ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category

2009 - a year gone by … part one

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Welcome back dear friends, it has been many a month since I wrote anything on here, infact almost a whole year has passed us by.

So what has prompted this return to all things blog? Well, a few reasons actually.

  1. Last year was mad, I actually did so many things and it would be silly to forget all about them. Admittedly, the memories have already started to fade a bit (getting older, lol) – but it would be nice to keep a run down.
  2. Increasingly I am finding myself sitting around bored, a writing hobby will be good for me – I intend to try and do one entry a week (or bi-weekly at the least)
  3. And possibly the most important reason of all – to try and reclaim my English ability. My language skills (of my own language…) have gone to crap. When the only people you really communicate with are using pigeon English, you start to use it too – and do this for 3 years and you’re in a whole world of trouble. So hopefully by starting to write again, I’ll become more articulate once more :)

Where to start then, well, seeing as the year just began, it might be good to start of with my resolutions – of course, there is no guarantee that I will achieve any of them, but it’s nice to make a list…

News Years Resolutions for 2010

  1. Fly on 50 planes this year. Actually, I might as well bump this up to 52, bringing me to an average of 1 a week. That sounds like a lot (well I guess it is) – but I did manage 38 last year, which is only 14 shy … just need to add in 1 extra a month.
  2. Take up one of either : Learning the guitar or Learning a Marshal Art.
  3. Properly study one of my languages. Easiest one to do would be Japanese, however Chinese is on my list of possibilities – possibly even Thai seeing as I will be living there.


It may be Asia, but it certainly doesn’t cost it!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

It’s funny really, a year or so ago when I first went to Hong Kong, I believed it to be a fantastic place with super low prices. Indeed, I was considering moving here - tech heaven as it were.

Last December I returned, again, I also thought it was a good place, though the prices seemed a little higher this time.

And now let’s roll into now … after living in Taiwan for almost a year, a return to the Tech Island and what do we think?


It’s funny really how everything is put into perspective. Living in Japan made me believe that prices in Asia were almost on-par with the UK (albiet a little cheaper), technology certainly wasn’t cheap there - which was why coming to Hong Kong was also a refreshing change.

But alas, Taiwan has really blown that magic out of the water. No longer is HK the place to come to buy cheap electrical items, hell, I can get them cheaper at the electronics store next to my house (AND it’s a chain store!!).

Going out for food too … yikes! Walking around last night, I wanted to go back to the Indian I found so favourable last christmas. I remembered the location well enough, up the big hill - and indeed there it was. What I hadn’t remembered so well however was the sky high pricing - 3 pounds 50 for a curry and chips, plus 70p for a can of sprite .. WTF?!?

Maybe I’m just being spoilt living in Taiwan (ha, never thought I’d say that!) - but what I do know is, coming back home is going to be a reality check and a half (just how much is a London bus these days anyway, I’m sure it’s not going to beat the 22p of Taipei!)

Actually, just to end this on a happy note - I’m delighted to inform you all that the game centers haven’t increased in price - thus I’m still able to go and play all the latest games for a mere 6p a shot …. bliss!

(That reminds me, it’s still 16 HKD to the pound - impressive seeing as everywhere else in Asia the pound has crashed - the poor pound vs TWD rate dropped from 67 to a miserable 60!! Although that in itself is a bit of good news, it was 58 at one point!!!)

Goodbye fair maiden!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

So today was my last “proper” full day in HK and I had decided to use it to try and find Tom’s camera as well as look for Aunties DVD player.

I’d been given a list of model numbers, so I spent a couple of hours wandering around the TST area popping in and out of the electronic shops with my shopping list. It wasn’t as simple as just window shopping you see, as the places in HK don’t have prices - you need to go in and ask about each individual item … pah!

After getting a few prices (the models were somewhat old) I made my way to the Macau restaurant from the other day to settle down for lunch. This time, I picked a rather tasty beef looking dish which seemed to have sausage too - it was a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay, but hey, what the hell! :)

When it arrived however, it was obvious why it had cost so much - it wasn’t your standard beef rice dish, rather a whole massive plate of just beef - combined with a whole massive plate of rice as a side dish. Absolutely delicious and far, far too big for just myself to eat. I only wish I could have taken a photo of it, but as I was sharing a table with a Hong Kong couple, I didn’t want to look like a complete tourist!

Dinner finished, it only made common sense to head back to the Game Center - I mean, if I’m going to be in Hong Kong, I should make the most of their culture, right?

After an enjoyable few hours in arcade heaven, it had come to get dark which meant I was now greeted with the most wonderful of sights - Hong Kong Harbour at night time, COMPLETE, with christmas decorations. Now you may be thinking, well so what, why are you so excited about some decorations?

Let me tell you - I have never seen decorations quite like these. As you may remember from previous posts, I put up some photos of the skyscrapers that could be seen across the bay, even then I commented on how great they looked. Well, come night time, they undergo an amazing transformation - they are covered from top to bottom in christmas lights! Yes - you read that correctly, whole skyscrapers are lit up, like, well excuse the pun, a christmas tree! I’ll try and attach a video for you to see (my rubbish camera couldn’t take any photos of them) - but be warned, it is 33 megabytes!

Hong Kong Harbour Christmas Lights at Night

There was also a nice little “Christmas Parade” type affair that led you into the shopping mall (cunning) - I know it’s only a little walkway, but believe me, with the decorations I’ve seen over the last few years - this was totally fantastic :)

Hong Kong Christmas

To round of my last proper night in Hong Kong, I then went for what any self respecting Englishman would - a curry , but with a twist - swapping out the plain old rice - I managed to get stuck into a rather nice Chicken Tikka Masala and Chips … I had a few looks I can tell you, but, to hell with them - it tasted fantastic :)

That all done, it was back to the hotel to get my packing all done (not difficult seeing as I only had 3 days worth of clothes!) and wait up until 12:50am when I could “check in” to my plane. I must admit, I was quite excited about this, as I’d never used an online checkin before - so made sure I had the internet loaded up and was ready on the dot of 12:50.

I guess it’s old news to a load of you now, but for me … wow! For people who haven’t had the experience of this before, let me explain and you shall be amazed (well, maybe not, but I certainly was). 24 hours before your flight is due to take off, the seat plane becomes available online, so you can actually choose your exact seat, just by pointing a clicking with your mouse! No more trying to get there hours early to claim a decent seat :)

I was lucky to be the first person to log in, thus I had run of the whole plane! Unfortunately the seating plan wasn’t really detailed, so it was hard to work out where the emergency exits were - but I’d reckoned I’d cracked it and thus my seat was booked and I could go to bed :)

The next morning, I amazed myself by actually waking up when I planed to - 10:15 to be precise (I know, how early is that?!?!) - quickly got ready - and was all packed up ready to check out by 10:40 … pants - meaning I could have had an extra hour in bed :)

Checking out was a simple affair, they gave me back my deposit with no fuss and allowed me to put my luggage in the back room, meaning I was “suitcase” free for the day and thus wasn’t going to be tied down to sitting in a coffee shop just waiting for a plane.

Indeed, this was a good thing - as now I was free to go and find dad’s friend Jamie, who ran a load of clubs in Lan Kwai Fong - and who I had missed meeting up with last time I was there. However, once again, it just wasn’t to be - on arriving at his restaurant, I was to find out that unfortunately he was on his winter holiday and wouldn’t be back until the day AFTER I left!! Doh!

That put a bit of a spanner in the works as far as the afternoon went (as I hadn’t really planned much else) - but then I suddenly remembered about the mountain skyrail system and that it was one of THE things you should do when you go to Hong Kong.

It wasn’t tricky to get to (just a long long way) so soon I was sat on a train, heading right out of the city and into the countryside (litterally - the city itself is quite small). The weather was pretty good too, so it was great to see the scenary - starting with the outskirts of the town and the massive residential tower blocks, before they melted away and green pastures and mountains were all you could see :)

On arrival at the skyrail station, I was trying to find which exit to use when I noticed a big sign with a photo of the cablecar on it …. heading over for further information, I was then dismayed to find out that the whole system was closed for repairs … apparently one of the cars had fallen off over the mountain a few months before… :eek:

So, when one finds themself in any situation like this, with no plans about what to do - what should be done? Why - go back to the game center of course ;) Thus once again, I spent a happy afternoon playing videogames at hardly any cost .. hurrah!

I couldn’t stay all night though, as I had already planned to meet Moffy and her friends at 7:30 for dinner - meeting first at Exit A of TST station. In true form, I left it all to the last minute, to then find out exit A was miles down the other end of the station (in fact there were TWO exit As - A1 and A2) - ensuring that I arrived 10 minutes or so late…. doh!

Moffy then introduced me to her friends Rainbow and Yuki and we went off to dinner to a “mixed food” place just up the road. Rather amusingly, the menu was all in Chinese (well, maybe obviously) - but no one quite had enough vocabulary to be able to translate! Thus a range of random things were ordered (with everyone telling me “but they are very good!”) - luckily, all was well and it was a very nice meal .. well done girls!

So here you go, my Hong Kong pals :) Moffy is the girl next to me and Rainbow is on the left of Yuki … “hello!”

Me and MoffyRainbow and Yuki

The meal over, all that was left to do was go and collect my suitcase from the hotel then say a fond farewell to my new friends before hopping on the train to the airport, go to the online checkin counter, be given my boarding card … then hopping on the plane which would lead me back home ……

England awaits me!

I have a mistress - her initials are H.K.

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Wow - what a night last time, unbelieveable amount of fun and new exeriences gained :)

The day started off normally enough, I got out of the hotel quite late and headed back to Shuim Shai Po (sp) to the Golden Computer Arcade to have a look for Tom’s camcorder and any other nick nacks that might be around.

Didn’t really have any success, though did get to see loads of new gadgets - thing is though, I can’t really buy anything as I have no where to put it, really just keep all my purchasing to a minimum. That’s one of the bad things about travelling I guess - I would love to buy a fancy projector and new PC - but really it would be pointless.

I was still feeling a bit rough from the night before too and by the time it got to 6ish I was dying for curry. I remember seeing an Indian place near my hotel, so I set off back there (I was meeting one of the guys from the hostel at 8 - so didn’t have too much time). An hour later though, I still hadn’t found the place, so had to settle on Spaghetti House and a creamy mushroom bake type thing. Pricing wasn’t too bad, but nothing special…..

Got back to the hotel at around 7:45 and got online to try and find an event for the evening - which turned out not to be too hard, as almost straight away, an event at “Tribeca” came up, billed as “Dance Event with Open Bar” - sorted :thumb:

Waited around until 10 for the guy to come back, however he didn’t return, so decided to just leave anyway a “go it alone”. After checking where the place was, I was slightly amused to find out it was in the same area as yesterday’s “prostitute pickup” - Wan Chai - so made a mental note to be more careful of who I spoke to when out this time … haha

Within 20 minutes from leaving the hotel, I’d taken the MTR, made a short walk - and was now standing outside the venue … result … all that was left to do was pay my 220HK$ (14 quid) entrance fee and walk in ….. to a completely empty club …. doh! I wasn’t worried as such, as I knew it would get busier later, it just meant it was going to be harder to meet people (you can’t really go up to people in an empty club and say “hello” - that’s just weird - you need to bump into them at the bar or something).

An hour or so (and a few drinks) later - I was still sitting in my little corner, when a large group of (and not meant rudely, but can’t think of a better word) what looked like gang members walked in, complete in baseball hats, baggy clothes, gold chains etc etc … the kind of people you would probably cross over the street from if you saw them out walking. They all sat on my left, except for one guy who sat down on my right - and that proceeded to start up conversation with me! He turned out to be a really cool guy, introducing me to all the other friends he was there with (around 13-15 of them) who, when you spoke to them, also turned out to be really down to earth …. never judge a book and all that…

Fantastic, just the break I had needed - instant friends :) Haha … even better, when I told them I lived in Japan - I was suddenly seen in an even different light, as, they all admitted it was their dream to sleep with a Japanese girl - I was like a God …. haha (though I don’t know what they are complaining about, HK girls are HOT…)

The night was going pretty well after this - until after about 50 minutes when suddenly the music stopped, all the lights went on and a mass of police all burst in! We were then all told to line up against the wall and stay silent… though it did get quieter, we could still murmer to each other - at least enough so I could ask what was going on.

Aparently this happens a lot, but no one knows why. They say it’s just the HK Police flexing their muscles because they are bored and have nothing else to do. Indeed, it didn’t seem like they did much. After about 45 minutes, they did start coming around and IDing everyone, but to my knowledge, no one was searched or anything, we just all showed ID (well I showed my Japanese card - they told me next time to bring my passport) and that was that - with the music coming back on shortly after they left (however, the openbar, which was due to close at 2am - DIDN’T get extended :( )

We soon got back into the swing of things, meeting up with even more people, including a girl called “Moffy” which must be the coolest girls name EVER, and a guy called Larry, who deserves his own paragraph….

So Larry (who I had got chatting with whilst in the police lineup) was telling me how he doesn’t really come to Hong Kong clubs very much and prefers Chinese ones. “Oh?” I said - and he began to explain…..

“For 50HK$ you can get the boat over to mainland China, it takes about one hour. Once you get there, for around 150-300HK$ (Like 20 quid) you can choose any woman you like and have her until the evening - after which you pay your 50$ for the boat back and be home by 10 ….. I’m going tomorrow, you want to come?”


Yup, it seems the sex trade is still alive and kicking in China - apparently due to all the poor country workers who need to make money somehow. You also get a complete custom selection - “Any age you want - 16 y/o no problem. Fat, thin. Large chest, small chest. You can decide! Worried about disease, pay extra 100$ and you can have a virgin…. oh and discount if you want more than one. Or if you want girlfriend, 500$ for a whole week - she’ll stay with you the whole time - do anything you want.” - all I could say was “Wow…. err….”, before he chimed in with “If you try and you’re not happy, I’LL PAY FOR YOU” - I declined his kind offer (though made a note of his email, should I ever return in different circumstances … lol)

(True to his word, when I woke up this morning I had a text asking if I was sure I didn’t want to go …)

Anyway, back to the club … the police intrusion hadn’t done anything to really dishearten anyone and the rest of the night was spent happily dancing around and getting drunk with my new friends - ending rather too early I thought at 4:30.

So all that was left was the journey home, nothing special here then …. not quite …. ;)

The station wasn’t open yet so I had to go and find a taxi. I knew the best place to get them was from outside the bar from yesterday (yikes) - so off I set…. ah, should have followed my own advice really….

On walking down a side alley to get to the main street I was approached by an older woman (maybe 40 or so) who started to ask me if I wanted a massage. I’ve got quite good at avoiding these people, so wasn’t too worried - however she was a bit more persistant and came right up to me and tried to kiss me asking me again if I wanted anything. I said no again (although admittedly not in the most sharp of tones) and tried to walk around her - at which point she (rather friendly, no malice intended I’m sure) then took ahold of and started to fondle my meat’n'two veg, asking me “are you *really* sure?”.


I did what any self respecting man would do, and ran off down the alley - with her shouting after me “where are you going?? you don’t want good time??” - not with you love, when I could have 5 young Chinese for the same price … :D

I love Hong Kong.

Hiring some Hong Kong hookers…

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

No, you don’t read the title incorrectly - last night will definitely go down in my life history as one to remember, but more on that later…

I actually managed to wake up at a repectable time (or at least, for me) and was dressed and out the apartment by about 3pm. I had no real plans, rather I thought I’d just walk around a bit and see what was about.

First stop, the harbour - and wow, what a harbour. Although the sunlight was dazzling, it was still easy to make out the vast expanse of water with the skyscrapers opposite, complete with large container ships drifting by every so often - I truely was amazed - indeed a great start to the day :)

Here - have a looksie - sorry the photo is a bit squiffy, but I couldn’t see the screen due to the bright daylight, so had to just point and hope ….

Hong Kong Harbour

The harbour front area itself has quite a few attractions too - there’s a museum, a theatre, numerous sellers peddling their wares, an observation deck (where you can look out over the sea) and this rather attractive area - although marred slightly by the dirty great “Prudential” advert which flashes in the background.

Hong Kong Harbour - Clock Tower

You follow the walkway around and eventually you hit the bus depot, although you do have the choice to take the “Star Ferry” which will whisk you over to Hong Kong island - however I wasn’t going to do this now as I had decided I’d go and try to find dad’s friend Jamie over in Mong Kok (up the road from the hotel).

However, a detour was to be made after I spotted a catchy sign for a game center nested between McDonalds and Starbucks - thus I duely went inside. Well… all I can say is WOW! Although the game center itself had nothing spectacular about it (all the games were the same as Japan, it was about the same size etc etc) the prices (or should I say, price) were amazing …. $1 … yes ONE HONG KONG DOLLAR - that’s 6.25p - PER GAME! And we’re talking all the latest games here! (Including, Mr Chris, Guitar Freaks Rock Edition - 6 pence! You could move here and become a GF Master in a week, all for the cost of a packet of crisps (well obviously not really, but you get my point)).

After an hour or so inside (and now at least œ1 worse off … lol) I made my way back up to the main street (Nathan Road) in search of some food, which was to be supplied by a Macau Restaurant in the form of scrambled eggs and a muffin, to the tune of £2. Not bad I guess, but a far cry from the prices of Taiwan.

It was then to the subway (or underground I should say - subway here means underpass, which gave me a few wasted trips when looking for the train - though I guess that’s normal British English …? I’ve been away too long, people are getting annoyed when I say “cellphone” instead of “mobile” …) to take the 30p train to Mong Kok.

Of course, as organised as I was, I had forgotten the street name, but I remembered from the time before that Jamie’s place was near the station, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find. Big mistake - 1 hour later I was still looking for the place, so had to admit defeat and find an internet cafe to look it up. Once online, it turned out I was in the wrong place completely - I was supposed to have gone to Hong Kong Central (ironically, where the ferry from earlier went to … DOH!) though there now wouldn’t be time (it was about 6pm) so I decided instead to find the clubs I wanted to go to later on.

I knew of 3 that were in the local area and were supposed to play the best music, anything from dnb to happy hardcore. Even better, they were all on Nathan Road - meaning if I were to walk back instead of taking the train, I should be able to find them all en route. Sadly though, it seemed Hong Kong wasn’t to be friendly to me today - as I got to the address of each one, I was horrified to find out they had closed down! (Checking later online confirmed this to be due to Triad drug problems earlier in the year - even worse, no equivilants had opened up in their place, thus the dance music scene was dead!)

Getting home and checking back online wasn’t turning out to be much use either - basically it seemed every club left running in Hong Kong just played RnB and/or Hip Hop … woopiedoo … it was therefore just a case of picking the best of the worst - which turned out to be a place called Club No. 9 - chosen as it was open bar for $120 (£7.50).

Arriving there, all became familiar - yes, this was where I should have come earlier to find Jamie - ah well - finding Club No 9 itself wasn’t too hard, just walk along Queens Road until you get to Ice Street then turn left, it’s then on the next corner. You then go to the top of the building and into the “club” - said in the loosest sense of the word, whilst large, most of the space is wasted in the centre by a massive stage, which seems to just cover a staircase? Drinks were free though, so I thought I should make the best of it, made increasingly more difficult by the terrible music that was playing - indeed I was just about ready to give up and go home, when I bumped into a similarly bored looking guy and his two female friends. They suggested I stay until 1am when the freeflow stopped and we all go to another club … hurrah!

One o’clock then arrived and, as said - we set off to find another venue (with a few high jinx on the way)

Si + Cher High Jinx

We headed back to the main bar area again and went into a place called, err, I forget its name actually …. hmm … anyway, it’s unimportant - with me nipping to the loo once inside. This turned out to be a fatal mistake on my part though, as when I returned, my new found friends were nowhere to be seen! Indeed after a good 10 minutes of searching and still not finding them, it was time to admit defeat and see what else was on offer.

A group of Englishmen outside the pub, who were busy playing football (at 3am) - suggested another area, about $15 in a taxi, which could be hailed from the top of the road - so off I set.

The road split into 3 seperate ways when I reached the summit, so I asked a group of passing girls which way to go. It turned out they were going there too, so how about we just shared the cab. An excellent suggestion, so off we set. We got there in about 5 minutes, and, as predicted, the cab did indeed cost $15 - which I ended up paying (a small price for the help provided).

One of the girls had to leave to go home, but the other two (Sarah and Rachel - both from the Philipenes) said they would show me around, how nice. First stop was a small bar just a short walk down the road - so in we went and drinks were ordered, followed by some more. After these were finished, the bill arrived, which it also seemed like I was paying … dar … it was £30 … :cry:

On exiting the bar, I asked where should we go next and it was then suggested that we all go back to my room! Not quite ready for that (lol) I politely refused and was then met with some looks of confusion, before they asked me what should we do first then. I told them, it wasnt’ a case of first, I really didn’t want to go back with them at all - at which point they then asked “so why are you hiring us?” …. the penny dropped …. rofl.

Yes, I had indeed been out drinking with some Philipena “Ladies of the night” - who were expecting me to take them back home for the night (at a not unreasonable £100 for both of them … indeed one of them was very, very cute .. however.. :) ) - and thus, it was at this point that we parted company (though they did offer me a further discount if I wanted to change my mind) - so I was once again along on the streets of Hong Kong.

It was also 4am now, so I decided to call it a night and hailed a nearby taxi - £4.20 later - I was back at my hotel (on me todd) and able to stumble into bed …. ahhh …. a good night, yes, a shame I lost the guys from the first place, however the story I have now picked up, more than made up for it.

I wonder what will happen tonight …..