Saturday, March 31, 2007

Light's out....Spot the Difference....

So where Hong Kong failed...., Sydney looks as if it might get it right...

Hong Kong

Some restaurants and bars resorted to candle-light, but office towers, tourist venues and sports stadiums remained bathed in neon.

"It wasn't what we were hoping for," said organiser Alastair Robins

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang had refused to back the black-out, saying it would damage Hong Kong's image as an international tourism and business centre.


At 1930 (0930 BST) lights will go out in tower blocks, on the iconic Opera House, and in tens of thousands of suburban homes in an orchestrated plan.

The so-called Earth Hour is supported by the New South Wales government, environmental groups and businesses

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I think this could be the one...

Finally...after over a year and a half I think I may just be able to go back to the UK to see my family....those of you that have been reading for a while will have been aware of my attempts to get far in the last 15 months I have had my leave cancelled due to a suicide (not mine!), major upheavals at work and a resignation (again, not mine!) my flight is confirmed, my leave form is signed...

I am due to fly out on Saturday 7th April....a week in the UK, followed by three days in HKG, followed by a trip with the Island Boy and the City Boy up to the rice terraces...finally!

Now my leave has been cancelled before on less than a week's notice so am not getting unduly excited! Plus I haven't dared tell my parents or my Grand-father, I think yet another disappointment would not be good....we shall see! My brother received the news with a rather heavy dose of sarcasm...

I spoke to my brother last night and we have decided that the element of surprise is I wont tell my parents at all...and the plan is this...

1. On Thursday, on his return from a business trip to Geneve, my brother will let drop into conversation that the airline lost his suitcase on his return trip.
2. On Saturday, my brother and his wife will drive down to the family home in Sussex, en route he will call my mother and say that the airline have called and his suitcase is at Heathrow but he needs to collect it personally because it is so badly damaged (he will have to call to start the story as my brother has the family trait of being a terrible liar face to face - but he can just scrape by on the phone!).
3. He'll leave his wife at my parents house and drive up to Heathrow to collect me (aka the badly damaged suitcase!)
4. When we get to my parents house, no doubt all will be I can just sneak up to my bedroom and get some kip.
5. Next morning I can just wander down wanting to know if there's any chance of getting a cup of tea...!

Let's see if the plan works...!!! Nothing like a bit of a surprise for everyone!

And in other holiday news....I received an SMS the other day from my mother telling me that my Grand-father and his girlfriend had gone to Nevis for two the time I did wonder what they would be doing up a mountain in Scotland for two weeks at this time of year...but it's my Grand-father and he likes his walking...anyway, after talking to my brother yesterday evening I discover that he is in all reality, sunning himself in the's tough at the top!!!

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Sometimes...just sometimes....

George W. Bush says something amusing....

...'the president spoke of plans for his post-White House memoir - he said that former President Bill Clinton had written a 10,000 page-long tome.

"I'm thinking of something really fun and creative for mine," he said. "You know, maybe a pop-up book." '



Monday, March 26, 2007

To the hills....

Sunday morning breakfast in Tagaytay with the City Boy...lovely weather...beautiful view! We left home at 6:30am and the traffic was still pretty bad...didn't make Tagaytay until about 8am!

After breakfast we drove down to Sonya's Garden (a B&B) to have look. The cottages are lovely...and the bedrooms very twee; definitely worth a stay at some time in the future.

and then all too quickly back to reality in the shape of Manila!!

Oh yes, and Saturday evening at the Philippine Plaza for Ziggy Marley's concert...



Thursday, March 22, 2007

All Change.....

So we have the nursing exodus from the Philippines, predominantly to the US...but also to the UK. (This is a link to a Newsnight interview on the subject) My father was recently in hospital and he said that almost the entire nursing team were Filipinas...

Now, however, we have the nursing exodus from the UK, British nurses wanting to go to Australia to escape the NHS.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rumours of my demise...etc etc etc....

Iraq is now into it's fifth year since the invasion....and it's not looking good. But, they do have 'Good Morning Iraq' and it seems, a TV Chef...

Do polar bears even like Elvis Presley songs??!!!!

Donald Tsang takes 'shoe shining' to a level previously unseen by mankind....

TIME: You worked a long time with the British, and now with the Chinese. What's the difference?
TSANG: We are a lot freer now. The only thing the central government has a keen interest in is our constitutional development. Every other thing, our economic policy, our social policy, is run from here. Before 1997, London would clear those things. Every morning I would spend three quarters of an hour reading telegrams from London, and do another two hours of [related] work. I never do that now.

TIME: So Beijing is not micromanaging your government?
TSANG: Not micromanaging. Not [even] managing. There are things they are interested in. Foreign affairs, but I don't care about that. That is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative here. As for national defense, we have got the People's Liberation Army here. They are much more well-behaved and disciplined than their British counterparts before. Previously, every week, there would be brawls.

And's all wrong!!!

The Philippines has supplied most of the world with domestic helpers, medical staff, catering staff, people willing to work where noone else will...and forecasters!

I wish I could cook four meals!!! I can manage beans on toast...and a mean scrambled eggs from the microwave (the Island Boy was well impressed!)..and that, dear readers is the sum total of my culinary skills!



Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Philippines has the answer....

Reading Shakey's post about HKIA's new hand baggage restrictions... I realised that the Philippines has the answer to all the world's hand baggage security issues...

(toothpaste 9ml, moisturiser 60ml, deodorant 8g)

The items photographed above were just what I could find in my desk assured every basic brand and product comes in mini size...moisturisers, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving gel...its all there with all the different ranges...and all very easily available!!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It just doesn't stop...!!!

As I think I mentioned a week or so ago...I am really busy at work and as a consequence am not really reading the paper, absorbing the news or really coming up with much blogging material....anyway, here are a few odds and sods...

The ballet on Saturday evening was wonderful....I just thought it such a shame that the theatre was so like this should be better marketed and promoted and really should be much better attended. I only really had two quibbles...the first was that the music was 'canned'; a live orchestra would really have added to the event, the second was that I spent a fair amount of the evening concerned we were going to lose a couple of the dancers - particularly the male dancers during 'Carmen', the floor seemed overly slippery! City Boy had organised box seats for is actually quite nice sitting higher than the stage, particularly during the large group dances.

As the Island Boy was in town, the three of us decided to go and look at Serendra, the new development over at the Fort. We had dinner at Hossein's which, although nice, really is not authentic Arabic or for that matter Indian food...dessert was at Cupcakes by amazed me that people would queue for cupcakes...and then I realised...the queue inside is only because the girls inside are so took about 20 minutes to get three cupcakes and two teas and a coffee. The cupcakes are excellent (if quite expensive - the total bill was about P500)but the tea and coffee left a fair amount to be desired - luke warm water, a tea bag and powdered milk does not a good cup of tea make!!

The rest of the weekend was spent pottering about town...the Island Boy seems to find that Cebu does not offer everything to satisfy his sartorial requirements...the predominant issue seems to be a lack of Zara outlets...and if his hair was anything to go by...a barber!!!!! He arrived looking like Elvis during the latter part of his career (hair only!), give him a white rhinestone jumpsuit and he could have done a passable impersonation! Fortunately he was returned to Cebu looking more normal!

I managed to catch the tail end of a BBC world documentary about OFWs, part of their 'Migration around the world' series what I saw seemed very good, the one comment that rang very true but is very unfortunate was that the 'present overseas workers are funding the overseas workers of the future' other words a self perpetuating problem.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

This weekend...

Saturday night's cultural entertainment will be with Ballet Philippines.



The end of an era...

I was very sad to see the news today that Lord Forte had passed away.

One of my first forays into the hospitality business was with Forte...or THF (Trusthouse Forte - a rather old history of the company is found here) as it was then known (now I'm showing my age!!!)

Lord Forte was a hotelier of the old-fashioned variety and the hotels he originally purchased showed that. Unfortunately the company grew out of control and was represented at too many different levels of the industry which confused the public...Little Chef road side cafes to the George V in Paris...was just too great a variety for his corporate organisation.

They really don't make hoteliers in the same mold anymore!

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