Sin Temple, a Taoist temple established in 1921, is one of the most famous temples in Hong Kong. It is also renowned among overseas Chinese in Southern Asia, Europe, and America.

Wong Tai Sin Temple is named after Wong Chuping. When Wong Chuping was 15, he began to follow Taoism. Forty years later, he achieved enlightenment and became immortal. People called him Wong Tai Sin from then on. It is said that he punishes evils, heals the wounded, and rescues the dying. The influence of Wong Tai Sin spread from Guangdong Province to Hong Kong in the early 20th century. With his mercy and his power, he is said to grant whatever is requested."

That would explain all the kneeling and begging.

"Wong Tai Sin Temple is known for its fortune-telling. The fortune sticks (or lots) in Wong Tai Sin Temple are very accurate. Many people who visit the temple come to have their fortunes told. Generally, worshippers entreat the fate of the same year. They light worship sticks, kneel before the main altar, make a wish, and shake a bamboo cylinder containing fortune sticks until one falls out."

Cool. I saw so many people doing this, and had no idea what they were doing. It looked like a game of sorts.

"The stick is exchanged for a piece of paper bearing the same number, and the soothsayer then interprets the fortune on the paper for the worshipper. Wong Tai Sin has many worshippers in Hong Kong, so the joss sticks and candles burn exuberantly all year round, especially during the Chinese Lunar New Year and Wong Tai Sin's birthday - the 23rd day of the eighth lunar month."

Hmmm, this doesn't explain why so busy today, but I guess it is a tourist spot, so maybe it is because of Christmas and the New Year. (Not Chinese New Year Yet)

"Wong Tai Sin Temple is also called Sik Sik Yuen. The architecture of Wong Tai Sin Temple is in the traditional Chinese temple style: grand red pillars, a magnificent golden roof adorned with blue friezes, yellow latticework, and resplendent multi-colored carvings. Aside from the Daxiong-baodian or Grand Hall, Sansheng Hall and the Good Wish Garden are also worth seeing. Also at the temple are the Nine Dragon Wall--a replica of the renowned Nine Dragon Wall in Beijing, and the Good Wish Garden - a miniature copy of Beijing's Summer Palace."

Hmmm, I didn't see this, I'll have to go back.

"Additionally, Wong Tai Sin Temple is the only temple that offers facilities for wedding ceremonies in Hong Kong."

Hahahaha. Of course! It's Hong Kong. Well that was a cool history lesson. Maybe I should find things out a little sooner so I know what's around me. That's the problem with Hong Kong. The goverment is so dead set on distroying it's history, that any that remains is usually hidden quite well behind some large skyscrape or a shopping mall. This temple, by the way, is right on top of an MTR station (that means they either moved the temple, or the MTR was built under it) and a mall is across the road... sigh...

Source:Travel China Guide

19 December 2006

Ocean Park

Ocean Park - Sunday December 17th.

Mai and I finally decided to go to Ocean Park. We had been planning on going for about 2 months now, but never got around to it, and Mai's friends bailed so we had no one to go with. Except the doll...

For +12ish, it sure was cold outside. The sun was shining as well. Oh what's that?! Oh wow! It's blue sky! I thought I'd never see that in Hong Kong. Actually this is the south side of Hong Kong Island, so it doesn't mean the other side was nice and pollution free. Anyway, back to OP.

The land on which the park is built is almost all on the side(s) of a mountain. It makes for a very cool cable car ride up to the main level, where all the good rides are, as well as dolphins and such. We didn't see the dolphins, but while they were having a show, the park was quite empty so ride lines were short. The best ride was easily the roller coaster. They have two, but the one that goes upside down 3 times was more fun. I used my PanasonicD-Crap to take a short video. It's pretty low res, but I'll see if I can post it before too long. What also makes this roller coaster cool is that it is on the downslope of the mountain. At parts you feel like you're going to fall down the hill. Mai almost lost her shades, but nothing else fell off.

Also in the park we saw some sharks, lots of people taking pictures of sharks, and some people taking pictures of people taking pictures of sharks. All in all, lots of cameras. Other rides we went on were the swings, the big tower turning thing, the 'abys' freefall, a big ship that Mai floated on (haha), and the cool train roller coaster that really felt like it was going to fall apart. The last ride we went on was not so smart, as it was a water-plunge coaster. Ya, I got wet. Mai got more wet, haha. Her boots filled with water, and we were both really cold.

So we treked back up the escaltor (stood idily) and returned to the main entrance to see the jelly fish! Wow, for a tiny little rubbery creature, they sure are cool. We waited in line quute long, but it was worth it. It was like a night club for jelly fish. Very cool. We missed out seeing the panda, as he looked like he was sleeping in his den.

Ocean Park was fun, but it might have been more enjoyable if it was warmer. I might not go out of my way to make sure I went here on a shorter trip to Hong Kong, but if you're staying awhile I would give it a try. The roller coasters and jelly fish are worth it.


Mai beat me to it, but I spotted this spelling error. Unfortunately it lived up to its name.

16 December 2006

I'm Going to Guam!

Well I'm on the flight list at least.

Details here >>>

13 December 2006

Mongkok Funnies

-Thanks for the warning. I'll grab an umbrella.

-Battle of the NBA superstars for Mongkok street supremacy!

"I like the brown one, no maybe the green one. It matches my hat."

-Good to know HK city workers are just as lazy as every other country.

12 December 2006

3 out of 4 teachers recommend "Pin the Tail on the Reindeer"

Today was a relatively amusing day at school. The kindergarten I'm at Tuesdays was having a big meeting of all the local kindergarten principals. I was told to be extra good. Haha. My principal said to play games all day with the kids and make them happy. Just ignore the English part of English teaching I guess. So I decided to play......?


Oh what a funny game when played with little kids who don't understand up and down, or left and right. The past 3! weeks I've been trying to teach them directions as lead-up to this game. Only one class remembered how to say up and down etc. We played anyway. I even made it extra safe by laminating the picture of the reindeer so they wouldn't get paper cuts and was guiding the student trying to place the tail. All was fun and games, until..... Ms. "Someone shit in my cornflakes today" teacher roared her disapproving self at me. The first 3 classes who played the game were fine. No one died. Not even a minor abrasion. So I thought that the last class, my K3 class, the BEST class in the best school out of all the schools I teach, could handle it. Well, they could, but Captain Bringdown said she didn't feel 'safe enough' to put a warm cozy felt bag over the student's head to blindfold them. The kids loved it. They couldn't care less if they couldn't see. That's kind of the point of the game dumbass. Oh well. I told all the kids we couldn't play because their teacher said no. hehehehe. I'm always Mr. Niceguy. Always. Now they don't like her, and they love me even more. Mwaahahahahaha.

10 December 2006

Here's my lobby

Well the 2nd lobby actually. I have to go through security on the 1st floor to get to this lobby. The one here is on the 6th floor. There are 9? towers in our complex, but every 2 towers have their own lobby on the 6th floor. Needless to say, it's quite devine, heh heh, but for a few thousand residents I guess the rent can pay for stuff like this. There's even a piano playing Christmas tunes all by itself. For everyone who has been asking...YES! they do Christmas here. They do it over the top. Wait until you see the pictures of the skyline all Santa-ed up.

Don't spill any water!

I had a very funny realization the other day while riding the bus home. There are many similarities between various aspects of my life. It has to do with multiples. Most of my work involves teaching groups of 12 or more little rascals otherwise known as students. It got me thinking. Where have I seen such hijinx and mayhem before....? hmmmmmm...?


Hahahahahahaha. That makes me laugh. Seriously though - I would much rather deal with homicidal little green slimey frog-like creatures, than Gremlins, sometimes. (catch that?)

They just sit there...waiting...until you turn your back. Than wam! The worst part is they think it's funny to constantly hit the big tall dude in the back of the legs. Grrrr. I usually just pick them up and hold them upside down until they say sorry. But all they do is laugh. Then because they like being picked up and twirled so much, they do naughty things on purpose! I need to be more mean...

Roots is Bling-Bling in HK

$480HKD for a Roots hoodie?!?!?! You gotta be kidding me. These things used to be like $20 in Canada. Maybe they are a bit more now, but I'm pretty sure they're not $70 CDN. If they are, Roots you have sold your soul. Still can't believe I actually saw this here, and it wasn't just the hoodie, there is an entire Roots store in TST. This is surprising for HK, seeings how Roots isn't exactly high fashion, and it is rarely hoodie weather. It did dip down to about 18 degrees for a couple days, brrrrrrr.

05 December 2006

Food Fun

TOP 10 THINGS not to be eaten with chopsticks:

1. pizza
2. uncut meat on the bone
3. whole oranges (I don't know how they do it)
4. soup (spoonsticks?)
5. cheeseburgers
6. non-sticky rice
7. salad (it's too damned slippery)
8. spaghetti (see above)
9. steak (it's designed to be eaten with a big knife!)
10. french fries

Yes, some people eat all the above with chopsticks sometimes. It's just zany. Some I can see being easier than others, but not for me. Also plastic chopsticks are absolutely terrible. And they aren't even traditional, so I need not worry about offending anyone. I'm getting better, but I still prefer the good ol' knife and fork. It's miles easier. If someone who has been using c-sticks their whole life picked up a k and f, they'd have a heck of a lot better go at it than someone who had grown up with k and f trying to use c-sticks for the first time.

Today's recommendation: Knife and fork (go eat a big-ass Canada steak for me (the ones here are tiny))

04 December 2006

A TST Story

Today Mai and I went to TST, aka Tsim Sha Tsui. TST is probably one of the busiest and most well known tourist areas in Hong Kong. It is actually on the Kowloon side of HK, right across from Central/Wan Chai on HKIsland. This would make it North-West of where I live. Anyway enough of that mumbo-jumbo.

The trip started off not so well with Mai getting mad at me for not making her toast for breakfast. She gradually got cheerier as she played with her creepydoll and got ready to go. We took the express bus to the Wan Chai ferry-pier where, guess what?!, I embarked on my first ever ferry ride in Hong Kong! It has been 3 months since I've been here, but being the slowest means of transport, I really hadn't ever felt the urge to take a ferry during my work hours, and usually we just take the subway across the harbour. Well today was a nice hazy lazy Sunday, so we took the Star Ferry. It's like 100 years old (not the boat) but the company, and it's the cheapest means of getting across, only $2.2 (about 30 cents CDN). The ride only takes about 5 minutes, but you do have to wait longer than anything else. Mai and I got a window seat, and I attempted to take some photos out the window, but a combination of hazyness and dirty window made for not the ideal situation (good excuse mr photo).

Upon docking in TST, I noticed a very large Swedish vessel parked down the seaside. Turns out it was a Swedish replica of some really old boat. It was pretty cool, but there was a gazzillion people around it so I didn't ask Mai to go for a closer look, as it was shopping time. We went inside the Ocean Terminal, which is a really long mall for Hong Kong (most malls are tall and thing) with lots of little stores almost like a market, but with local and international brands etc. According to Mai's site it's a big department store. Mai bought some tough girl boots, I got a present for her sister, and we also did some wandering and looking. We went to a greasy burger joint in the food court, mmmmm.

From there we went to Nathan Road, which is possibly the best place to be called 'Boss' by at least 20 Indians (what? they're from India) all saying they can get you a suit or a leather jacket for HKD$100. Ya right, high quality I bet. Still it's kind of fun somewhat like the markets in Mexico I remember. Just ignore them and yur fine. We walked down Nathan Road a bit more, then turned to the MTR to go to Mongkok. Why Mongkok again? Because it is possibly the best place ever to shop for everything and anything. My quest, to find a smaller camera bag. Why? Because the luggage I drag around weighs a good tonne loaded up. I need something smaller for just my camera and the basic lens (I say basic because the new lens I'm buying makes the one I have look like garbage). We wandered into Man Shing Photo Supplies. In my search on the net, this was one of the most respected and well known places for giving good deals and not ripping you off with fake shite or grey market stuff. I ended up going with the Lowepro Toploader 65AW. A very nice pro bag, made for SLR's that a slightly large with an average lens. With the new telephoto I'm getting it won't fit, but that's what I have the above mentioned suitcase for.

I got my Camera bag. Woohoo. Something's missing? Yes of course, I'm shopping with Mai and she hasn't bought anything yet in Mongkok (rather I haven't bought her anything yet). The following would make my past associates at Saneal Cameras laugh, but I enjoyed it.

Mai has been asking/bugging/reminding me of this Blythe doll she really wants. And it just so happens it is Christmas soon. I had pretty much made up my mind that I would probably get it for her. We both went into this mallish building that had lots of doll/toy/generally cool stuff, which she goes to weekly now apparantly with her new obession. The doll she wanted was $1500! I bit much for a doll, but not to crazy in terms of how much I was willing to spend on her xmas gift. But I wasn't gonna buy it today for that price. A few stores later, we saw the same doll for quite a bit less. Wow a lot cheaper, must be a good deal. Mai looked at it, and was sure it was real, and looked like she wanted to take it home. I took a business card from the store, and was pretty sure I'd come back and get it for her. Well as we were walking out he sorta convinced me to get it today, in case they sold out which was a good chance as there were only 2 left and it's busy as hell in Mongkok all the time, not to mention XMAS. So I got some money, and said OK, I'll get it today. What's that's you ask? She knows what she's getting for Xmas? Ya it's kind of spoiling the fun, but she doesn't mind, and now I know she'll like it. Here comes the fun part.

Mai had told me she saw the same doll on the Japanese website for $700HKD. Sooooo, I went in with the intention of not payin more than $900 for it. At first I was nice, I told the sales dude that we had seen it a lot cheaper, and would they go any lower.

"Fixed Price" he said.

Pfffffff, nothing is fixed price in China, I thought to myself, and it's not like it's a diamond. So I got a little bit more assertive. I offered him $900, which he kindof laughed at. I said "why not? It's $700 in Japan, there's no way you pad anything close to $999, why not?"

"Fixed Price"

Hmmmm, this guy wasn't budging. I pulled $950 out of my wallet and said here, here's my money give me the doll.

"Sorry, $999"

Man, this guy sucks. I argued with him a bit more, asked if the owner was around, called them bad sales people etc. etc. Had a little more fun.

"Fixed price."

BAHHHHHHHH! Oh well, I paid it, but not without a fight. Now I'm all done shopping, no more spending money. I enjoyed my little "talk" with Mr Tightwallet, and it reminded me of my days as a sales associate at the camera shop in Calgary. It's all about the B.S. hahaha.

02 December 2006

23 days early! Wooootie woo woo

Best thing ever = Finishing Christmas shopping almost 1 month in advance. I'm all done! Wooohoo yeahhahah! It feels good. Now all I have to do is fork over the bag of money to ship it to Winnipeg. I need to find a new box to put all my gifts in, which I'm hoping will not be too hard (soon to be famous last words).

Mai and I went to some pretty cool shops today. I wanted to get my family some 'authentic' Chinese stuff (at least authentic looking), you know, things they don't have in the 'Peg. I think I managed well, we even checked out the world's longest escalator. It wasn't quite what I thought it would be, it's actually sections that are all called one, so it's not all one piece. Speaking of escalators, most malls here have wildy amusing ways of getting people up the floors. Check out the photoblog to have a look at some pics from Millenium City 5 APM mall. It's a 7 floor shopping mall with many cool stores.

Tomorrow Mai and I are off to a "photoshoot." I'd try to be serious about it, but we're going to take pictures of her new obsession, creepy dolls. mwaahahaha. We'll be going to TST, the famous tourist area Tsim Sai Tsui? and we're gonna take the ferry across the harbour, which I have not done yet!

Anyway, merry merry shopping is done Christmas!

2 cool fur Skool

I'm such a good teacher, so amazing in fact, such and awe inspiring native speaker of English - that I've been told I'm too nice.

Screw You!

If the kids happen to find me more fun and enjoy things with me more than their regular teacher, maaaybe it's because their normal teachers are mean and nasty and terrible. Ya sure, maybe we spend more time laughing than being productive, but if I can put a smile on a kids face within their regularly miserable days sometimes, so be it. Yes most of the time their other teachers are nice (sort of) but some of the things they get upset about and yell about are rediculous. What's even worse, if when I'm teaching a lesson and the other teachers come in and discipline the kids for doing stuff I could care less about if they did. In my class! Who's the teacher? I am! For the most part, the kids find me so intriguing they pay attention to some extent. I really don't see the point of me being 'meaner' to them. They all think I'm a big clown anyway. The schools have basically asked me to act like a big dumb clown and do nothing but play games and talk like a 2 year old, so why the sudden change in tone. I'm too nice?!?!? Shove it...

29 November 2006


Finally! It's been quite the process, but all the steps to me becoming a Hong Kong resident are almost complete! Today I got my bankcard! Woohoo! I feel like a normal person now. I signed up for my account last week on Monday, but it was a 7 day waiting period to get my card. They don't give temp cards at HSBC for some assinine reason. So I was left without access to my money in the account (which I used to open it with) for about a week, unless I wanted to wait in crazy long lineups at the teller to do it manually (gah manually). I had a nice little chat with one Chinese teller who didn't realize I had just opened the account, and she was trying to charge me money for withdrawing funds. With my account, everything is free service, except going to the teller. But I had no card to do it at the machine! It took awhile to explain all this, but eventually the fee was waived. No worry, I now have my bankcard, it's nice and silver.

You may have noticed I said all steps are 'almost' done. Pretty much everything I need to get around here, is now done. I have a cellphone, picked that up about 1 week ago as well. It's a nice Nokia with pretty much no features, but I figured out how to download a program and hack into my phone so I can program the MP3 rings. (It doesn't have an audio player, but plays MP3's for ringtones) Figure that one out. A cell/mobile is a must here. Even if you're only here for 1 week I 'd recommend it. It baffles me how I managed almost 3 months without one. So back to the almost. I still need/should get a credit card. There a few things/bills that would be easier with a card, plus I get a free gift like an Ipod shuffle so it's worth it. Also the HSBC internet banking siter is pretty awesome. I'd say it's even better than TD's, and it's pretty good Canada wise.

28 November 2006

Cheesefest 2006

Ah Christmas. Still 1 month away, yet everything/one seems to be preparing well in advance. Statue square in Central has been transformed into a marvellous amount of cheese, topped with the most ridiculously over-dressed Christmas tree I've ever seen. I only caught a glimpse of it during the day, so I'm waiting to see how it's lit up at night. Hong Kong is quite famous for it's lights you know.

Also across the harbor in TST pretty much every building is decked out in a few gazillion lights. I guess for Hong Kong it seems somewhat normal now, but anywhere else it would be crazy. Take Calgary, a pretty decent skyline, yet only one building (Telus) puts up lights. And all it usually is, is a basic xmas-tree with a few green and red lights. So ya, Hong Kong puts Calgary to shaaaaame.

Even though there are lots of decorations up, the house to house decor isn't quite the same as in Canada. Every apartment has not littered their balcony with strings of white lights etc. only to leave them up until June. It might be because no one really has a balcony here, but people still have windows. I might go buy a string and put them up in the window. That's if Mai lets me.

The malls are popping mad busy. Even more-so than usual. Last night as I was taking the bus home I couldn't believe how many people were out and about shopping, and it's 4 weeks away! I'm sort of glad I'm doing my shopping earlier this year (As to have time to mail back to Canada) Last night I got a notice in the mail of another parcel, so I think my older sis must have mailed me something. I'm picking it up today at the post office.

Not much new to report other than the usual. Work has been pretty casually normal, nothing major happening. We're having some sort of party on Thursday. Once again I don't have a clue what it is, but at least I know it's happening this time. I'll prolly take some photos of the festivities around school leading up to Christmas as well.

As for photos, yes I have been slacking. I think I only took my camera out twice this month. Terrible. I do have some photos of the Japan/Korea rugby test for World Cup entry to post. Japan won, they absolutely slaughtered Korea 54-0. So Japan is off to the World Cup. I don't think it was ever in doubt. But in regards to my camera, I have decided to get a news lens for myself. It's the Canon 70-200mm L USM Lens. It's pretty awesome. Bill had this lens and I quite liked it. The price in HK is quite a bit less that Canada as well. Almost $300CDN less. I opted not to go for the IS because of a) money and b) it's not as sharp from what I hear. So maybe once I get this super new lens I'll take some more paparazzi style photos...

26 November 2006

Wow what a baaaad game

Alright, I'm tired so this will be a short post.

The Typhoons played the Macau team today, and wow we played like crap. Fortunately for us, we are good enough that we won even playing like crap. I for one, need to learn how to throw the ball, and as a team we need to play better position and with more energy.

We won 9-6! hahahaha what a thrilling game. Actually it was pretty awful playing conditions, the field was almost all sand, and it was raining. We showed very little energy but somehow our marvellous kicker rallied to kick 3 penalty kicks for the win. Each being 3 points.


Also on the way home I found the following funny. I was relatively comotose due to the alcohol consumption of the day, but in a bus full of 60 people up top, I managed to hear the 2 people up front speaking English. haha. It was also funny because it was North American English. But they were both Chinese. Had I been more sober I might have asked them where they were from. They both came to my building, so maybe I'm not the only Canadian here???

23 November 2006

Christmas in November

Ah the season is near. To my surprise, people are in full swing celebrating Christmas already. There are decorations beginning to fill all the malls, apartments, windows? etc., and it makes no sense! It is still in the low +20's, so it doesn't feel remotely like 'Winter,' which I believe is a prerequisite for Christmas. I highly doubt there will be any snow this year, but I'm holding out hope for some white stuff to set some record and make people go crazy. Unlikely, but not impossible.

Even though it doesn't look like Christmas, I guess people are somewhat in the mood. I received a parcel in the post from my parents and little sister the other day. After finding the post office, I managed to get the package home and open it for some goodies. My mom is quite funny, she made me some Christmas brownies even! Thinking back I can't remember a holiday without them actually. So that made me happy. There's still a few left, hehe.

Many of the buildings have put up extavagent lights, in addition to the normal ones as well. I'll take some pictures as it gets closer to Christmas, but they have a big santa snow flakes etc. etc. In neon lights! haha.

And the other thing that makes it feel like 'Winter'??? I'm sick! Again!/Still/As Always since being here.... I'm really getting pissed off at the pollution here. I'm quite positive it is the only reason I am sick. I've started taking allergy pills again, so it's not the cat bothering me anymore. Everytime I go outside it's like I have a coughing fit. Not in all areas, but anytime I go near a road, or anywhere relatively close to Kowloon - cough it up I do. I've sort of always had a light case of Asthma, but it never really mattered back home. I can't remember when I had trouble breathing due to the air. Usually I had to run a tonne, and even that doesn't bother me much anymore. Hong Kong does! They aren't totally visible, but the tiny little particles of crap in the air start to feel visible when your skin is always dirty and your lungs are always coughing up crap. Grrrrrr. Clean the ____ up HK! (That means you Mr. Donald Tsang)

Merry Christmas in November.........

21 November 2006

Creepy Dolls

Mai took me to this creepy doll exhibition somewhere in Kowloon on Sunday. The name of these bride-of-chucky-esque dolls is Blythe. Mai told me they were originally designed by an American. It ended up I took more pictures, but only because they were creepy creepy creepy.

At least we did better than Hong Kong

The past weekend didn't exaclty go so well for our rugby team. Despite we lost to the same team about 60-0 last year, there was optimism this year for a win. If we had our best team, I suppose we could have managed to compete and probably win. But that is why we lost. Lack of a strong team in many areas. We were missing almost every large forward, or the ones that were there were put into different positions than used to due to low numbers. I for instance, played the position of prop, usually reserved for 250 lb blokes. Needless to say, I couldn't really muster up as much push as the opposition in the scrum. We went to uncontested srums, which meant bad news as their forwards didn't tire out. Oh well, despite that we were missing our scrum half(s) due to moving or injury, and our best kicker was notthere as well. In the end we didn't do too badly, the score was 28-5 I believe.

After our game was the Hong Kong vs. Japan international World Cup qualifier for the Asia region. Japan was predicted to kill them, and kill them they did. The final was 52-3 Japan winning. Japan also missed about 8-9 conversions, so it should have been around 70-3. Also in the 2nd half I think Japan toned it down a bit. The game was fun nonetheless. The stadium was packed to capacity, around 4000 people according to HKrugby.com It was good to see a professional game in person as it made me aware of a few things you don't normally see on the tv. Too bad for Hong Kong though, as I highly doubt they're going to even come close to making it to the World Cup. Very unlikely. Canada also lost on the weekend, darn, to Wales though, as they were expected to. They did play a very good game against a more powerful team. Only lost 52-26, which was good for them apparantly. Canada is 13th in the world, while Wales is 9th. Shows you how much distance is between the rankings world-wide. Japan is 19th and Hong Kong 29th I believe.

Here once again, is a very amusing summary of our game from the FCC president, Mr. Chris Roberts.

"There are a few positives we can take away from the Sequins game. Dan/Smally wasn't playing, Jamie is now married so can smash himself up as prop and the old boys can still make muster and turn out for a run. We had numbers on paper but we were waiting on the French to add some Gallic flare in the front row and bite some ears. The cooler week and rain had turned a bit warmer and humid, the grass had been cut well and we were set to give Club a few lessons in nuisance value and turning up to fight whatever happens. Big Ass Zurcher came back to help us out and add some ass with class to the forwards, didn't see it myself. His big ass was in the way. Smally couldn't make the field with a sniffle and man flu, so we had decent scrum half's.

Sequins turned up with a selection of chunkers and old boys, we were sporting our mobile pack. We weren't to shabby against their back line as well. Early on we had a lot of pressure down in the 22, with all the weight of pie eating and rich living being trundled at the fit bodies of our forwards (A hideous lie but bear with me). We held out for a while eventually conceding a try which was converted. The flame haired Jason O had turned up to play half back and distribute ball. He looked like a toy Garfield stuck on a back window trying to tackle their number 8. Out from the wilderness Marty Grey turned up to prop and sweat off a hangover. More pressure in the 22 and we let in another in the first 20 minutes, this was converted again. We were pinned down in our own half for a lot of the time. We held our own in the line outs and had some good passages of pick and drive getting through several phases without mishap. After a lot of hard work the ball went wide for some good interplay and a crash through from our resident goal hanger, number 8 and now sometime centre Mr Gent. Still working hard we went into the break 14 - 5 behind. Wispy Waz and Jon K talked tactics and we set for the second half.

The second half saw more of Claudios Latino anger being expressed at misdemeanours committed by years of cynical old boy play. Coming in on the side, lying on top and using hands on the floor, not a problem for Sequins. There was among some South American revolution at one point. Shane had a moment as centre getting in a hand off with instant sore throat dispensed before being brought down. Peter Clemmow replaced Jason at No.9, good to see him back. It has to be said Sequins were using our own tactic of rolling subs and lots of them. Saturday they just had more subs with no games being on in the higher leagues, funny that. We ground away, eventually letting in 2 more tries which were converted. The Mystery French prop didn't show up, no doubt taking his time finishing a meal with a fine wine and winking at lot at ladies. There weren't too many comedy moments, it was just hard work. We looked good and gave Club a hard game they won't forget. On another day we could have had them, there's still time. A big thanks to Matt Adams turning up from Nomads to help out in the front row. New boy Kevin T made an appearance with more of that shocking orangy hair.

Final score Typhoons 5 - Sequins 28

Man of the match - Aymeric
Honourable mentions - Jeff and Brenton "

17 November 2006

Rugby Rugby Rugby

Oh mercy this weekend should be a great weekend for rugby.

First off, the Typhoons (the team I play for) are taking on the Sequins (what the ___ kind of name is Sequins?) for a temporary tie of first place in the 3rd devision in Hong Kong Rugby. It still feels kind of funny playing in the 3rd devision of the entire country. If that was true for say, hockey, in Canada, I would be almost a pro! Unfortunately, Hong Kong isn't that big, but I still think it's cool, and our team is playing really well at the moment. My big body guards up front are away for this game, so hopefully I will survive. These body guards are called props, they basically protect me during the scrum in rugby games. One is out with a torn knee, and the other is off protecting Gucci somewhere in Asia. (He's the head of security for Gucci in all of Asia, yes he's HUGE) Wish me luck!

After our game, is the International World Cup of Rugby Asia qualifier, on the same pitch! Yes! That's right, we're playing right before a WORLD CUP qualifier game. International super-stars will be playing almost right after us. Pretty awesome eh? Now, not to get too excited, the Asian rugby teams are pretty much the bottom feeders of International Rugby, but still. Both games are at the Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley. If anyone from Hong Kong reads this, you should come, and it's free! Comment if you want directions.

The final Rugby dealings are on Sunday, when Wales plays Canada in an international match, but I'm not sure what it's for. Anyway, I've never seen Canada play, despite living in CANADA! (stupid hockey mad country) so I'm sort of excited to watch it.

I will update on Monday saying we are now in first place*

Happy Hour

I wonder if the counter attendant for the gym even knew what this said? If he did, it makes this wristband even funnier. This is what they gave me for a wristband at the gym last night. Mai got one too. Everytime you go to the gym at the clubhouse where I live, you have to pay, so they give you a wristband to make sure they know who has paid the fee. It's really cheap, but I think we should have gotten 2 for 1 with these things.

14 November 2006

Oh what a marvelously confusing day!

Today when I woke up I really didn't want to go in to school to 'work' today. Man am I glad I did! Today was possibly the coolest/funniest/weirdest/confusing/strange day I've ever had.

Phew... I'm still trying to figure out what happened today. Where to start?......

Ok, so I wake up and go to school like I normally do on Tuesdays, take the mini-bus to MTR and walk up the hill to the kindergarten. What is so strange about this you ask? Well when I arrived at school, the doors were all closed up and everyone was leaving or had already left. ??? Whuha? I asked, it's only 8:45am. Luckily for me, one of the teachers was still inside, and let me in. I asked in Honglish 'what the hell is going on??!?!' haha. She told me in broken English, that "Oh, today is play day" at least I think that's what she called it. I was like "oooooo...k. So where is everyone?" I found out eventually that everyone has gotten onto like 20 buses and loaded up to go to the New Territories for some 'field day' type activity thing where the parents all came along. So there approximately 1000 people on buses going to the New Territories. This is all fine and dandy, but WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME THIS WAS HAPPENING TODAY!?!??!?! Rushing around, the headmistress found me and told 'Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you about the play day today."

It's a good thing I was actually on time for a change.

So I loaded onto a bus, with very small seats I might add, and was off to some foreign land in Hong Kong, known as middle of ____ ____ nowhere. I had been to parts of the New Territories before, but this place was really really out in the country. On the way there I saw the large bridge going to Lantau Island, and the hugantic large shipping docks on Kowloon side. They are very cool, but it is lost on me how the heck they organize it all. It was about 45 minutes by bus to where we went (I seriously have no idea where we were). The driving skills of bus drivers here continue to amaze me. I didn't think I'd ever see the day 15 large buses almost fell off a gravel road into a drainage ditch. Luckily we didn't. Oh the other funny thing I was aksed was if I wanted a puke bag on the bus. Um? Is it going to fly? Later on I could sort of see why they asked.

We arrived at this desolate looking place called somethingerater country club. Hooray! There might be a golf course, ha, no. By country club I think the HKers mean big open field with somewhat natural grass. What ended up happening was all the kids and parents got into groups by age in the field and played games and scavenger type stuff all day. There was also a huge covered area so we could hide from the nuclear fallout from North Korea (haha, that's what I'm blaming the smog on)

I really wasn't asked to do anything all day, other than wander around, and take the occassional photo with some students. A couple parents who spoke very good English talked to me for awhile, but mostly I did nothing. Which is exactly what I wanted to do all day anyway so I was happy. The consession dude ripped me off I think, because the ice cream I bought cost waaaaay too much. He claimed to not speak English. Ah well. The rest of the day I wandered around some more in this 'field' till about noon, when the teachers attempted to gather everyone back into one group to head back to the buses. We left around 12:45 I think. The journey home was the same rollercoater ride, but in reverse.

Alrighty, we were almost back at the school, and I still really didn't know what was going on the rest of the day. No one even told me what the place was called we had just spent 4 hours at. I may never know. The head-mistress said something about Lunch earlier, but really didn't make it clear what she meant and where or how I was getting where I think I was supposed to be. Turns out me and 5 other teachers were going out for Lunch with the principal in Hong Kong Island! haha, I didn't really expect this. And we got our own bus to go there. Super duper!

We arrived in Wan Chai around 2pm, and met our Principal at some decent looking Seafood place. I have no idea why, but they all talked for about 5 minutes, and then it was decided the 6 of us were going to go somewhere else. Ok, do I have to pay? Is all I cared about. We walked down to the main level, and someone lead the way to a Chinese restaurant directly above the place we had just come from. I was aksed if I like dimsum, which I said yes to, and off we were. The restaurant was very large inside.

I can't remember most of what we ate (because I dont know what it's called) but it was very yummy. I had jellyfish, squid, pork, veggie things, and Chinese chips and pineapple sauce! mmmmm. Also I got to entertain all the teachers as they laughed at my English. Umm, hello? My English is ENGLISH! They find the language funny I guess. I also talked with the computer tech, the only other male teacher at my school. His English isn't too great, but we understood each other for the most part. One memorable moment was when he thought I wake-boarded instead of rugby. I don't quite know how he mixed up that one.

So the verdict is.... I didnt have to pay! Woohoo!

What a weird day. I hop on a bus to an unknown destination early in the morning with about 1000 people. I go to some field in the middle of nowhere. I get ripped off by the ice cream guy. I go for Chinese dimsum with the teachers and it's all paid for. My job is so hard huh?

13 November 2006


Awhile back, October 26th actually, I went to Repulse Bay. Nice little beach, it's actually quite large for Hong Kong. Decent sand, nice water, and very very sunny. The architechture is pretty cool too.

Broadband! WOOHOO!

Hooray! I'm living in the future I feel like now! haha. I recently 'upgraded' our internet and cable tv to full broadband. I now have the fastest internet in Hong Kong, as well as ESPN and HBO on tv, hehe. As a result, I spend too much time watching TV, and I will now be updating my photoblog hopefully a little more frequently.

Gai Who?

Final Score: Phoons 28 vs. GaiWu 12

Yes! We won again! And no-one got their leg smashed this game. Physically and mentally this was probably one the harder games we've had this season, despite the fact we lost a game earlier on in the year to the Police. I'd say this game was tougher, and we won. We kept our energy long enough to hold on in the end. Up until about 6 minutes left it was really close. I think we were only winning by a few points. The final minutes saw us score a few tries to make it convincing enough for comfort. Also one of our star players Jensen (who is leaving for England for a couple years) scored a last minute tri which made everyone happy. All the best Jensen.

As for myself, I played the whole match once again. My fitness is improving. The opposing hooker was quite tough, he knocked the wind outta me as I attemped to tackle him. I still haven't quite got my timing back for tackles. In the scrums it was a tough battle all day. I only managed to steal one put-in away from the GaiWu side. I don't think I gave away the ball at all, so that was a highlight.

Lineouts improved a tonne this game. Not only did I actually manage to throw the ball straight, our jumpers were jumping as well. One tri came almost directly off the lineout and a couple other good runs as a result of good technique on the lineout.

After the game we all went down the street to a local pub, and I think the owner was dancing in the back, because we were his only customers, and from what I could see, I think we almost drank the place empty. They had to go buy the food we ordered down the street, which was funny, as we should have just got it ourselves. Also another high/lowlight was singing Karaoke to Backstreet Boys for about 10 minutes. Nothing funnier than seeing Gareth (the largest member of the team) busting out the boyband lyrics. hahaha. Other tunes were heard from Madonna and Britney, as well as a Canto-Beatles song (very funny). Karaoke here is a lot different than back home. The videos are all of locals singing the songs on a huge stage with lights and everything with very bad backup dancers. So when you watch the TV screen, you're singing Karaoke of a cover basically. Except a few North American videos, which usually show the original artist's video.

We got the win, wuuuu hoo. I forgot to mention that Gai Wu is an all Japanese team. They are small, but wholy crap did they hit hard. Unlike the big fat white guy teams, these guys hit with very pinpoint percision, so it hurt a lot in one small spot. As oposed to the 'larger' guys who sort of hit you with a more absorbing blow. Oh well, No blood on me this game so I'm happy. The team is now 4-1, and constantly improving.

06 November 2006


That's right. The Bombers suck THAT MUCH.....

After watching the bombers play like their usual selves, I'm not sure I relly care who wins the Grey Cup, again, but at least I can watch it live on Broadband CFL. I feel so close to home, until I look outside and see palm trees.

04 November 2006

'No' for Nomads

The Typhoons (Us) played the somethinerather Nomads this past weekend. I thought a fellow from the club did a very nice email write up, so I've decided to post it rather than try and come up with my own wit. Here it is >>>

Saturday was ladies day and some women turned up to watch. Judging by the quiz questions raised by master mind Humphrey's, several didn't appear to have been watching at all. I'll get back to the quiz master later, but they were chatting, eating, drinking, eating some more and taking very little notice of the fine display of manhood and rugby on display. There was no singing or streaking despite subsidising the drinks all day as well. It also saw the inaugural opening of the TCC, or the Typhoon Cripples Club. The Club within a club is open to all, you just have to injure yourself badly enough so you can't play for weeks. Flesh wounds, wimps and poor quality injuries need not apply.

Another fine day, we were receiving and boffed about a bit in the first few minutes. We had a bit of pressure down in our own half/22, but we managed to break out. The backs made fine yardage getting it out to FMHK, who incidentally has an extra vertebrae in his back which is why he's so tall. But having a clear run and showing off he knocked it on like a turkey. More pressure back in our half and another breakout, this time FMHK wasn't combing his hair and he scored in the corner. Unfortunately he inflicted an injury on himself and has asked to join the TCC. We will consider if thumb breakage and pulling off the tendon qualifies. We had a try go the other way, this they converted. My memory gets dim at this point, I made it Jon K, Chris J getting two more tires. We had a penalty kick against us as well. Conversions were a shocker throughout the game. Des kept his sheets clean and Jon K also had an unblemished record. We were ahead by half time and poised to race away. The forwards looked good in the scrum, mauling and rucking also looked good. The ref stopped any funny business and the game ticked along. The first half also saw Guy dislocate his little pinky, but it went back in so should be OK for nose excavations in no time. The line out was frail however and we lost yards while they kicked for position and stole our ball.

Half time and some old chat. A few changes and we kept fresh legs joining the fray for some carpet burns and sweating. We had a slow start then began scoring from wide. Des complained his Cuban heals and the scores out wide were causing him to miss. He was sacked in shame for his excuses. Jon K was little better, even Jensen was a pile of pony. The second half saw the opening of the Ott's legs, seldom seen in Hong Kong but he made several runs. Most memorable was trying to catch their winger. There was a good forwards try shoving over for a try from 10 yards out after a good drive. I think this was Christophe, but I'd need to take advice from the sideline experts on French mens @rses and lots of bodies in a heap. We had a try go the other way, as above it was Christians fault for running and not tying his shoe laces. A big hello to Thomas Toit and Kevin, welcome back. Towards the end new scrum half Small got one in and took over the kicking duties in disgust. Luckily he scored rather than join the other kicking has beens. We looked comfortable in the game, despite the hard work. Trys came from all over the park showing we can score from anywhere.

Final score Typhoons 42 Nomads 15"

31 October 2006

This is Halloween

Halloween in Hong Kong = Crowds of locals not wearing costumes!

Boooooo! I used to think Halloween was for dressing up. To the few people who actually dressed up in HK this year, thank you. To all you bums who didn't and crowded the street so no one could walk, boooooo! Anywho, Halloween was still sort of fun. We went to LKF to see the masses dressed up. There were a few nice costumes, but mainly crowds of people coming to watch. Mai dressed up nicely, I had a pretty lame costume, but my cheap plastic pumpkin mask was awesome. I didn't see anyone else wearing one, so I felt original. Later on we went to IFC Mall for a 'photoshoot.' Then the lonely pumpkin took the bus home.

30 October 2006


Destination: Macau
Objective: Secure Work Visa

Yesterday I went to Macau with Mai. As you should know if you read this blog, I went to get my work visa. The process has taken longer than originally thought, but I now have my visa! I applied about 5 weeks ago, and have been 'working' since about September. I feel a little better knowing that I can now work for real and actually start teaching full-time.

Back to Macau. Dirtiest city ever! As much as Macau pegs itself as a tourist city, that only applies to about 1/10th of the city. The rest = nuclear fallout ground.

The trip to Macau was quite enjoyable aboard the famed TurboJet. They are sort of hard to describe, but these 'ferries' are really just large speed boats. The boat actually skips above the water, it's kind of funny looking. It only takes an hour, and you float into Macau through a super thick fog, and then bam! there's the city. Somewhat cool effect, I hoped it was all fog. My hopes were quickly dashed as soon as we started to explore.

Macau itself is extremley small. I think it's technically a SAR like Hong Kong, but it's a lot smaller, and the size of a normal town, but very crowded. The inner streets are quite simply disgusting. I don't mind old buildings falling down and crowded living and motorcycle insanity and lack of green, but the air was unbearable. It makes Hong Kong seem like fresh mountain air. At one point we had to stop and get off the main road because we seriously couldn't breath. In some ways we had gotten lost, but knew the general area we were in. Next time, if ever, I come back I will not stray from the main paths, or risk dieing of lung cancer in two minutes.

Taxi? what's a taxi? I'm quite confident the people of Macau have never heard of taxis, because it is rare to even see one, let alone get one. Here's my advice Macau, if you want to become the next Vegas, you should first find some taxis to get people around, and put a huge vacuum above the city. I know I won't be back any time soon, I really like breathing too much to risk it.

Funniest thing I've ever seen: Having been to Las Vegas, I have seen some funny things in Casinos. Never, did I EVER expect to see a casino in the 'Vegas of Asia' completely empty at 10pm in the evening. WTF!??! Mai and I could not stop laughing. We walked into this floating casino, the guard gladly welcomed us in. IT WAS DEAD! There were 2 other young people inside, that's it. 2! People plus us. The moment we entered it was like everyone had seen a ghost. We could not figure out why this casino was empty. It made nooooo sense. It was also one of the coolest casinos, as it was floating. Weeeeeiiiirrrd. We left right away because the place gave off this mood like we were going to get shot.

End result: Hooray! I survived Macau and got my work visa, now I never have to go back! Yes!!!!!!

Note: We did have a very awesomely huge lunch at a Portugese restaurant in Macau. (Macau is a former Portugese colony)

28 October 2006

Earning my socks

The Phoons are now 2-1.

On Saturday we sewed up our 2nd win of the season after some good hard play against a small quick Chinese team. We smashed 'em pretty good, but they were in top shape and super quick. In the end size won, with out backs crashing through their line with relative ease. The forwards took control of almost every scrum, pushing forward on many occasions. Yours truly was much better at his position, winning a few balls off the other team's put-in for the scrum. I also made some nice tackles and 'blocks.' There isn't any blocking in rugby really, but there is mauling, which is effectively the same thing.

The final score was 41-14. After the game, team awards were given out at the pub where I got the coaches award. The thing this year for the Phoons is to give out team socks to award winners after each game. By about the 6th or 7th game everyone should have their socks. Coach said I did alot of things that you don't really notice from the sidelines, but on the field make a big difference. Sounds like some other sport I used to play (football) I never won any damn socks in football though!

25 October 2006


"Lost in Kyoto," from the soundtrack to Lost in Translation. That song pretty much changed my mood for the night. Looking out the window at 40 story buildings, peering above them, I felt pretty lonely, but in a good way. Just came back from Rugby practice, which was fairly insignificant, but listening to some music made me feel good inside, so much it inspired me to think of some new ideas about things. I might even write a poem...

It's good to know that one song can change your outlook on things so much. I missed music a bit, not really having a stereo and only my computer and headphones. Good to hear positive 'noise' for a change.

23 October 2006

Knock Knock

Who's there? Lots of people who take things too seriously apparantly.

I write like 2 somewhat negative posts, mainly sarcasticly as hell, and now everyone thinks I hate Hong Kong. Umm, where did that come from? I still love it here, it's the craziest city I've ever been in. Sure it has it's downsides, and I'm here to point them out. I also, for the most part focus entirely on the good things about this city. I don't recall saying I was mad about people walking into me, I just thought it would be better for their safety if they didn't. Also all the kids at school absolutely love me, I'm a celebrity to them. I'm glad that spending 20 minutes of time with them a day makes them laugh, even if they are laughing at me. As conservative and strict as the teaching structure is here, I do have to say that most of my students speak better English than many Canadian 3 year olds, and I'm not joking.

So no, I'm not angry at you Hong Kong, I merely like to poke fun at you. But ya, you still are really dirty. My work visa went through the other day, and I picked it up today. Now all I have to do is go to Macau and get it stamped so I can stay the whole year now. Everything is working out good in that regard. Mai and I also went to yet another mall yesterday, saw some crazy little stores, way too crowded, in Mong Kok. It still boggles my mind how many malls are in this SAR.

In other new, the Blue Bombers won again! They can actually maybe host a playoff game. If anyone knows how I can watch CFL playoff games in another country I'd love to know.

What did you breath today?

I decided to do a little research on different Air Quality levels around the world today. The results I already knew, but just wanted some actual numbers and to know what they meant. Pretty much everyone calls it the Air Quality Index (AQI) but Hong Kong calls it the Air Pollution Index (API). The numbers used don't always mean the same and the UK is different as well. Anyway here are the numbers for today. The numbers for HK are at midnight! during the day they are even worse, but I don't want to scare anyone.

Hong Kong (at midnight)
Central - 57 (60+ during the day)
Causeway bay - 65 (70+ during the day)
Mong Kok - 73 (85+ during the day)

Canada (Morning)
Winnipeg - 9
Calgary - 8
Vancouver - 12
Toronto - 10
Montreal -10

New York City - 45
London - 3 (They use a system up to 10 only)

(From wikipedia >>>)

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a standardized indicator of the air quality in a given location. It measures mainly ground-level ozone and particulates (except the pollen count), but may also include sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Various agencies around the world measure such indices, though definitions may change between places.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) differ on what AQI structure and health classification is used:

Health classifications used by the EPA:

  • 0-50 Good is usually green
  • 51-100 Moderate is usually yellow
  • 101-150 Unhealthy for sensitive groups is usually orange
  • 151-200 Unhealthy is usually red
  • 201-300 Very unhealthy is usually purple
  • 301-500 Hazardous is usually maroon

(AQI 100 corresponds to 0.08 ppm ozone; other levels for other pollutants) EPA

Health classifications used by the MSC:

  • 0-25*: Good (green)
  • 26*-50: Moderate (yellow)
  • 51-100: Poor (orange/red)
  • 101+: Very poor (purple)

In Ontario, 31 is the upper limit for good and 32 the lower limit for moderate.

United Kingdom

The Met Office of the United Kingdom (UK) issues air quality forecasts wherein the level of pollution is described either as an index (ranging from 1 to 10) or as a banding (low, moderate, high or very high). These levels are based on the health effects of each pollutant.

Hong Kong (Main article: Air Pollution Index)

The Air Pollution Index (API) levels for Hong Kong are related to the measured concentrations of ambient respirable suspended particulate (RSP), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over a 24-hour period based on the potential health effects of air pollutants.

An API level at or below 100 means that the pollutant levels are in the satisfactory range over 24 hour period and pose no acute or immediate health effects. However, air pollution consistently at "High" levels (API of 51 to 100) in a year may mean that the annual Hong Kong "Air Quality Objectives" for protecting long-term health effects could be violated. Therefore, chronic health effects may be observed if one is persistently exposed to an API of 51 to 100 for a long time.

"Very High" levels (API in excess of 100) means that levels of one or more pollutant(s) is/are in the unhealthy range. The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department provides advice to the public regarding precautionary actions to take for such levels.


Ok, so based on this research, Hong Kong is just plain stupid. It's not even recommended for people to be outside for more than 24 hours. That's ok with me, cause it's too damned hot, but this is ridiculous. Anyone more interested can find more info at wiki.

20 October 2006

Sars just got owned!

Woohoo! I'm finally getting better. I took a tonne of meds last night and most of my cold seems to have gone away. Unfortunately I felt rather 'high' this morning, and I had to teach, haha. Not sure what I took, something Mai gave me, but it worked when I took enough. I doubled the dosage cause I figure I'm almost twice as big as most Japanese people I know. Tomorrow is the Typhoons 2nd game of the season, and I should see a tonne of action as I'm the only one at my position who is going and available. Arg, we're playing the police too! woohoo! Big fat white guys with too much ego, should be fun. Apparantly we killed em last year cause they're all too out of shape and slow. I'm also both of those, actually our whole team is. Either way we go for free beers after at HK Brewhouse, our sponsor. The food is really good too. I must say the nachos are almost some of the best I've ever had. Still loyal to PG's though.

In other news... Yes I am getting more politically incorrect, thanks for noticing! :)

Set for life.

I found out the other day that most kindergartens actually interview their students to see if they are good enough to go to the school. It's frickin kindergarten! It's a sad sad day when 3 year olds are somewhat 'interrogated' so they can go to a good school. If the kindergarten doesn't think the student behaves well, they don't get in. Judging by how misbehaved most of my students are at times, the kids who don't get in are most likely serial killers. Still! I find this rediculous. Maybe even a waste of time. They are private schools, but still, it's kindergarten people!

Oh ya, kids start going to school when they are 3 here, 6 days a week. Sounds like fun doesn't it. Glad I never grew up here, the pressure would be rediculous. From what I heard/saw on another HK blog, many students decide jumping out a window is more fun than going to school.

Alas, I am a big hypocrit. I'm going to school to sit in on some interviews as bait for parents, and I'm being paid extra big bucks to do it. Gotta love capitalism. Hehehe.

I'm bigger than you! I'm higher on the food chain!

One of my students somewhat seriously tried to fight me the other day. I didn't really do anything but laugh at him, and a little of pretend boxing. But seriosuly kid, you're maybe 30 pounds. My advice, "R" for "Realistic." Did you think you could take me? Even with your super kung-fu moves, I'm not scared.

In other news. Do you people on the street find it enjoyable to not acknowledge my existance by walking into me and bouncing back about 5 feet as if you didn't see me coming. I saw you coming, and made a slight effort to move, but I had the right of way. When everyone going one way is on one side of the walkway, maybe you should be on the other side if you're going the other way. This leads me to believe people who can't walk in an orderly fashion along with the other thousand people on the street can't drive as well. I hope you all don't have cars. In the meantime my shoulder really doesn't care when you crash into it, because I continue moving forward, it's called " I'm bigger than you!" Look out!

In case no one knew, my biggest pet peave is lollygaggers! It's Hong Kong people! Everyone claims this city is moving so fast forward technology wise blah blah blah, maybe you should all do the same when it's rush hour!

19 October 2006

Mai's new ice

UPDATE: So ya. I ummm, screwed up a little. Only the first design is Mai's, the picture of the two earings, necklace, and ring (I deleted the other images). The others are from her 3 co-workers. Ooops! Anyway, the pictures can still be found at the link below.

Edited > Here are the new works Mai just recently designed. She works for JustGold HK, where she designs jewellery. These are all in stores as of October.
Click on the picture to go to the website for JustGold.

17 October 2006

Blue Sky Anyone?

Not in Hong Kong anytime soon. The air pollution has gotten so bad in this city that it's almost twice as bad or worse, than Los Angeles USA!. Anyone who has ever seen a shot of that city's skyline on a smoggy day knows how bad it is. Well factor in higher humidity and a chinook's worth of pollution from mainland China, and you have what a smogfest looks like in Hong Kong. I didn't notice too much at first, mainly because the high heat was annoying me so much. Now everytime I go outside I notice how dirty the air really is and how it must be taking a few minutes off my life everytime I breath. The government here is sort of starting to do something, but according to local lobbyists it's not even close to enough. In a city as fast paced as Hong Kong, the pollution fix could not be more slow. I'm not blaming my current sickness entirely on the pollution, but it's the biggest factor I'm sure. There isn't much HK can do about China blowing their crap all over the city here, but what they can do is get rid of the gross diesel running cars/buses/vans etc. that pollute the crap outta the streets. Most of the roads are stained black from it. I think it's absolutely gross. Coming from Calgary, the cleanest city in the world from certain polls, I agree that Hong Kong could possibly be the dirtiest. Ugg....

14 October 2006

Meet the Parents

Over the past week I had the oppotunity to meet my girlfriend's (Mai's) parents. I had already met her mom twice in Calgary, so this was the big first meeting of her dad. We all went out for dinner at an amazing Japanese restaurant, the name escapes me at the moment. The ambience was too bright (Note: I don't like bright restaurants) but overall it was probably/guaranteed the best Japanese food I've ever had. The steak I had was excellent.

Anyway, back to meeting the parents. Like I said I have met Mai's mom before, but never her dad. His sense of humour is quite funny as is Mai's mom. They are always laughing at something together. I never quite know what because it's usually in Japanese. Mai got mad at me because I drank my drink before she got hers. This is my blog, so of course it was not my fault. As any beer drinker knows, it is proper drinking behaviour to drink beer while it's freshly poured to enjoy the head. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. If others choose not to drink beer, that's their fault, haha.

Apart from Mai saying I drank too soon, I don't think I made any major glaring errors in meeting her dad for the first time. (They even said my use of chopsticks was good) We've been invited to Beijing, and at somepoint I'm sure we will go. Unfortunately Mai's dad had to go after dinner, but it was a good visit. Her mom stayed for 3 days, so I had a chance to get to know her a little better.

It was extremely nice of her to make my breakfast before I went to work. The last night she was here, the 3 of us went for Thai food at 'Bangkok', a really nice little restaurant. The food was quite good, I even had pineapple chicken served in a whole pineapple. We had a few other dishes and a few drinks. Unfortunately Mai was sick, so she didn't eat much, and we left early because she looked like she was dying slightly. On the cab ride home, she threatened to puke all over me, but that never happened thankfully. I for some reason began to feel a little queezy as well on the ride home, but didn't think anything of it. When we got home, Mai basically went straight to bed, and I watched some TV. I don't know if it was the food or the TV, but my dinner decided it was going to make a reappearance. Here's a conversation between me and my stomach.

Stomach: Did you enjoy your dinner?

Me: Yes I did, the beer was good too.

Stomach: Yah I forgot to tell you, I don't like spicey food and beer.

Me: What? Since when, I drink beer almost every time I go out for dinner.

Stomach: Eh, even so, since you liked it so much, why not have another look!

Me: Hmmmmm, no.

Stomach: Ummmm, too bad, here it is!

Now I've heard of the weekend flu, even the 24 hour flu, but never have I had the 20 minute flu. This was weird, but the origin of my stomach ache has been narrowed down to either the spices in the soup, possibly bad chicken (it was in pineapple so I can forgive it if it's guilty) and maybe the Thai beer I had, possible too bubbly. Anyway, I really didn't feel bad for more than 20 minutes, the next day after a long sleep I was perfectly normal. Unfortunately I seem to have contracted Sars from Mai (jk), as my head is kinda not right, and my throat has been better, lets hope it's just the AC.

11 October 2006

Do it yourself

That's what the general attitude towards showing someone how to do their job is in Hong Kong. You would think that they might help out a bloke who's only been here a month, but not really. For the most part, and I've been told this is common at most jobs here, the employer really doesn't show you how to do your job. In some ways this really really sucks, and can frustrate the hell out of me, but I'm getting used to it. I just wish someone would have told me this so I would know that I can pretty much do things how and when I want. That's not to say that I haven't been given a little bit of guidance from the learning centre and the schools I work at. After the first week, I was given an outline, so now I know when I'm supposed to teach what to the kids. It's still a little dodgy, because I really still hadn't had much of an idea until today where I picked up the right teaching supplies. Did the school have them? Or do I have to get them from the learning centre. No one really told me, I was just supposed to know I guess. Now I do. I found out today that certain things I get from the centre, and certain things they have at the school. But as previous readers will know, the school didn't bother to tell me where my big bundle of supplies was until after 2 weeks. grrrr. Also today I got my big pack of flashcards! Wooohoo for flashcards! Now I can stop drawing terrible depictions of apples and cats on the board. This was slightly entertaining for me though. One of my kids was being naughty today, so I drew a picture of him on the board, it was awesome. All the kids laughed. He didn't seem offended at all, but he shut up, haha.

So a new lesson learned, do everything myself while pretending to know what I'm doing. I really actually do like this for the most part, because it gives me control of my situation, I just wish I could have maybe had a little more help with a fews things. Oh and just when you thought I was out of petpeeves here's another!

Let the ENGLISH teacher teach ENGLISH!

I'm all for the non-native english teachers assisting me, but there is a reason all the schools are in really high need of NATIVE ENGLISH speakers and pay a lot of money for them. I don't mind accents, but when I'm trying to teach a new word to the kids, pleeeeeease don't say it wrong! Usually it's not a problem, but if the word you say sounds like a totally different word in English, you're going to totally confuse the kids! For instance, a doll is not a door. This is even more true when I'm teaching them 'door' and 'doll' at the same time! grrrrrr. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just saying how it is. The reason young kids are given native speakers to learn from so much, is because they have the opportunity to learn the language easier because they absorb different sounds better than adults. So please, don't tell me to do it myself, and then help me by not helping me, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.