Friday, 2 May 2008


OMFG - the crowds! These guys just went crazy for the torch. It went down my road twice today... I've never seen anything like it. They were 30 deep at the sidewalk, climbing on top of phone boxes, up scaffolding - the lot!

Needless to say I missed it (through choice) as I was too busy meeting interesting people after a proper chinese breakfast of fried egg, ham and, erm, supernoodles...
Then it was off to the travel agency. If anyone is ever going to HK/China (yes I know they're official one and the same) I cannot recommend Phoenix Travel strongly enough. Took me a while to find it seeing as I was looking on Ashton Road instead of Ashton AVENUE, but I got there in the end and boy am I glad I did.
So, Monday morning I have to submit my visa application for a double entry visa to China. GBP85 lighter, I'm also booked on to a flight from HKG-BEJ-LHR (with a stop over in Beijing for a week) arriving on Friday 20 June - DAD, put it in your diary as this is the date I'll return to the UK. All up price just GBP286! That's cheaper than my flight out here and I'm getting two for that price! It is with China Air mind...
And so on to lunch with Tony Banham (in Pret-A-Manger, no doubt you'll be pleased to hear Geronimites!)who ever so kindly gave up an hour of his valuable time to point this hapless traveller in the right direction. Tony is a published author and all round expert on things 'war' in HK. I've now (thank God for proof-reading, that almost said not...)got a map of HK, with little green highlighted dots (Green = Go there) and I fear not enough time to visit all of them. Top of the list is the pillbox that was still firing at Grandad as he made good his escape up Dapeng Bay.
Then it was back to the travel agency - (I managed to coincide most of my travelling today with the two times that the torched passed anywhere near me and therefore had a mare each time!) - where I presented my grand plans on a slightly pixellated map (see pic below). By chance, and as luck would have it, said owner of Phoenix Travel, a very affable chap called Rocky (lucky too - looks 35, but I think he's the wrong side of 45!) who took great interest in my map and instantly berated me for not getting in touch sooner and emailing him with all the details so he could help me look places up and sort out an itinerary. He pulled his english/Chinese map of guangdong province off the wall and instantly set about reading grandad's diary, getting the girls in the office to look places up on online maps, had a colleague in a completely different office (but who lived in Guangdong proviance for 30 years!) with his atlas out looking up places, all the while reciting out loud the words that grandad had written and then reading out loud place names off the map to see if they sounded the same! Lady luck is definitely looking after Saggitarians in Hong Kong tonight as it also happened that his flatmate, one Peter Stuckey, also has an interest in history and researching places. Not only that, but Peter had been invited to a lecture tomorrow (which I'm also now attending) about the Japanese naval fleet, Vice Admiral Nagumo and his inability to find the Royal Navy fleet - how frustrating that must've been after his 'success' at Pearl Harbour! So, the Vice-President (did I mention that?) of the Royal Asiatic Society, his excellent flatmate Rocky and I enjoyed a good couple of hours pouring over maps and websites with me scrabbling to write down names of so many useful contacts that I hope to meet. A great day was finally topped off in a local Chinese restaurant where the three of us enjoyed the best Chinese food I've had so far - simply divine and at just GBP6 each, that can't be bad at all. A great end to a great day.
The only downer was that I was so engrossed talking/researching/planning with Rocky and Peter, that I completely forgot about the harbour boat tour I'd booked a ticket on to see the light show at 8o'clock... I'll see if I can swap it tomorrow.

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