Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Juntastic

Busy, busy, busy. After my first week in Hong Kong I thought I would be searching endlessly for things to do. This past week showed me that I’m certainly going to have to search, but not for things to do, rather, time to do it all in.

When I got off work on Tuesdays at around 6pm I headed straight to the west side of the island to play touch rugby with a bunch of my friends, who I met through the couch surfer, Warren. After two to three hours of endless running, I was completely wasted, and barely managed to make it back to my apartment.

Wednesday, after work, I met with my roommate from when I stayed at the HKBU dorms last fall. I was glad to hear he is doing well—he has an internship with a local magazine. Then, twenty minutes after dinner I was meeting with some other HKBU friends at the Happy Valley racetrack for so drinks and cheap entertainment. I actually ended up making money. Not from betting on horses, but managed to get so many free drink tickets that I began selling them. And still, later, I met some friends at Agaves (Mexican food) in Wan Chai before taking a quick taxi home.

Thursday after work I played table tennis with some new friends who I met on asiaxpat.com. Though I only got to play about forty minutes because the venue is quite far from my office, it’s worth it. I really enjoy playing. I’m trying to find a league out here (even though I would get crushed) but haven’t found one just yet.

My German friend Christian, who I also met at HKBU during the fall, arrived to spend the weekend at my place. He is currently doing an internship in Guangzhou (about 200 miles across the border) and needed to leave the country to revalidate his visa. We spent the night in LKF (bar district) hanging out with local friends and my rugby buddies.

Saturday was dedicated to table tennis. After watching some table tennis videos at ittf.com and youtube.com, Chris and I went to the municipal center, which is right next to my apartment. After two hours of play I finally started to get some rhythm back.

Take a look at this youtube video of some top players, Ma Lin from China and Timo Boll from Germany. The video is short, but the match goes all seven rounds and a couple match points in the 7th round. This is the best table tennis gets.



You can also see all the latest tournaments at:
http://www.ittf.com/_front_page/itTV.asp?category=ittv_New

Moving on! I saved the best for last. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Junto, but I’ll give you a short brief regardless. Junto is the name Benjamin Franklin and friends chose for their club, whose goal was, in short, self-improvement. Hundreds of years later, Junto clubs exist around the world, all varying in purpose and format according to the members they incorporate. Through friends I became a member of the Hong Kong chapter (probably one of many).

This Monday was my first meeting with these guys since I’ve been back in Hong Kong. The venue was at an exclusive Portuguese club in Central. Turns out one of the Junto members has Portuguese blood and is a member there. Not only were the service, food and drinks amazing, but also the view from the 26th floor was stunning. I was expecting the prices to be ridiculously high, but because it was a club, drinks were only about four US dollars (top shelf only) and food just a little bit more. It was a taste of luxury I’m not likely to see again for a long time.

Our conversation started on the rise of “grass eating men” in Japan (http://www.slate.com/id/2220535/pagenum/all/) and soon transgressed into a conversation about global economics—the rise of china, and the turbulent future in store for the US (check out my friend Shaun Nath’s blog at http://shaunnath.blog.com/2009/06/30/the-quiet-crises/ He makes a very good point on this exact topic). The conversation was very impressive. I’m really looking forward to the next meeting.

I could barely make it through work Tuesday. When I got home I crashed out on my bed, completely missing rugby. Luckily, I got plenty of sleep this morning. Today is a Holiday in Hong Kong celebrating the 1997 handover of Hong Kong back to the Chinese.

There is so much more to write about, but I’ll leave it at that for now. For all those back in the US, enjoy our Independence Day! Miss you guys! Miss my Euros/Canucks/Asians as well—Hong Kong isn’t the same without you guys!

Best!

Kevin

2 comments:

  1. i think you should clarify which canucks ;)

    how long are your work days? do you have to work on saturdays at all? what does your work day look like?! 40 hours/week? overtime?

    oh! and happy independence day to you :)

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  2. Technically you fit into both Canuck and Asian. I counted you twice Karen!!

    Because I'm an unpaid intern, they said I could just work 7 hour a days, from 9:30 to 5:30 (1 hr lunch break), which I try to take advantage of as much as possible. But a couple of days I have stayed 2+ hours finishing projects. And thank God I don't have to work Saturdays. The place I'm working at is a charity focused on Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). One of there initiatives is getting the work week down to 5 days a week. The average number of hours worked per week per person is close to 50 though.

    I did absolutely NOTHING for Independence day out here. I slept. Theo was staying with me for a couple days prior and the Friday before the 4th I walked him to the bus stop at 4am.

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