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March 6th - March 28th 2014

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August 27th - September 13th 2012

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March 1st - March 22nd 2012

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November 1st - November 18th 2011

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September 3rd - September 17th 2011

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March 25th - April 11th 2011

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June 25th - July 17th 2010

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London again and Hong Kong
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South East Asia
December 3rd - 18th 2005

Hong Kong - Japan - Taiwan - March 2014 - Page 1

Day 1 - Thursday,6 March 2014

Qantas did not go on strike

Having previously been inconvenienced by a volcanic eruption in South America which somehow only grounded flights in Adelaide, and the CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce pulling a suprise shut down of every single flight, I was amazed that the entire airline didnt go into bankruptcy mode this morning.
Oh yeah, I was also inconvenienced when Ansett did the same many years ago, and I lost all the points I had with them.

None the less, Qantas could be about to shut down forever anyway, because no one will give them $3 billion for free and all the other airlines are owned by foreign ogligarchs keen to throw money at nothing.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I figure Qantas is about to be bought out by people from the proud nation of Crimea who need to quickly spend their money before the EU siezes it or Vladimir Putin declares it to be worthless. I look forward to my upcoming frequent flyer awards flight to Simferopol.

Its me, typing this, my eyebrows continue to get more awesome. Studies show that the more awesome the eyebrows, the smarter you are. Thats why women that pluck them and draw on some sort of half assed line are mentally challenged.

I didnt have much time to spare in Sydney airport, but I did find time to enjoy breakfast in the first class lounge. Todays choice is a quail egg omelette with imported ukranian gruyere and aged leeks.

Presumably this is my plane. Qantas admitted for the first time yesterday they wish they never bought A380's, instead they should have bought Boeing 777's. Perhaps I can pick one up cheap.
Maybe they will give them to Air New Zealand, who seem to make a profit and add new international routes all the time.

Double decker metal tube

My flight from Sydney to Hong Kong was about 9 hours and as mentioned, on board an Airbus A380. I have been on one before, they are much like being on a 747, once you are onboard you have no idea theres just as many people above or below you.
Todays flight according to the captain had only 220 people on it, so less than half full. What this meant for me is I had an entire block of 4 seats to myself, but no upgrade.
There was a mother with 3 children in front of me, the baby was well enough behaved, but a 3 year old boy ate all the crap food they kept offering and about 7 hours into the flight decided to bounce around on the seats like they were a trampoline.
Predictably, and I mean I sat there saying to myself hes about to die, he eventually bounced backwards off the end chair whos arm doesnt go up and flipped backwards into the aisle cracking his head on the ground.
He screamed for a while, but perhaps being already somewhat retarded it will make little or no difference. The best part was a Chinese woman came over and picked him up and gave the mother a piece of her mind, loudly.

I chose not to eat either of the meals, instead I watched among other things, The Wolf of Wall Street, which I stole and put on my ipad. The main reason is this is a 3 hour movie, perhaps overrated but it is long.

Arriving into Hong Kong was faster than ever before, within minutes of the wheels hitting the ground I had passed through customs, got my bag, bought a SIM card and bought the MTR train pass thing. The train was of course waiting for me as they seem to always be here.

Enough boring text, I am tired and unfunny. Tomorrow this blob will be edited, maybe.

Heres the above mentioned block of 4 seats. If I so wanted to I could raise the armrests and make a bed. I didnt.

Now to please my mother, who is the only person who reads this besides me I think, heres some hotel room photos.
I think this hotel is $100 AUD a night, it actually has a bedroom, and a lounge room, each with their own tv and desk, and a fairly workable kitchen.

The bathroom is small but the shower stripped a layer of skin off me. Its also on the 21st floor.

Final boring hotel photo.

I was hungry so had to go for a walk to find dinner, along the way I found a fountain with big buildings. It was a tiny bit rainy, it looked like fog and pollution when landing but maybe its just rain.
Its also only about 16C, cooler than forecast. None the less I get about in my shorts and t-shirt whilst everyone else has puffer jackets and gloves.

To repair the damage to my immune system and hip and knee cartilidge from being encased in a metal tube for so many hours, Pho was in order.
It was good, but not as good as what I would normally get in Adelaide, less herbs, not enough chilli, and the slices of beef were too big.
Also being a Pho snob I prefer hand cut rice noodles made in the shop, none of this packet crap. Pho Ba Ria 2 on Hanson road is still the best.

Winanda on 2014-03-10 said:
Your auntie Winanda also reads your blogs. You and your cousin Craig have a very similar way of looking at the world.

David on 2014-03-09 said:
Indeed Guru. I didnt want to make people sign up and login etc. as no one would bother. Instead I get people selling mobile phones spamming occasionally, and strange links promising to make me rich. So I have to check the comments before they get posted.

Guru on 2014-03-09 said:
oh... the more interesting part is post submitting the comment... ah..ah.. :)

your comment has been uploaded, however since most people upload death threats, requests for guns and opium, or questions about why I look like a retarded monkey, I have to approve them before you will see them.

I also reserve the right to change your comments to make you appear foolish.

Guru on 2014-03-09 said:
Looks East Asia become your favorite place..

bobule on 2014-03-07 said:
omelette you continue..

jenny on 2014-03-06 said:
so no wonder Qantas is going broke

David on 2014-03-06 said:
Krystle - its somewhat amazing to me that somebody other than my mother actually reads this.

krystle on 2014-03-06 said:
Your eyebrow comment is funny.

mother on 2014-03-06 said:
I see you are on your way.

Day 2 - Friday, 7 March 2014

Monkeys in the fog

Despite attempting to remain awake as long as possible last night, I still fell asleep before 10, waking briefly to turn the tv off which was showing Sharknado dubbed in Chinese.
This means that I woke up at 5AM local time, and that was a really unusual experience because I looked at the time and my brain assumed I was working in Western Australia. I genuinely looked around the room for my hi vis clothes, and it wasnt until I looked out the window that I remembered I wasnt in the desert but in Hong Kong on the 21st floor.
I swear I didnt take any drugs to sleep on the plane either.

It was still dark, nothing much happens here before lunch time, but trains are running and hiking opportunities are many.
It did however look like it might rain, so I decided to not go on my original planned hike which was long, possibly muddy, with a high possibility of getting lost.
Instead I went to the somewhat more civilized Lion Peak. Still a great hike in the fog, for those in Adelaide, its probably about double the length of Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty summit.

Once I got off the subway, I found myself at a very busy temple, so decided to wander in, its apparently good luck to pat the dragon. I can tell you that when I did locals rushed for their phones to take photos.

Unlike temples in other locations, photo taking seems to be perfectly acceptable here. There was also no entry fee.

I assumed thats where I was going, up the top of that hill, but its actually a bigger hill behind it that you cant see due to fog and mist.
The internet says something about mini bus to the start of the trail, I walked instead.

Still on the road at this point, and I came across this monkey. There were many signs warning not to feed the monkeys.
I also saw what I think was a wild boar on the trail. This was concerning as I think they have horns/tusks and can attack, I didnt see any other people up there.

The internet said that after walking up the road for an hour you will get to the trail start and theres a shop to buy water and snacks. They got it half right, maybe 2/3 right.
The trail starts here, the shops here, but the shop is closed. So I had no water, oh well, I could always drink the blood of a monkey or something.

I took this photo because I was worried as I got higher I would have no view at all as there would be fog.

The path was well built with steps, but poorly signposted. I thought I was heading in the right general direction but theres other paths going off all over the place.

Last chance for the view. It would be relatively easy to get up to this point at night, theres no gates or anything to stop you. On a clear night it would be a great photo.
Google images shows that it is, if you look for Lions Peak Hong Kong.

This is where I thought I must be lost, because I started to descend and was on the far side of the mountain.
Its also where I started to be convinced a pack of rabid monkeys was tracking me.

Eventually I found the very steep track to the rock formation summit.
These are some of the steepest stairs ever, it really was like climbing a ladder in places, it was this steep for a good 20 - 30 minutes.

Pffft, I can clearly see a path behind that sign.

Here I am at the top. What an awesome view of fog. Its quite weird being out on the ledge and there being nothing to see below.

The walk along the ridge probably has fantastic views on a clear day. Instead enjoy me again, and more signs saying you are about to plummet to your death.

Once back down again (which was treachorous due to damp rocks), I headed to Lok Wu or similar and found a Shanghai cuisine restaurant for thickened mixed fungus soup with shredded pork and preserved vegetables. Pretty good!

The island side

This evening I walked from one side of Hong Kong island (as opposed to Kowloon) to the other and did touristy stuff. That means this text will be quite boring.
My hotel is west of Central, which is where all the fat cat expats work and buy chanel and rolex's. At 6pm on a Friday night the streets were rolling in Bentleys and Rolls Royces, and guys with pointy shoes and white collared and cuffed shirts.
Most of these people live in enclaves on the far side of the island in more traditional looking houses that cost millions, far from the busy parts of Hong Kong, far from the subway, where the only real way to get there is by car which the riff raff cant afford.

A bit further along you go past Wan Chai with its nightclubs and then Causeway Bay which is a night time entertainment and shopping area, which had lots of new shops since I had last visited. The streets were full and closed off to traffic.

I did see an awesome breakdancer, what looked like a dog fight, except they were muzzled, an old lady who had a crowd captivated as she went into a trance and spoke in tongues, a bus group of mainlanders get heckled by locals and a fish leap out of a tank in a road side market and flop down a stormwater drain. I like to think he made it out to sea.

This is a building, I like it.

This is a wet market, where one might contract bird flu and or swine flu.

This is a junk market, where one might find themselves to have been pickpocketed.

These are double decker trams, which might occasionally tip over on downhill bends.

This is one of many busy shopping streets, where one might find Russians carrying massive amounts of brand name luxury goods.

I didnt take a photo of my dinner. Thats because it came from a road side stall, and was deep fried dough and delicious. I dont want to encourage consumption of such things so instead you get a photo of my fruit purchase, mmmmmm dragonfruit, its a superfood you know.

Emily Antonio on 2014-03-10 said:
That view of all the buildings from the mountain walk really gives you a feel for how inhabited the place is. So busy!

David on 2014-03-07 said:
Its a very popular hiking trail, so wild boars there may be, but I dont think they go around killing people often. I also read they are all over various mountains in Japan too. I was walking on the trail itself for about 3 hours with another hour either side to get to and from it on the road.

adriana on 2014-03-07 said:
maybe not a good area to climb if there are wild boars. How did you survive with no water? How many hours was the climb?

Day 3 - Saturday, 8 March 2014

Superfog

The fog, oh the fog. I have never seen such fog.
To celebrate I walked up the peak. No not the tram, thats for lazy western tourists, the walk is much more fun.
Despite the lack of visibility, or perhaps because of it, this was very exciting, once I was at the top and went for a coffee, I expereinced indoor fog, there was actually low visibility from the fog blowing in through the doors and windows.
It wasnt particularly cold, and it never really rained properly, I thought I was doing well passing people who were stopped and doubled over, until a young guy ran past me dragging a tyre!
After the walk up, I had to walk back down, which gave me burning calves of fire, which feels fantastic. Some people like a candle shoved up their ass and hot wax dripped on them (spoiler alert: see the wolf of wall street), others like to experience muscle soreness with every step.

Somewhat predictably, the fog cleared up when I was back nearer the ground, and so I went exploring in the area further west of my hotel. This took in a cake shop, an American style diner, a wet market, various shops selling dried caterpillars guarded by a store cat, and Phillipino remittance day crowds of indentured servants.

****special update**** It seems I inadvertently broke the website making a minor refinement to my pervasive tracking cookie code which provides me with all kinds of data on what you do online via this website which is nothing more than a front for the whole operation. Its fixed now. Sorry about that.

Commando knitting, a global phenommenonnemenomnemomnonm however you spell that.

These buildings always amaze me, they are built on the side of a steep hill, seemingly designed to slide down the water logged slope whenever it next rains heavily.
For that reason you will see 'slope registration' signs on every concrete fortified wall, and steps to go up and inspect them. Sounds kind of racist.

Looking back down towards the harbour from the mid levels or whatever they call it.

The walk up is very picturesque at times when its not just white out.

This used to be a road for cars, coming down in old cars would have been very treachorous.

For those of you who have been to the peak, you might recall the futuristic building at the top that has the lookout etc. This is it. Can you see it? Look hard.

Dragon tongue.

The top of the HSBC building dissappearing into the clouds.

Next level macarons. Now with various edible accoutrements on top.

Enjoy your view.

Looking for lunch I found what appeared to be an American style diner, except maybe Canadian. They made burritos, which are Mexican, but also Poutines which are some sort of terrifying French Canadian concoction of chips and cream and sauce.

I went with the pulled pork burrito, no sour cream. I appreciated its rather small size. It was delicious.
Crap photo, but you try taking a photo of something wrapped in metal foil on a metal tray on a metal counter.

Final picture for this morning, a street full of paper things to burn to honor the dead. Mini cars, money, iphones. I dont get it, spending $1 on a fake cardboard thing to honor me when I am dead is insulting. Burn your actual iphone, or throw yourself on the funeral pyre!

The Kowloon side

Last night was the island, tonight was Kowloon.
I have done all this before, so not too many photos, roads full of people and neon. Restaurants with huge lines of people everywhere that I have no hope of eating at.
One highlight, I saw some middle aged Indian or Pakistani or similarly ridiculously moustached men giggling like stupid children trying to push each other in front of a Lingerie poster in a store window and take a photo to embarass each other.
Then one of them tripped and fell on the road into the path of an oncoming truck, which just stopped in time. The guy leapt up and waved his finger furiously at his 'friends' and then turned and walked off on his own only to remember someone else had his bag and he then had to come back and snatch it. So that was pretty funny.

I then became very concious that I may be the only person in all of Hong Kong out and about wearing shorts. Despite seeing over 9 million people this evening, I was indeed the only one in shorts (not counting girls in shorts over black stockings). So there you go, I am still setting trends all over the world.

A couple of the shop cats mentioned in the previous update. Most of the time they sit in the shops on counters and lay in wait for grandmas to come and show them attention all day. Note how they are fat, relaxed, and not afraid of humans or dogs.

A view from Tsim Shah Tsui. I climbed up on top of a hotel and out an emergency exit to take this photo. A chef was out there smoking and drinking from a hip flask, so I knew he wasnt going to say shit about me being some place I shouldnt be.

You sure do get a lot of dinner for $5. I wanted Pepper Lunch beef and rice on a hot plate but the line was immense.

Random neon

The Mong Kok electronics street that gets closed off every night and fills up with people, buskers, and children paid about $1 to hold cardboard signs all night.

The buskers take it very seriously despite being terrible. This guy has a decent mic with pop filter, some sort of guitar that cost more than $10 and an assistant on a mixing console. He has no one watching him besides me, a security guard whos head you can see, and a little old lady in a wheelchair who is either dead or asleep thats been placed here to watch.

Next up in the busking wars, is the blind man on bongos who plays them like a cheap robot. I wonder if you are blind how you know how a robot moves? I suspect hes not really blind.

Finally, if you want to draw an actual crowd to your act, dont be a middle aged guy singing and strumming, dont be a fake blind man on bongos, be 3 x 12 year old girls miming a pop song in some kind of ridiculous outfit. This will ensure you get a huge crowd.

Final picture for the night is the vertigo inducing Langham Centre. Its a giant atrium about 20 floors to the bottom with clouds projected on the ceiling. The stair case I am standing on goes out to a landing suspended in mid air.
Whilst I was apprehensive, another guy basically got down on his hands and knees and crawled out to have a look.

yvonne on 2014-03-09 said:
We read it with curiosity! keep it up - Phil



David on 2014-03-08 said:
Not really.
The ground stayed mostly dry, but people with straight black hair are petrified at even the possibility of rain, so get around with an umbrella up.

jenny on 2014-03-08 said:
raining?

Page 2 is probably less foggy.

Contents

Latest Update

Day 1 - Thursday, 6 March 2014
  Qantas did not go on strike
  Double decker metal tube
Day 2 - Friday, 7 March 2014
  Monkeys in the fog
  The island side
Day 3 - Saturday, 8 March 2014
  Superfog
  The Kowloon side
Day 4 - Sunday, 9 March 2014
  A lot less fog
  Clown vomit cliche
Day 5 - Monday, 10 March 2014
  Not so cold
  Snowstorm
Day 6 - Tuesday, 11 March 2014
  Dont pet the monkeys
  Kyoto is small
Day 7 - Wednesday, 12 March 2014
  Deer overload
  Night temple
Day 8 - Thursday, 13 March 2014
  The unrelenting downpour
  No more rain
Day 9 - Friday, 14 March 2014
  The tiniest place on earth
  Freezing walk
Day 10 - Saturday, 15 March 2014
  Dont forget your torch
  Another 4 hours walking
Day 11 - Sunday, 16 March 2014
  More mountains, Kobe
  Shinsekai deep fried world
Day 12 - Monday, 17 March 2014
  6km becomes 20km
  Recovery night
Day 13 - Tuesday, 18 March 2014
  Multiple modes of transport
  Further orientation required
Day 14 - Wednesday, 19 March 2014
  Newer Taichung
  Tea
Day 15 - Thursday, 20 March 2014
  Still more mountains
  Rear of station
Day 16 - Friday, 21 March 2014
  I hate buses
  Superpowers
Day 17 - Saturday, 22 March 2014
  Trains are awesome
  Taipei is human friendly
Day 18 - Sunday, 23 March 2014
  Me vs the volcano
  Security
Day 19 - Monday, 24 March 2014
  Goose stepping
  Dog clothes
Day 20 - Tuesday, 25 March 2014
  By the seaside
  Protestations
Day 21 - Wednesday, 26 March 2014
  Its the final mountain
  The new new
Day 22 - Thursday, 27 March 2014
  Homeless person