Archive for February, 2009

Pre-normal post: Yippeee! Finally we are number one result when you Google “bonkers in honkers”! There was some dude who had left Honkers like 2 years ago and now lives in Switzerland that was clinging on to number one spot for ages but now I got him! Hahahaha! About time too, as I was about to email him and tell him how it doesn’t make any sense to have the blog named Bonkers in Honkers if you’re not actually in HK anymore. I had solutions for him; Pissy in Swissy, Tastes Like Toblerone, Neutralality Starts Here and Famous Swiss Cheeses Blog.

Let normal blogging resume.

Sunday night is one of mental preparation for the week ahead at work but also a time that my brain realises that it is still on its small break from thinking a lot. So don’t expect much.

Yesterday morning my football team Hamsap FC played in Aberdeen against Waterloo (yeah, huh huh, they certainly met theirs, huh huh!), we won 4-1 in nice and pleasant breezy conditions. Last time I played there it was 35 Celsius and 100% humidity. I nearly died that day. So yesterday I managed to get two goals; 1 header on the end of a looping cross from just about 1 yard out. And the other a nicely taken left footed free kick from outside the area. Never been the free kick taker from the right side but will stake my claim now.
I felt a little twinge in my left leg near the end and of course that’s got worse today so the planned 3 hour hike from Aberdeen Reservoir to Wong Nai Chung Gap was set aside for now, looks like a good one though. Hopefully can do it next weekend and it was a bit hazy (ie. polluted) today so the views may have been obscured a bit.

Well to not make this entry totally pointless, I thought I would mention a nice Japanese Curry place I found to be quite tasty. It’s called Japanese Curry Shop Bee II (I’m presuming there is a number 1 somewhere..) and it’s on Pak Sha Road which is just behind our apartment. It’s kinda fast foody in both presentation and in delivery of food. But that’s where the comparisons end, the curry beef and rice I got was fantastic.

It’s strange but when I was eating it I was brought back to the packets of curry mum used to put on our beef curries at home, and that’s a good thing! Very nice and I will be back.

And just to add a bit more illustration to this Sunday rambling is a view of our apartment building from the same road as the restaurant.
Now off I go for tomorrow I dress up as Jar Jar Binks for the sake of children’s entertainment.


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While this  entry  refers to the infamous gangster killing incident of course it’s nothing like Chicago 1922 and there were no pudgy mobsters with tommy guns involved. Although death by firing squad would have been sweet release at times yesterday.

The day started well with a football game organised for 11:30am kick off in Sha Tin. I planned a 5 MTR train route there and back starting at Causeway Bay and ending up at Che Kung Temple. Takes about 40 minutes and with my Creative X-fi damaging my ear drums all the way it’s quite pleasant really. We ended up winning 3-0 with my good self grabbing the 3rd goal. Lovely.

I had to then head to Soho with ever smellifying football attire in my back pack along with my ball which makes a ball shaped indent in my spinal chord the longer I carry it. Up the escalators to the liquor store there that stocks a local whiskey from my home town then down. Very busy today I thought as I dodged, weaved, side stepped and shuck my head muttering slanderous observations about my fellow sidewalk occupiers. I didn’t realise what was to come.

Of course this is all getting to me and I decide on the overhead tram to head back to C-Bay. I had had enough of the MTR stations and it’s numerous escalators. And people.

The tram ride was nice. I like it as it’s slow and doesn’t feel like hell. You look outside down on the people and that looks like hell. I suppose I better mention that humidity has returned to Honkers. 80-95% humidity yesterday and yes, it did effect me in sweaterous ways.

I had to go to Times Square. ATM and buying things in City Super. The artery from Sogo to Times Square was the busiest I had seen it. Interesting I thought, surely not for Valentines, I thought. I thought wrong. The numerous jewellers were overflowing with people. These same jewellery stores that never see another customer for the rest of the year and the staff look like the most bored people on the planet were actually doing trade! Ok, there’s something going on in this city. I feared the worst.
One upside of the Times Square experience is the least used HSBC ATM in the city. I think 95% of the time I use it there is never a queue. I don’t think people know about it. So I’m not saying where it is.

Down to City Super and the crap hit the proverbial. Five deep at the meat counter. The lineup for checkout lined pretty much around the perimeter of the store. I was pushed. I was stopped. I was angered. I was hit on the ankle by a trolley. I dumped my basket of goodies and got out of there. Happy in the thought my basket would get in the way of everyone and probably stay there all day.

A mental note developed and one which I will follow from now on: Don’t leave the house on St. Valentine’s Day in Honkers.
I don’t even know why it’s such a big deal here?! I could look in to the socioeconomic variables here but anyway, I realise I don’t care.

We went out later, had a few drinks and yada, yada, yada I was locked out of the apartment at 2am while the occupant was in a coma inside oblivious to all attempts at awakenings. Sleeping in the stairwell was attempted and rejected after a few minutes. Then I remembered all those 80s detective show and how they opened doors. It worked. I was amazed and truly grateful. Thank you Magnum P.I.

Now I worry how easy it is to rob us while we sleep….

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Strange (un)-edible gifts

Every time I leave my office desk recently I come back to little presents of local snack foods.

There is a reason for this I’m thinking. Overflow from Chinese New Year where families stuff their faces for 15 days. Inevitably there is going to be the snacks that nobody will eat so what to do, what to do…..

I know! Drop them on the gweilo’s desk, he will either try them for the exotic-ness of it all or throw them away and thus bringing him bad luck as no doubt throwing away CNY foodstuff probably brings 10 years of depression, woe and misery.

Behold exhibit number 1.

Excuse me, I just had to go hurl there for a few seconds. I feel that the duck in the picture is not an accurate representation of what the duck looked like when said gizzards were extracted.
He reminds me of a Duck Fonzie. “Eyyyyyyyyy”

Let’s see what’s next.

Waaahhhhh, poor little piggie!!
If ever a facial expression has got across a message it is this. ” Jeeeessssusss, what have you just done to me and what are you yet to do!!”

I have not yet attempted to eat any of these abominations. Maybe if any Honkers residents have eaten any of these before they can let me know what I’m in for.

More food related posts to come. Including a Japanese Curry restaurant and a, gulp, Vegetarian Hot Pot experience..

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Recently when we had time on our sides and freedom in our shoes we embarked on a couple of leisurely rambles into Central through Wan Chai and Admiralty. This slalom of an event takes about an hour weaving in between delivery cart boys, meandering idlers who walk three abreast on a footpath at a pace akin to sloths. No offense internet savvy sloths.
As you get closer to Central the “suits” appear and the skin colour gets gradually lighter. The charm and authenticity around Causeway Bay and Wan Chai gives way to steel, solid, silver skyscrapers. And I’m not too opposed to that, actually. I’ll take both worlds.


So as people may gather I love the IFC 2 building, I think it’s damn cool basically so I saw this opportunity to dust of my poor Nikon D70 with it’s 300m lens and get some good angles of the IFC and the surrounding buildings.
Up on the 42nd floor of The Bank of China Tower is a little known viewing window area. At least I think it’s little know as nobody was there. The windows could do with a cleaning but other than that it gave me a good vantage point for a few snaps.


Over on the other side on Kowloon they are building what will be the tallest building in Honkers, the International Commerce Centre. It’s been like that since we got here, I think the progress has slowed due to the “problems” around the world. It will have a viewing place for the public on the 100th floor which is more than can be said for the IFC2 who punch people in the face who dare to enter their building to have a look around.

I call this Symphony In Red In A Yellow Grid. Thing. No 2.

In the background over in Tsim Tsa Tsui you can see the ferries heading to places like Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan or further afield.

Just a quick saunter away from the madding crowd and gulps of carbon monoxide is Hong Kong Park which is a little oasis of green and water, fish and turtles to calm you down and make you forget about the lack of personal space you have in your life these days.

I don’t know. Well I didn’t until I found out on the internet. They are, believe it or not, competing for “basking space”. Which I can believe as there was not much stones for them to catch the rays. Hehe silly turtles.

Some nice colourful Koi Karp.

A quick look at a Lion Dance in the IFC mall

And we opted to get the often maligned overhead tram back to Causeway Bay. It’s cheap at around 2HKD, it may take longer but is relaxing, you don’t have to walk two miles underground for the MTR and you can photograph sausage dogs from the top deck.


I doubt the chicken is that happy whatever it says on that sign.

You can get bigger versions of these pictures on my Flickr page from clicking on the above pics. More pics are there and on my Facebook page.

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Macau Sojourn

So it was that on a peaceful Monday we headed off to the little enclave of Macau to experience it for the first time…

No wait, I can’t do this. I have to admit something and in my anal, obsessive holiday planning brain this is hard to get out in public…

I messed up…

It was on a crazy, stressful Monday night that I realised we should have left about 10 hours earlier on a boat to Macau and our trip to Macau should have started already. I got the dates mixed up. Hey, there’s a first time for everything! Although similarly related, I have lost/forgotten my passport on two occasions but this was before my jet setting ways had begone. I thought I was invincible.

So we made a short trip on the MTR  to the ferry terminal to catch the 10pm ferry to Macau to spend our first night in The Venetian resort. If you go to Macau you just have to stay there for the sheer craziness of it all. It’s huge, it’s a casino, an event arena, a theatre and a 3000 bedroom hotel. It’s got a small golf course on the 3rd floor and it goes without saying that on the 16th floor there is a replica of Venice; canals, gondoliers and all. I’m thinking it would be even more expensive to get a gondola ride there than the real Venezia.

Our room was bigger than our apartment and we wanted to stay. I put 100Hkd in to a slot machine and won 300HKD. I wanted to stay even more. But we had one night there and one night in another hotel on the main Macau peninsula (The Venetian is on another little island connected by roller-coaster  bridges)

So, some pics of The Venetian.

One small part of The Venetian. Deceivingly small looking, it goes far back beyond this wing.

A replica of St. Marks Tower and the numerous other casinos/hotels being built around the Cotai Strip in Macau. As seen from our room.

The lil golf course. Only putters were being used though sadly.

Our glorious room!

The fake Venice with fake clouds in a fake sky with fake canals and real shops. Quite confusing.

Good authentic voice on the gondolier though. I pity the passengers. How embarrassing.

Ok, onwards to the main peninsula the next day where we stayed at The Star Hotel. It was described as tacky by the Lonely Planet. It wasn’t. Maybe the few 7 foot tall ladies in short skirts welcoming you is tacky in one person’s eyes. We had to walk around downtown for a while until our room was ready with our bags on our backs so we were not in the mood to do any serious sight seeing. We did however notice that Macau still looks a “bit” European in “some” parts. It just looks like Vegas around the casinos especially when the lights go on and the sun goes down.We ended up all tired and hungry at a Lebanese restaurant ingeniously called Beirut where we had a lovely lunch of non local delicacies. Recommended. Back to the hotel happier.

Even more happier when the receptionist said we were upgraded to a suite! Yippee! And what a suite!

And the view was nothing to be sneezed at from the 33rd floor. Looking down at the Wynn, Royal Lisboa and the President Casinos. And also the Pearl Delta going all the way to the mainland. Which is not really a way aways at all.

Seemingly that tower is the 10th tallest free standing building in the world. So not that impressive really. One of our friends decided it would be fun to jump off it face first a few months ago. Thankfully she wasn’t a manic depressive and it was all in the spirit of extreme sports. I was gonna do it but I had to do a casino crawl.

The Wynn Casino has a nice choreographed fountain show going on outside it’s joint. Nice!

So what are the casinos like then, Colin? I’m glad you asked. I have a lot to say on the subject. They are huge but somehow retain all the smoke from the hundreds of gamblers expel from their wheezing mouths. They are full of Chinese mainlanders who come across daily in their thousands on free buses  run by the casinos from the nearby border crossing. There is not the air of frivolity and fun that you would expect; instead you get angry shouts and fists thumped loudly on the baccarat tables. They stare zombie like at the slots and there is a sense of machine like formality about it all. They are not in it for the fun. I could not help but wonder what business these people were in to over the border. If they had the money to come here and stay and quite probably lose a fortune I don’t think I want to know.
There are no cameras allowed in casinos, so no shots. Let’s jsut say I broke about even thanks to a 900Hkd win in our last casino of the night The MGM Grand which I think is the place to be. Massive, good selection of games and it has a smoke-free section. I don’t think I knew when that started and ended though; there seemed to be a constant haze.

The Vegas like sights of Royal Lisboa  and Casino Lisboa. No relation. Or probably there is.

The cleaner more modern looking MGM Grand. My fav.

We ended our night and our time in Macau in our hotel bar listening to a Philipino band demolish a few 80s numbers.
I don’t know what the below song is but Sharyn does and could not believe her American ears. You see one of the 7-foot tall “Welcomers” at the start! Camera work by Sharyn. Wine was had.

Good night Macau, you’re a strange looking city with an evil but child-like streak running through you but I like you. Not sure about the people who visit you though.

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