Sunday, 4 May 2008

Mad as a bag of frogs

Breakfast at Big John's again today - this time, a sausage pattie with supernoodles and a proper cup of tea - lovely. Then it's on the blower again and I managed to get hold of Duncan Chan - Donald's brother and Chan Chak's son. We've arranged to meet on Monday lunchtime, so very looking forward to that. A couple of people now have told me they're both big drinkers so that afternoon should be fun - monday lunchtime drinking? Ouch! Still chasing Dan and we keep missing each other...

Went to a fantastic lecture at the Helena May club. It's a ladies club in HK, in a fantastic old colonial building, with the peak tram (which is SOOO steep it's scary) running up behind it. I was a sweating mess by the time I reached there and couldn't be bothered to take the tram just then, so I wandered through HK park and saw all the newlyweds having their picture taken - completely false and cheesey, but nice all the same. One bride was walking along with the maid holding up her train and she had the highest flat, black velvet, wedge sandal things on - must've made her about 4" taller - v.funny.

Back to the club and enjoyed a decent lecture on a Japanese Admiral and his exploits in the Indian and China seas before actually taking the peak tram this time. The view was rubbish. We were in the clouds, with mist in every direction, and the top of the sky scrapers peeping through and just visible. The residential buildings are so high, they take your breath away. Then Peter and I took the walk down the peak (you wouldn't want to walk up it) and saw some of the ruins of the Anti Aircraft (AA) batteries there. Huge guns in concrete bunkers that the Japs knew the positions of. I wouldn't have wanted to have been stuck up there with the boys, no water, sleep or food for days and the en. knowing exactly where you were and shooting at you with bigger, better guns. Back to Peter's for the most refreshing beer (thank-you Peter) and a peruse of some of his very interesting books. I saw the Waichow photo published in one (submitted by Chak's right hand man Henry) and of course Grandad. Then it was back to Kowloon and late to bed (midnight) again.

Sunday saw me hit snooze, then sleep and I finally rose at midday. Pissed off at myself for missing half of it, but then again, obviously needing the sleep, I wanted to visit the museum of coastal defence and the war cemetery today. Took the MTR (the underground) to the end of the line and began to walk up the hill. I nearly died! Blazing sun, humidity in the 90s and temp in the high 20's - it's like perma-sauna! Got there and it was locked - NOOOO! I tried to pick the lock, but to no avail, so wrote down the phone number and trekked back down the hill (past the fattest Chinaman I've ever seen, who was still asleep on his stool) to the station to phone the number - "the war museum is the next one up!" said the man who also gave me the code to the locked one. Sod walking that again, so I jumped in a cab. Met a Canadian guy who was up there trying to find where his great grandad was buried, but to no avail - he was in the book though. I find war graves so humbling. Hundreds of similar headstones, so many nationalities (British, Canadian, Dutch, Indian, Kiwi's, Aussies and of course Chinese), and a plethora of different cap badges. I didn't see anyone with an MTB crest (guess they'd all be under RN) but did see one guy from HMS Cicala - grandad's last boat before he was moved onto the MTBs that he saw getting bombed out the water. "By the time I'd finished, it was too late for the museum, so hit Lonely Planet's pick for dinner in the area - a 2nd floor food hall above a market. Awesome stuff.

Firstly the market - I saw the woman buying fresh fish - alive until about two seconds before the owner koshed them to death with a saint (Steve, you're the only reader that will probably understand that!?). I can imagine what he was saying now
"What this one love?"
"Yes please" - WHACK!
" There you go - uh oh" WHACK!
"That should do it - you wouldn't want it jumping out the pan now would you?"
"Whoops" - WHACK!
"Can I get you anything else?"
"Some frogs please"
Yes that's right - half a dozen frogs in a bag. Cage full of hundreds of them, bag full of six. I started to back off and shield the white shirt I was wearing from splatter, but no, it was the chop for them. I never knew a frog could still 'ribbit' without a head, but I do know where the saying 'mad as a bag of frogs' comes from. Well, you would be wouldn't you?

Very busy day tomorrow - VISA, Dr Dan and Duncan.

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