Monday, August 29, 2005

from the Jordan Times...

Sami Habbas holds up a letter he recently received in the mail from JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Corona, California, offering him a credit card. The stunned Palestinian-American opened the letter to find a salutation that said: `Dear Palestinian Bomber'. Habbas, 54, a naturalised American citizen, was born in the West Bank, but moved to the US when he was 3 years old. Chase Card Services, the Delaware-based credit card line of JPMorgan Chase & Co., was investigating the solicitation (AP photo)


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Spanish Inquisition...

this holiday at home has been incredibly stressful...more so than any other...maybe it is because I have not had any real time to has all been family stuff and a lot of it seemingly pointless...or maybe it is that my Mother has been putting the Spanish Inqisition to shame with her questioning techniques...I am not a particularly private person but when people start interrogating me with "What did you do, who did you see, what did you buy" I suddenly clam up and resent any sort of question. As I remarked to a friend of mine in Shanghai the other Mother makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a benign information bureau.

so it made me laugh when I clicked over to MLQ3 for a Philippine update and saw his reference to the Monty Python sketch...'No one expects the Spanish Inquisition except he had linked it with the "Energy Police" that are to make surprise visits to government offices to check that they are conserving energy. Come to think of it, maybe they would like to make a flying visit to HKG to Immigration Tower and the like, just to learn how NOT to conserve energy...I like my rooms cold...but even I have to wear a jumper when I go to Immigration or Revenue Tower!!


Wedding Festivities....

This afternoon my brother had his wedding run through at the village church....and afterwards to the parental house for afternoon tea....thirteen people made up Spaniard, one Dutchman, three Russians, one Pakistani and four Englishmen and three Scots - this will be a fairly multicultural wedding...particularly for this very Anglo-Saxon area of the British Isles!

My parents have been worrying about the Pakistani-Russian / Muslim-Russian- Orthodox "issues" that my brother's wedding is raising for them...unfortunately for my brother he feels that my parents disapprove of him not marrying 'a nice English girl', given how lovely his future wife is and given how cosmopolitan her family I wish they would not make their feelings quite so this time tomorrow it will all be over and I will have a 'sister-in-law'! It does seem a bit of a tall order from my parents to bring both of us up overseas, filling us with knowledge of different cultures and countries and then expect us to settle down with someone from Sussex!!!

Anyway, the weather looks set fair...although knowing Britain anything could happen! So tomorrow should be a great wedding!


Friday, August 26, 2005

Things not to do if you are scared of heights #2

Lesson 2

Take a walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk...second picture down on the right....

I didn't look for this new way to terrify found me in today's edition of The Times

And, Nude King...thanks for the advice....but there is no way in hell I would ever have the nerve to do that....I went climbing in Petra once...reached the "High Place" (name was a bit of a give away!!) and had to hit the deck...could not even stand up!!!! Having said that I am fine flying...big planes and little planes....


two things....

Reading the Guardian yesterday I discover that the Catholic Church has a new poster boy...and I would agree, other than his religious fundamentalism...the guy is quite cute....he even has his own entry in Wikipedia.....with a picture...not as good as the one in the Guardian, but gives the general idea!

The Times newspaper today mentions a new concept for keeping cool during the Summer...Evian has designed a "water-filled bikini that, once refrigerated, will keep your prized possessions nice and cool"....unfortunately, cannot find a link...if anyone does, let me know and I will add it!

thanks to Solbi-wan Kenobi for the link to a picture of the Evian Bikini....didn't think of looking in The Sun...silly me!!!!!


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things not to do if you are scared of heights...

Lesson 1...

The London Eye

Given that I am terrified of heights this was probably not the best idea….however in the eternal hunt for some good photographic material I’ll try anything once…..I was actually ok with the trip for about the first 5 minutes and then two things happened….the first was the damn thing stopped….for 15 minutes…during which time I lost my nerve completely and ended up sitting on the bench in the middle staring at my knees! The second thing that happened was that during the 15 stationary minutes….I started to wonder what happened to the cabin when we went ‘over the top’ of the wheel….for some reason I got it into my head that the cabin would swing violently into another position….more panic!!! Anyway…it did eventually get moving and no, it doesn’t swing! Although the views were beautiful and it was fantastic to see London from 'on high'...I’ve done it now and there really is no need to do it again!!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Always keep the curtains closed...

For years when visiting my parents I have always insisted on having the bedroom curtains closed most of the time and also the bathroom curtains whenever I am using the bathroom...possibly due to such a long period of time in HKG where everyone can see into the next building...

Now, my parent's house stands in 14 acres of land with not a house in sight...completely and utterly nobody reasonably could look in the for years they have teased me unmercifully about my 'modesty'...

This morning, my mother went off to work and left me to get ready for my 'day out' with my Grandfather in usual bedroom curtains are closed...go into the bathroom to have a shower and close the curtains...finish the shower...go over to the handbasin to put in my contact lenses, still not dressed, I am leaning over the sink there is a lound bang on the window next to me....thinking a bird had flown into the window I pulled back the curtain to have a look...and the window cleaner!! I'm sure he has seen it all before...but possibly not at such close quarters!!!

As I said to my mother..."You could have bloody warned me"....

N.B. Will put in pictures of sheer isolation of house later on...


Parental influence....

What is about our parents that even as adults we are reduced to our childhood characters....defensive, arguementative, secretive and giggly...

Even at the age of 36 when ever I am back in my parents sphere of influence I revert to my 16 year old self...couple of examples...

My Mother is constantly trying to find out if there is anyone 'significant' in my life...her questioning is devious and goes round the mulberry bush more times than you can mention...the Spanish Inquisition would have found her a very capable addition...however, I am on to her and the more she asks...the more I childish is that?

My brother and his bride to be came down to the parental residence over the weekend...after they left on Sunday my parents and I went out for a 'run in the car' (as my mother so quaintly calls them!)..I had mentally tuned out of their conversation in the front seat until this...

Father:"Those were nice jugs that A (brother) bought with him"
Mother:"Yes, very nice, just the right size and a lovely shape"
Father:"If you like them I shall ask him where he got them so you can have some too"
Mother:"That's a great idea...they would be a nice addition" *

By this point I am sitting in the back seat sniggering away like some 12 year old schoolgirl...Grown up must be joking!

When I was a child there used to be a house in Hastings that was painted the vilest pink imaginable and to be bloody minded I maintained that I really liked it even though everyone else in the family found it disgusting (and rightly so, I might add!) and here I am at 36, doing the same thing again...they dislike a painting...I think it is the best thing ever, they describe some music as awful I decide I will put it on my iPod and play it continuously - loudly!

Do I sound obnoxious...damn straight I do! And to be honest...I don't think I am normally like is just a result of being in the 'parental sphere of influence' for more than 24 hours.

* After clarifying the 'jug thing' with my brother he had apparently brought with him a couple of his wedding gifts!


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Fishy Friends..

Britain has Prince Charles and his plants....Hong Kong has Tsang and his fishy glad to see that the old ties are still in place...

From the SCMP (registration required)

"Mr Tsang has described his pet koi as "my good friends" and was distressed when two died in May after eating tadpoles. In the run-up to the chief executive election, he was regularly photographed feeding his fish first thing in the morning."


"Feeding fish is part of his personal image, just like the famous bow tie. Anyway, we can't buy a fake Picasso painting and hang it on the wall. It's a matter of Hong Kong's image and it's worth doing," Mr Wong said."

Only in Hong Kong could we have a leader whose personal image amounts to feeding fish, wearing a bow tie and gardening.....


Saturday, August 20, 2005

the Scotch Beef Man....

I am sure that amongst all the Scottish men they could have found someone who deserved to wear that t-shirt more than this guy....and if they couldn't they just needed to ask me and I could have pointed them in the right direction....


VE/VJ Day Commemeration

So uckfield to do the 'weekend shop' (how English!) when we went to park we found that the local village playing field had been set up as a war commemeration day....

In Hong Kong the commemeration of the wars ending is usually with a ceremony and a wreath Britain they lay the wreaths, they attend the church services and they watch the TV documentaries...but to make it really real and remind people of the bravery, heroism and the horrors of war...the people that fought in the war come and tell their stories, showing what they fought with and (hard as it may seem on a sunny summer's day on a playing field) the conditions in which they lived and fought.

Watching the elderly ladies and gentlemen tell the children about the war was watching history lessons being brought to life.


A quick news round up...

Sad news for the British political scene...Mo Mowlam dies at the incredibly young age of 55...just reading through what she achieved and how she achieved it just proves that Blair achieved so much in Northern Ireland because of her.

In Jordan it seems as if Al-Qaeda have managed to get some form of operations underway.

The Chinese don't like sandwiches!!!

and just how safe is flying these days?


A day in London

A quick trip to the National Portrait Gallery to see a fantastic exhibition, ……….. The World’s most Photographed…..incredible pictures of Hitler. Then quickly nipped round to the National Gallery to have a look at the Turners and few of my other favourites…unfortunately Stubbs’ Whistlejacket was hung in another exhibition but I did find another picture that kept me still for a good 20 minutes….I am not a religious person at all and so it was not the religious aspect of this painting that gripped me…it was the incredible blue of the cloth and the way that the shadows fall across her face.

The Virgin in Prayer

Lunch with the blue-eyed boy, in London on a flying visit from Hong Kong…it made me think about the life that I seems the older I get and the longer I live outside of the UK the more likely it is to meet friends in any city or any country…often one in which neither of us live….it’s wonderful and yet quite unsettling...I wandered around London afterwards feeling a little disjointed!

Not so wonderful has been my brush with food in the UK. I have long been a supporter of the food culture/scene in the UK and have defended the chefs, restaurants, ingredients and final product in some fairly heated arguments – usually with either French, Australian or Kiwi Chefs…..and I believed I was right,….however, this visit has rather dented my support….food has not been great, service has been appalling (no real surprise there) …it worries me that tourists come to the UK and are subjected to such awful food….not too sure what has happened as previous visits have always produced some great meals.

Two cases to show my point…both including scones (that British staple…if we can’t get it right…then who will)….the first in Tunbridge Wells (or Royal Tunbridge Wells if you are being pedantic). Early morning coffee in the Pantiles…scones served…as the plate was put down the waitress said “Don’t worry about the brown colour, we didn’t use brown flour…it’s just they mixed it wrong with the fruit”….charming! So we tasted them….taste was average, consistency was like a damp sponge and to make matters worse they had been microwaved so the spongey consistency had been made worse and then they dried out to a crisp. To add insult to injury they were served with butter…no cream and no jam! In all fairness, judging by the state of the slice of chocolate cake that my mother demanded to see before she ordered it…the scones were probably the best bet!!

Second ‘scone’ test….at the café at Dickens & Jones on Regent Street…scones arrived…again microwaved…this time…one was the consistency of something that could be used to shore up Tower Bridge if it were ever necessary….and the other could have been used to wash dishes with…another sponge…however, on the plus side they were served with clotted cream and jam….you may think that choosing a department store café as a place to critique scones is not fair…however, this café is under the patronage of none other than Albert Roux….now I worked with AR quite a few years back and unless he has dramatically dropped his standards I can’t imagine that he would be happy with what is being served in his name! When we originally ordered we wanted the tea set with the finger sandwiches…apparently the finger sandwiches were ‘off’!!!!Anyway….the research will continue.

I would like to point out that my comments on the food being terrible are not only based on two sittings of scones but on various other lunch and dinner experiences.

Two of the things that I love about London….the buses…nothing beats sitting up on the top deck of a London bus driving past Buck House, Houses of Parliament, down Whitehall, along the Thames…giving Tony a quick wave at Downing Street…it really is the only way to see London….Second thing…London Cabbies…they all have an opinion on everything…great example yesterday….in a cab, listening to the news.,..after every headline was read out the cabbie made some comment and launched into his ‘soapbox’ spiel….just brilliant!!

London is very quiet at the moment….granted it is one of the quieter months as everyone is on holiday….but there seem to be so few tourists….speaking to those in the travel trade…there are less tourists, less arrivals and less British tourists….it seems the events of 7th July are going to be felt for a while. I caught the Tube yesterday…..3 people in my carriage….never in all my life have I seen the tube that quiet.

So I am at present wending my way back to Sussex, using what I would consider is a vastly improved train service…nice new (and clean) trains, comfortable chairs, on board tea and coffee and most importantly trains that seem to leave and arrive on time!!

A few pictures….

Interesting things you can buy in Tunbridge Wells....

The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells

Looking over to Canary Wharf

And finally....this picture of a building plaque in the City, sums up London's incredible history....


Friday, August 19, 2005

Pub history....

Spent yesterday evening in two rather historic pubs down on the Thames....

The first, The Captain Kidd. The pub is housed in a 17th Century building and has been a pub for about a century the building it was originally a warehouse used by tradesmen making boats, repairing sails and working on the river. The Captain Kidd took its name from a pirate that was hung at the site in 1701. Captain William Kidd, however, was not someone who was going to go quietly, at the first attempt to hang him the rope broke, he died at the second attempt and was left tied to the scaffolding until the traditional three tides had washed over him. His body was then taken down and taken to Tilbury Point where his body was 'preserved' and hung in chains as a warning to other pirates.

Dinner was pleasant and sitting watching the tide flow out of the Thames was all summer evenings in London should be.

Second pub visited...The Prospect of Whitby. As you can see from this picture the pub has been around for a 'while'..or at least since the time of Henry VIII!

The Prospect is allegedly the oldest riverside pub in London (built c. 1520, originally called the Devil's Tavern) and has had a fairly distinguished guest list including Pepys, Turner, Whistler and Dickens - obviously not in that order!

One of the other 'regulars' was 'Hanging' Judge Jeffreys, which is why the pub has a noose hanging out the front over the river...


Hong Kong....

Just a little update on my time in HKG….having only been away for a month I wasn’t expecting any changes so only a few things caught my eye…the first was the central reclamation work….I see that the new Star Ferry Pier has started to raise its head…

And I also notice that we have a new ‘icon’ on our road signs…Mickey is making an impression (apologies for the post running through the picture!).

It was wonderful to see friends and catch up on all the news…after not having been out drinking the whole time I have been in Manila I think I over did it. Proof of overdoing it probably in the post after my night out and a couple of e-mails I sent out as well! Anyway it was a good night and sitting at Al’s diner whilst the rain bucketed down was great.

The hangover kicked in about lunch time on Tuesday….soon sorted out with glasses of fizz at the Ritz-Carlton!

And managed to get in a quick visit to the cats……Chiang Kai-shek spent the time hiding….Chairman Mao seems to have become quite the camera flirt since I last saw him….

Leaving HKG was interesting… the permanent residents queue at immigration was a group of Pakistani’s trying to get through immigration….obviously HKG residents but without ID cards….or if they had them they still had to produce their passports….it took about half an hour to get about 10 people through immigration….not too sure what was going on there……however, once through immigration the same group put their bags though the security scanner and then the action started…..all their bags were pulled out and emptied….the security staff pulled out….a gun (am assuming it was a toy gun)…but it looked pretty realistic, three Chinese kitchen choppers and three sets of nail clippers….anyway judging by the way the group was led away by security I don’t know if they caught their flight.

So after all this excitement I proceeded to dinner… reported in the news CX are flying their passengers on half rations…but they are dishing out $75 meal vouchers so you can ‘eat before you fly’….I decided to eat at Café Deco. So I settled down with dinner and the newspaper and then one of their guests decided he wasn’t happy about something….still not too sure what it was about, but he was very loud, very aggressive and physical with some of the staff….and this little temper tantrum went on for about twenty minutes, the manager was disturbed by all this and called the police….anyway – the guest eventually calmed down and left….about 10 minutes after he left…the police and airport security turned up…..not exactly the speediest response I have ever seen.

So all in all a rather interesting departure.

I love traveling and have no problem with flying except that I can never sleep on a plane…so I always sit in the aisle seat so I can walk around and not get too bored….anyway the couple sitting next to me decided to use the bathroom facilities every time I had sat down again and had settled into watching some TV…most irritating…so I made my irritation known…and then the guy said that his wife wasn’t feeling well which is why she kept having to go to the bathroom….so I explained that the reason she probably wasn’t feeling well was the number of G&T’s she had knocked back since take off…..I stopped counting after about 10….(she was drinking her husband’s as well!!)

Landing at LHR in the early morning on a beautiful day is quite spectacular…unfortunately could not get any pictures of the landing….but got one before the approach began…

And one on the ground….

After my parents picked me up..…they wanted to go to a local garden centre to get some more rose bushes…..the centre didn’t open until 9am so we passed the time at a local country house hotel….sat in the garden and enjoyed a cup of tea, the sunshine and the view….


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Not after alcohol!

I must admit that the post previous to this not one I remember wasn't until I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and she mentioned the post...and I knew nothing about it!!! I had been out in LKF, yes I had had one (maybe two) too many....and then come back and posted...not a good plan! that I reread it...I guess not too much damage has been done!

Am now back in Blighty, the weather is glorious and I need some sleep....the biggest problem for me when travelling is that I cannot sleep on always arrive absolutely shattered!


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's been an odd day....

The plan today was a quick 'once over' of HKG and a quick foray up to Shenzhen and then drinks in LKF..

All went according to plan....however, the later part of the evening, spent with a good professional colleague, of mine, was a little too revealing!!!

I have struggled over the last month in all honesty Manila is not the ideal location for a single, Western female to be posted to...particularly one still trying to piece together the remains of a broken heart....

However, as one of my professional 'mentors' said this work for six days and have one day off...the work part is obviously more important...and from to be honest, on the work side I cannot complain....

It's tough...I want to reach the top level of my profession....but at what cost.....?


Monday, August 15, 2005

Back on home turf....

What a wonderful feeling to wake up back in Hong Kong!!

Although I was struck last night by just how hot and humid HK is compared to Manila...before I went to Manila everyone told me how the humidity is so bad there....take it from's much worse here....the other difference is that in HKG the airconditioning is arctic, in Manila it is gently cooling!!

Leaving Manila, I was reminded of just how terrible their airport is and what a bad impression it must leave on the average tourist who has had a wonderful holiday enjoying the beaches, sights and hospitality that the Philippines has to offer....and then they have to sit in that awful airport....made particularly worse by the fact that there is a brand new terminal just sitting and waiting to have some life breathed into think of the extra revenue that could be generated with some half way decent shops and restaurants.

I managed to avoid the whole check in fiasco by checking in online (thanks CX)...makes life that much more bearable when all you have to do is dump your bag and go through passport control.

The final approach into HK is one that will stay with me for a while...why did I not have my camera...? I was sitting on the right of the aircraft and so looking up to Sheung Shui, Fanling etc...the low flying patchy cloud over an incredibly clear night made for some of the most amazing views of the New Territories, it has to have been one of the best landings since I last came into Kai Tak...

So, into Central a quick bit of retail therapy in Causeway Bay....

And today...'at leisure' I believe is travel speak for what I will do...a little ambling around, a little socialising and dinner at the's good to be back!!!


Sunday, August 14, 2005

On this day....

In 1961


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Kipling, Iraq and Bakewell Tarts.....

After a long and rather heated discussion with a colleague about the author of the line "at the end of the fight a tombstone white....."....we agreed to search the internet to get the money was on Kipling although I also knew that there was an American co-author whose name I couldn't remember (for the very interested the co-author's name was Wolcott Balestier)...and I won...well I have the advantage in that Kipling is one of my favourite writers.

Not much to report on the discussion...the interesting part came when I searched the line on the internet and saw that there were about fifteen articles about the war in Iraq that made use of this quotation.....

The quote in full....

"Now, it is not good for the Christian's health to
hustle the Aryan brown,

For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles,
and he weareth the Christian down;

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
with the name of the late deceased,

And the epitaph drear: 'A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

An amusing story about Kipling (the Brits amongst you are the only ones that will really understand this story straight away!)...

When my brother was about 9 years old, his boarding school organised a visit to Batemans which was Kipling's house.....the week before the visit he wrote a letter to my parents saying that he was going to visit a cake factory.....the next week's letter came from a very disappointed little boy who had been forced to walk through the very boring house and book collection of one Rudyard Kipling....and not a cake in sight!!!! Given that my brother loathes reading...the torture of Bateman's must have have been terrible!


Chicken Ripple Ice cream....

Little known fact...I am a big Neil Diamond fan...I guess I should get some form of therapy for that...but I have been ever since I can as I sit in my office and listen to Neil on my iPod...I wonder what he was thinking as he wrote these lyrics....

Porcupine Pie, Porcupine Pie, Porcupine Pie
Vanilla Soup, a double scoop please
No, maybe I won't, maybe I won't, maybe I will
The tutti fruit with fruity blue cheese
Ah, but Porcupine Pie, Porcupine Pie, Porcupine Pie
Don't let it get on your jeans
And though it sounds a little strange
Well, you gotta eat it with gloves
Or your hands will turn green
Ah, but porcupine pie, porcupine pie, porcupine pie,
It weaves its way through my dreams,
And I do believe I'm gonna have one and
Leave enough room for dessert, chicken ripple ice cream.

I really do need a holiday...!!!


Think I'll stick with my original plans....

As I prepare to go off on my travels I am just catching up on a few English papers...from The Guardian, a list of 'different' holidays from which to choose. I cannot stress the word 'different' enough...

The seal hunting would definitely be out for me, actually, if I am honest, not one of the suggested holidays appeal thing that does bother me is the closing line about the course which will teach you to read your pet's mind (pet can be dead or alive!).....

"There will be a disco in the evening, so participants are advised to wear comfortable shoes."

What's all that about....??!!


Ok boys....listen up........

Last night over dinner with an equal number of male and female guests we started to discuss the merits of men having facials....the conversation came about after one of my male colleagues had 'admitted' he had a facial a week or so ago...much to his wife's surprise...

In conclusion out of the 6 guests...results were as follows..two of the women were fine with it, one had some reservations and the three guys thought it was absolutely fine...along the lines of 'What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander' (Just in reverse!!)

Anyway, this morning whilst clicking through The Telegraph I see that the age of the "metrosexual" is coming to an end...

Metrosexual is out; übersexual is in. Just when man got used to the idea that it was good to coat himself in moisturiser and ask girls personal questions without being considered a bit limp-wristed, he's going to have to start all over again.

"Compared with the metrosexual, the übersexual is more into relationships than self. He's not sensual and not at all self-conscious. He dresses for himself more than others (choosing a consistent personal style over fashion fads).

"Like the metrosexual, the übersexual enjoys shopping, but his approach is more focused; he shops for particular items that enhance his collection rather than shopping as entertainment (he has better things to do than hang out at the mall). His best friends are male; he doesn't consider the women in his life his 'buddies'."

So...are you all boys clear on that?

The conversation at dinner last night...then moved to being dominated by the three women present (as always)...the guys just sat back and listened...the subject matter dropped a few levels and became fairly 'basic' (to put it politely) of the guys then said..'do women always talk about sex like this' which I replied...'usually it is much baser'...the men all looked a little more alarmed and then retreated back into silence..

Just your average dinner party, with average people and yet using that small insight I think we can safely say that the male/female stereotypes have definitely been 'tweaked'.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Interesting....unless you're a father...!

Apparently it is possible that out of every 25 fathers one father could be raising a child that is not his own.


Family duties….

Am finding it hard to concentrate (yet again) as I prepare for a return to home turf followed by a further journey to parental turf.

I find going back to parental turf very enjoyable but also very stressful…..the enjoyment comes from being able to spend time with my parents and my brother and which ever friends are ‘in the area’….also the ability to take a few days and roam London, which I love.

The stress comes from the fact that I want to spend time with my parents but also want to balance that with my own time….however, my parents see me only once a year and therefore expect (and rightly so, as my brother informed me last night) the majority of my time to be spent with them….I guess it’s all part of the trade off…I get to live overseas and dictate as when I return to the UK….just so long as they get most of my time there….

I suggested that next year I meet them somewhere…….somewhere like here as I have a friend working here who I will definitely be going to visit at some stage next year…meeting the family somewhere other than UK means that I don’t necessarily have to go back to the UK but can use my annual leave for some traveling as well……we shall see….



Shopping in the Philippines is how I imagine shopping in Lilliput would be like….the majority of products are available in ‘mini’….anything can be bought in mini packages or sachets…this is particularly true for things like shampoo, lotion, toothpaste etc etc…it’s quite good for someone like me who likes to try all these things out…below is a picture of a mini deodorant next to the normal size one…and a small shampoo bottle…to give you some idea…the mini deodorant is about 4cm high

The ‘little’ things translates to food as well….’solo’ size pizzas are the perfect size….picture below next to a pen (apology for the lack of focus!)…..the box is about 11cm square…

I realize that this is more a reflection of the state of the economy than the opportunity to give people the ability to fill their bathroom with hundreds of little samples….however, it is quite entertaining.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Well she's and sound...a day late and to a different 'airport'....but still back!


Monday, August 08, 2005

Just sometimes...there is good news...

As a news junkie it is very easy to get caught up in all the terrible news that this world produces...and the few pieces of good news often get hidden and forgotten about...but the last week has produced some almost miraculous news....

The Air France crash where all passengers and crew survived, the air crash off Italy where the 26 out of 39 passengers and crew survived..and the Russian sub...all crew safe and sound...

Now we just need this big bird to come home safe and sound....


Sunday, August 07, 2005

New to me....

I feel cheated...Nude King on the Blog has been posting since November 2004 but this is the first time I have read his blog, at least it will give me something to do whilst in the sunny city of Manila.

The post on his trip to Sunny Bay is just so 'Hong Kong'!

found via fumier.


A blank canvas....

Robin Banks, the graffiti artist (aka Banksy) has made it to the West Bank. I think that the pictures on the wall are quite incredible (even if not strictly true) and make a fairly strong statement about a structure, which in reality, is no better than the Berlin Wall.

For those of you who have not followed this Brit's artistic is a quick summary...

In May of this year he managed to get a 'cave drawing' into the British Museum, not just any cave drawing...this one depicted "early man venturing towards the out-of-town hunting grounds".

In March of this year he made it to the art galleries of New York

In August '04 he showed Britain what he thought of the British justice system.
In October '03 he managed to get one of his 'paintings' into the Tate

July 2003 saw animals being painted to tie in with some of his other art work

The Queen's Jubilee year (2002) saw Banksy throwing a 'Street Party' with HM as a chimp.

And if you need something other than BBC coverage....then this is his own website, which has some newspaper clippings about his work.


'Tis the wedding season....

en masse.....






Saturday, August 06, 2005

China's flowering.....

Saturday morning is 'blog catch up' time.....and one post in particular made me smile.....this one from Dave who is standing in at Simon's World.....

China has so many other issues with which to concern itself, but obviously the lack of a state flower is far more important than any other....


Friday, August 05, 2005

What a difference a day makes....

Just to prove how easy I am to make happy.....two things today have dramatically improved my mood....the first is that by switching some days off I can get an extra day and a half back in Hong Kong on my way back to the UK.....and the second that a very special person is trying to work out if they can get time off work to come to my brother's wedding with me....that's all it takes....just the thought!!!

This time next week...I will have 24 hours before I will be back in Hong good is that...!!!!


Temper tantrums and introspection

Yesterday was not a good day both professionally and or t'other I can handle...but both together is quite hard....

some of my slightly less pleasant character traits shone through temper, impatience, a serious lack of trust and just to cap it off a tendency to seriously over-react....most would say my reactions were justified...however, I would have been happier if I had handled both situations in a slightly calmer fashion...

added to getting a glimpse of what my working life (proper) will be like here...not quite what I am used to.....I know I shouldn't judge by past experiences...but when the past experience was that's hard not to compare.

unfortunately it is now too late to change anything....


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

How sweet of her to think of me....

Have just received a very charming e-mail from one Mary Udodo who hails from Swaziland....

She was offering me a fascinating proposition in which she would give me 30% of US$15 million that she has squirreled away in her 'late' husband's bank account (he was sadly assasinated). All I have to do is to contact her through this e-mail ( and start supplying her with my private banking details...

how kind of her to spend 'four months' looking for me and she assures me that 'I m not one of thoes people that work from internet to internet this proposal is specialy for you.'

However kind and generous the offer is, I think this time I will give it a miss....


and in the "real world" of Hong Kong....

Having a quick shufti at The Standard this morning lead me to this article about the popularity ratings of the CE being at 69%.....

The honeymoon could be over for chief executive as his satisfaction rating slides It could be Hong Kong's angry horseracing fans, disgruntled car dealers or people's disgust at the government's slow response to the pig disease now causing havoc in Sichuan Province. Or it could just be the lack of media exposure.

When other world leader's popularity ratings drop it is attributed to the war in Iraq, health care, education, social services and other 'vaguely' important issues....but in Hong is attributed to other far more important factors.....such as 'angry horseracing fans'.....

only in Hong Kong!!


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

one amongst millions....

According to Technorati, a new blog is created every second


And so it came to pass....

The Past, The Present and The Future (possibly)

King Fahd has died and King Abdullah is in charge, now in name as well as actions.

You don't need me to tell you that the Middle East is an incredibly complex region. What a lot of people don't realise is that regions of the Middle East are as different as chalk and cheese...The Levant countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria are totally different in culture, environment, race and nominally religion to the Gulf States of the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait...right in the middle is Saudi Arabia...possibly serving as the Arab axis, definitely serving as a fount of oil for the world and as a bridge between the Gulf and the Levant.

Saudi is a difficult country to rule...balancing the wants of the fundamentalists, staying true to the holy land of Mecca, weeding out the terrorists that seem to inhabit this secretive Kingdom and trying to bring Saudi into the 21st century world that the West presently accepts as the norm.

Given his age (82), King Abdullah is already being seen as more of a caretaker ruler, however from all accounts he has been ruling Saudi for at least the last 10 years in all but name. He is a reformer, however cautious, and has been seen to be trying to stem the flood of terrorism that seems to be washing through his Kingdom.

I hope he succeeds.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Tell me why I don't like Mondays

According to today's SCMP(subscription required)....

Men and women differ in both their motives for murder and their choice of victim, but both are more likely to carry out their crimes on a Monday in late spring or summer...

Saturday to Monday accounted for about 55 per cent of the incidents, while Monday alone saw about 22 per cent of all cases...

"And usually, someone will be in a relatively bad mood on Monday when they have to work after a weekend dispute, and it becomes the time tragedy happens,"...