Monday, 27 December 2010

007 Herbert last and final Asian Experience - For Now!!!!

After finally checking emails, I found the last installment from our intrepid chicken eating, beer swilling 007, who is safely now back in blighty.

Day 22/23 Hong Kong.

I remember the conversation as clear as anything. “Do you like the Hairy Crack?” she asked for the second time. There just had to be something wrong, that could not be what she said. Angie a respectable 50 something year old Hong Kong born and bred business woman who I had been working with for six years could not be asking what I thought she just asked. To make matters worse another five of her immediate family were also sat around the table, waiting for my reply, as we concluded a successful year’s business. I had no alternative but to ask again, “I am really sorry Angie, what did you say?” Fearing I would still be none the wiser. Travelling in Asia your ears do get tuned in to the way the way English is spoken, though it does take quite an effort if you are speaking in broken English all the time.

“Hairy Crack”, came back the reply for the third time. I was starting to get a bit embarrassed, a small bead of perspiration rolled down my forehead.

Opposite me sat the 23 year old niece of the family and while she could not tell why I was struggling, she could clearly see I was. She slowly leant back in her chair so the rest of the group could not see and pointed towards the restaurant entrance, towards a huge sign enticingly offered the seasonal delicacy of Hairy Crab!! . . . . . “Yes, YES”, I blurted out, “I love Hairy Crab”, my voice descending several octaves as the sentence went. So tonight I am prepared should the same question arise.

It’s a humid 23 Celsius here as I bimble in a small bus from Chek Lap Kok, which I suspect you can probably get a good cream for but is actually the new airport.

"Hong Kong" is the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or "fragrant harbour" and certainly parts of the well sailed stretch of water can still live up to that billing. To me Nathan Road area is my favourite part of the Hong Kong experience. It’s where I first came and stayed in 1998. Busy and a touch dirty by day but at night it really comes alive with Neon lit buildings and shops selling virtually everything. Space is obviously at a premium here. They can’t go outwards so up is the only way. High rise apartment blocks abound and from virtually every open window hangs washing. There is hardly any spare space and very little park land. Where there is greenery you can see people practising their morning Thai Chi.

Last night 7 of us, myself and 6 locals dined, in the wonderfully set Hutong Restaurant perched high up on the 27th floor looking out across the harbour. The high buildings on Hong Kong Island brightly lit and occasionally firing lasers back out across the night sky. I don’t expect my Blackberry photo will do it justice but very privileged to being there.

This morning had an amble around the streets. At the lower end of Nathan road is the usual nuisance of blokes thinking you need a new copy watch and a suit to go with it. The suits from the right tailor can be a good buy, however I have seen the fashion victims who have carried out their purchase and subsequent review of a partially tailored suit under natural light, at night and following a few vendor supplied beers. Some of the quotes when seen with purchases many thousands of miles away were, “It didn’t look that bright a colour last Wednesday”, or “If I stand like this it does actually hang quite well”.

It still amazes me that the material of choice for scaffolding is bamboo which is tied together as it has been for years. There are unsurprisingly still fatalities in the construction industry but am still impressed by people’s faith in the natural material. Think I have one photo which will capture it quite succinctly and if you look hard enough there is a one man on it.

That’s it you will be pleased to hear. I am off home for pie and mash. Goodbye.

As featured in James Bond and still one of THE places to stay

Bamboo scaffolding, but its ok as he has a Hi Vis jacket on!

View from Hutong restaurant to Hong Kong island

Well, I can only say a big thankyou to our 007 Herbert for these entertaining snippets of life on the road as one of her Majesties finest!
We wait with baited breath for next year, to find out what exotic parts of the world he will be travelling to, sampling chicken and beer in his quest for world peace.
Till later.......

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