‘Endurance’ and the Saga – more Hong Kong

Day 2,542 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador). 

No matter how much you suffer…

pano

One week takes the next. I found myself waking up last Tuesday thinking that it was Sunday. The weekdays hardly have any meaning anymore. Does anyone else feel like that?

Last week’s entry: Keeping the engine running – 34 weeks in Hong Kong

So here’s an interesting observation I have made in my life! Or at least what is going on right now. I’m deeply absorbed by a book called “Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. It is the true account of an expedition to the South Pole which went bad. And the heroic and frankly unbelievable account of survival. The book actually deals a lot with the subjects of leadership and group community. The story is riveting! The book has been recommended to me several times over the years and most recently by my friend Nat (or perhaps her dog Mo) in Cyprus. So I discovered this thing called Amazon and ordered it. True story. That was my first Amazon purchase. I simply couldn’t find the book in Hong Kong and had to go online. I generally enjoy reading books but I normally end up getting distracted by nearly anything and as a result I can spend years reading a book. My interesting observation is that this particular book has become the distraction from nearly anything else. And that is a truly rare thing. I met up with Mark Agnew again who is the one that plans on becoming the first to row through the North West Passage. He invited me for dinner at Hong Kong Yacht Club and the book seemed a natural topic to bring up. It turns out to be his favorite book and he envied me that I was reading it for the first time.

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Hong Kong Central

Last Saturday I finally got around to film, edit and upload the latest Status Update for Once Upon A Saga which has now had 2,449 views across Instagram and YouTube. The last one was back on February 18th. For those of you who follow the Saga closely there isn’t going to be much news within it. And for those of you who are slightly out of touch it’s a good video to catch up on the situation. I regret that I forgot to mention within the video that I cannot cross the border to mainland China and also that the border to Macau has been closed since before we reached Hong Kong. Therefore, a vessel is truly our only way out of here. And furthermore, it would serve no purpose going to mainland China even if the border was open. Not logistically anyway. You can watch the status update by clicking HERE or on the image below. It may be fun for you to watch the update from February too…I got some things right back then and some things wrong as well.

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Click on image to watch the video.

Elections in the USA are upon us. Yes: us! We cannot escape it no matter which country we are from. I heard a radio interview with a gentleman from Main, USA, who said that he couldn’t wait for November to arrive so it would be all over. Fair point. Unfortunately after November we will not be able to escape debates on whether the right candidate won. Since I’m in Hong Kong I’m also very close to mainland China. Some would say that I am as close as I can get. I can see China from some of Hong Kong’s peaks when I’m out hiking. I find China fascinating and have plenty of good things to share about the three times I have been fortunate to visit. As I follow the news, I also hear unfavorable things about China. Especially in the US presidential debate. Like it or not the USA is the only real superpower on our planet and it matters to the rest of the world who is in charge of that country. So we all pay attention. Recently I heard talks about COVID-19 being a Chinese virus and that the Chinese are at fault of this global pandemic. Well…that is actually becoming an old tune but it has again intensified during the presidential debates. Personally it is beyond me why the world doesn’t come together and fight our pandemic in a joint effort. It will never be defeated if we do not collaborate. However my point here is another one all together. Is this truly a Chinese virus? The outbreak may have started in China but they quickly got the outbreak under control. Foreign reporters in both Shanghai and Beijing are reporting that life is back to normal in every sense and that it is hard to believe that there ever was an outbreak to begin with. The world was quite harsh on how it received news on the hard lockdown in Wuhan, China, which officially ended on April 8th. Looking back it seemed to work. China has had 85,307 total cases and 4,634 deaths in a country with 1.4 billion people. If you don’t believe the figures then just multiply with ten. It wont matter much in regards to what comes next. The USA has had 6,959,409 total cases and 201,822 deaths in a country with 330 million people. At which point does this become a USA virus? Don’t get me wrong, I love the USA and can talk endlessly and favorably about that country. I just wonder if it is a strong argument stating it is a Chinese virus? And passing blame certainly will not defeat the pandemic.

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I haven't seen anything but Hong Kong for a while. I hope the rest of the world looks up from its phones once in a while?

Hong Kong is as lovely as ever. What an amazing part of our planet she is. Beaches, waterfalls, mountain peaks, butterflies and I hear there’s a city here somewhere too ;) Nah – I spend most of my time in the city and then escape to the wildlife when I get the chance. The city is great too though…as long as you don’t need to buy an apartment. Apartment prices are through the roof! The city is something though with a kaleidoscope of different neighborhoods with different cultures to be found around every corner. People here are just trying to get on with life as everywhere else. They see their city much in the same way we all see our every day surroundings: with routine. I have been changing my routine during the past few weeks. There is a lot more focus on reading and running. I have already ordered another book which arrived a few days ago and Brett from the Running Klub got me into another ultradistance challenge. This one is called the ‘Sydney to Melbourne Virtual Challenge’ and it is basically about covering 1,000 km (621 mi) in a hundred days or less. That boils down to an average of 10 km (6.2 mi) per day. It needs to be running or hiking though so walking between stations or going shopping doesn’t count. It is a great little Australian initiative and I am happy to take part. The official name of the challenge is ‘Mirrim Wurnit Back Paddock Ultra’ and you are still welcome to join if you think it’s a challenge for you. I particularly like it because it is a hundred-day long challenge which makes me wonder if I’ll be covering some of that distance on a ship and even more excitingly finishing it in Australia? Who knows – a hundred days is a long time? My money is however on that Christmas and New Year will be spent in Hong Kong. But let’s stay optimistic!

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 Click on image to visit the challenge.

Also this week immigration went through without a hitch. So good! In and out in nearly no time. I arrived on the given day for my extension appointment, handed over my paperwork and was told to come back an hour later with HKD 230. And an hour and seven minutes later I walked out of there with my extension. You’ve gotta love Hong Kong immigration. So efficient! So streamlined! That extension bought the Saga more time (expires November 8th 2020). There is no reason to think it would not be extended again….here is however also no guarantee.

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Waiting (1 hour) across from Hong Kong Immigration while it rained outside.

Speaking engagements continue. Mostly online. It was a blast meeting up with the Hutchison Ports Team last week. Nothing beats speaking to a live audience. And yet I had a really good time sharing the Saga with the Lego team through my screen here in Hong Kong. Shackleton would have been chanceless back in 1915. Such modern commodities belong to our time. I think my audience was around thirty people but all I could see was Christian. And he’s a good looking guy so that’s okay ;) Who doesn’t love Lego?!? The amount of hours I have spent huddled down over blue, red and green plastic bricks is a story on its own. Some of my favorite Christmas gifts which Santa had left me under the tree were Lego boxes! Cartoons I watched as a child turned into mindboggling constructions in my Lego city. From my mind, to my hands and into reality. I even ended up having a summer job as a Pirate in Legoland Billund just before my military service at the Royal Life Guard began. Those were the good old days! I loved going to work at Legoland!! Who wouldn’t want a job in a place where people come to be happy and have a memorable day? My colleagues were great too and a lot of fun. On my first day my new Pirate colleagues handed me a worn VHS tape of “Down Periscope” and told me that I had to watch it as an initiation. I was issued with a Lego sword, and dressed as a pirate, I would somehow lose a lot of battles with brave children from all around the world. Who would have thought children possess such sword fighting skills. I would also sneak up behind parents, put by Lego sword around them and utter a mighty Pirate roar: “YARRRRRRRRR!”. That would usually scare the living daylights out of them to the children’s delight. All in good fun. I loved that job so much that I would wake up early and head to the park long before my shift started just so I could be there. Oh yeah…that was a good job. Unfortunately it didn’t offer much prospects in terms of a career path and wealth. It was a summer job. But I was happy. Well, I hope you enjoyed that little story from back in the day. Needless to say, it was a real pleasure connecting with the crew at Lego from far across the world.

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My Lego Mandalorian! A gift from my sister when she visited earlier in the Saga. She also worked at Legoland.  "This is the way!"

I’d say it has been a fair week for me. I have been busy with a variety of engagements as well as keeping up with friends and even making some new ones. I continue to frequent the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) where I have also made several of friends. The FCC is a members-only club and meeting place for the media, business and diplomatic community. It is also just a really cool place to hang out in traditional colonial settings, have a good meal and write down this week’s entry for you. One thing I’m particularly fond of at FCC is the wonderful staff. A stone-throw away from the FCC I had the pleasure of joining Phil Morais Jr for lunch at Club Lusitano. Club Lusitano is the oldest European club in Hong Kong and was founded back in 1866. It was founded as a private members club for the local Portuguese community which has existed in the region for many years. The Portuguese first arrived in the 16th century and eventually went on to colonize Macau while Hong Kong was a British colony. Phil, who is a really easygoing and kind man, explained to me that those from Macau are called 'Macanese' which I personally found sounds really cute.

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Phil’s life has in recent years transitioned into a great passion for diving and conservationism. Especially in and around Fiji. So we had a chance to talk about bula shirts as well ;)

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At Club Lusitano with Phil.

Hong Kong has its clubs. The FCC is a for me a super cool and relatively laidback club with a rich journalistic history. The Yacht Club which I visited with Mark looked nice, had good food and obviously has a close connection to the boating community. Club Lusitano serves as a classy hangout for Portuguese descendants and it had an almost secretive medieval feel to it in the coolest way possible. And Portuguese food!! Come on!! No complaints there. Then there is The Hong Kong Club. I suppose it is the Rolls-Royce of Hong Kong’s social clubs in which new members can only join upon referral from a member and I’ve heard that the joining fee is a MILLION USD! I haven’t been in there yet but hear that it looks nice. I would probably need to borrow a suit just to enter the lobby. Yeah – Hong Kong is a lot of different things.

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Writting this entry for you at the FCC. You can find me at the club ;)

And with those words I believe we have reached the end of this entry. I’m doing okay given the circumstances but I’m not thrilled that the Saga is approaching seven years of age. And I’m not thrilled that my fiancée and I have been apart for more than a year. And I’m not thrilled that there is no clear vision for the future. However, I’m quite thrilled about my book and must conclude one thing: No matter how much you suffer – someone has had it worse.

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Extreme social distancing! 8,662 km (5,382 mi) of distance to be exact.

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

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If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)

 

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Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - I get by with A LOT OF HELP from my friends.

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

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Keeping the engine running – 34 weeks in Hong Kong

Day 2,535 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador). 

Another week has passed…

pano

The Saga reached Hong Kong on January 27th 2020. The next day, on January 28th, I disembarked the good vessel “Kota Hening” next to Hutchison Ports Headquarters without even knowing it. Last week I returned.

Last week’s entry: Hong Kong…forever?

You know, sometimes I can sit down and write, and write, and write… However today is not a day like that. I would rather be free of posting an entry today. But I am afraid of slacking off and descending into a lifestyle of zero productivity and loads of self-pity while stuck due to COVID-19 restrictions. So here we go… I generally write the entries, and get them ready, every Thursday so that they can be posted online every Friday at 06:00am. That in turn means that whatever happens on Fridays generally doesn’t make it into the weekly Friday Blog. Last Friday was however eventful. I had been invited to come and speak at Hutchison Ports, which is a leading network of ports around the world and owned by Hong Kong’s wealthiest man; the business magnate Sir Li Ka-shing aka “Superman-Li”. This came into place after a friend introduced me to Ken Chou who is the Group Commercial Director at Hutchison Ports. Ken has a really good sense of humour and a kind heart which you will soon come to understand.

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On this fantastic model I could see where Pacific International Lines (PIL) brough us to HK back in January.

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Can you work out which leg is mine and which belongs to Anita? ;)

The talk was to take place in the afternoon which worked out well as Anita (from the Ultimate Step Challenge HK) had invited me for a foot massage upon hearing that my feet had still not recovered. In addition to that I can report that I lost a nail a few days ago but a beautiful new one is already growing in its place. It turns out there was more truth to my words than I knew when I announced that I would take half a million steps within a week and destroy my feet in the process. Keep in mind that in spite of my efforts I didn’t win but came in third behind Treadmill Poul and Jakob whom I assume will both be tied up in a doping scandal sometime in the future. Anders came in on a fourth place but only because he wasn’t competing with the rest of us and solely desired to reach his target of 505,050 steps (he could easily have beat both Jakob and I). Remarkably both Anders and Jakob kept accumulating steps in the weeks that followed and both reached a million steps within a month!

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Anita is a real Viking Woman! And a wonderful one at that! :)

Anita did really well too! Ironically the only one who didn’t outperform himself was the perhaps most competent of us all. My friend Brett from The Running Klub joined in on day three on my request to fill the void of an inactive profile within the challenge. And that week Brett was tied up in his studies so barely moved beyond his desk. But on the week of the challenge everybody else took more steps than they had ever done before and nearly everyone was in direct competition with someone as a part of it. I’m not really surprised that my feet still hurt given that I managed an ultra-marathon seven days in a row. And I’ve got a feeling that it won’t be the last time I do such a (stupid) thing. Anita is amazing though! She has been in Hong Kong for many years and thrives here. Hong Kong used to offer quite a remarkable scene for having a really, REALLY good time. I’ve heard more than one juicy story by now. Anita and her husband Christian somehow survived that era and transitioned into a respectable family life as parents to a beautiful baby boy. And we have Anita to thank for all the Misfit Command Hybrid Smartwatches which her company donated. I believe all the winners have received them by now? If not then let me know.

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SUCH A PLEASURE!! Thanks you for showing me a good time!! :)

Yes, so Hutchison Ports. They operate the majority of Kwai Tsing container port here in Hong Kong, which is one of the busiest container ports in the world. The group counts over 30,000 employees operating ports and terminals in twenty-seven countries around the globe and can date the groups origins all the way back to 1866. It was quite an honour for me to come and present the Saga for some 40-50 kind, bright and well-dressed employees at Hutchison Ports. At this point I have had the pleasure of sharing the Saga with audiences across fifty-nine countries on more than a hundred occasions. The talks focus on the adventure, the logistics, the Red Cross and my impression that the world is in fact a lot better place than what it most often gets credit for. As always, I aim to inspire, motivate, educate and entertain with my talks which have halfway developed into a stand-up routine. Since leaving Denmark in 2013 I have become one of this planets 300 most travelled people measured by countries and regions. That means that in a world that now hosts 7.8 billion beating hearts your chances of running into someone who has experienced more of the world than I have would be 1 in 26 million. It is obviously not just about where one has been but also the experiences which such a journey includes and the learnings which follows. We had a good time together and afterwards went up on the roof for some Danish inspired food: hotdogs, meatballs, creamed potatoes and aebleskiver with jam! Solid!! It was all accompanied by beer from each of the twenty-seven countries Hutchison Ports operates in (except from Saudi Arabia of course).

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Ken's good heart had arranged for a Danish meal! :)

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Ken's good humour served me an airline beer (Cathay Pacific).

In the big picture that was what I’ll share with you this time. In short there where a few online speaking engagements (you can view the Kilroy Travel one here), I went for a few hikes, met up with some friends, replied to a bunch of emails, kept social media alive, skyped with friends and family, did some physical exercise, went shopping, went to the cinema (and watched “Tenet” which is cool but spectacularly complex to follow), I did some research on various matters, I procrastinated some as well, I read the first five chapters of a new book, I did some filming with Hong Kong Tourism Board and as a part of my new established life in Hong Kong I cleaned, cooked, washed and wrote this thing for you. I highly recommend reading last week’s entry which has some “meat on it”. Here are some nice photos for you.

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Whenever the sun sets the cameras come out.

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First hike with Andrew (Chicago, USA) since he twisted his knee. Good company as usual.

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Hong Kong International Airport continues to look like a parking lot.

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Life goes on in Hong Kong and regulations are slowly being lifted again.

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Dave (Wales) reached out to hear if I was up for a hike. We went a bit off-track :)

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Good fellow! We summitted three peaks together on Lantau Island. Solid hike!

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Can you spot the Big Buddha?

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Filming with HKTB!! From left to right: Niki, Cameron, Kevin and Asa! :)

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Seeing the Disney Train moving on the rails adds hope that the park may soon open up again!

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - I did it! And it's still Friday!!

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

 Once Upon A Saga logo small

Once Upon A Saga

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Hong Kong...forever?

Day 2,528 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador). 

You can check out anytime you want...

pano

I wonder if there’s anything I haven’t written about Hong Kong which needs to be said?

Last weeks entry: I wonder if hell is really that bad

I don’t know if I love this place or if I just feel accustomed to my surroundings. I certainly haven’t worked out how to leave yet. I can go on for hours about how amazing Hong Kong is. It truly is a very pleasant place to be stuck with lots of opportunities. My accommodation is top notch!! For more than a month I have been the “caretaker” of an apartment while the owner is abroad. This came into place thanks to several of the Danish Vikings here in Hong Kong. Vikings were astonishing explorers, traders and conquerors from Scandinavia who were active some 1200-years ago. The spirit lives on today. Hong Kong is tropical and these days we have typhoons whizzing by left and right. So far they haven’t hit us yet but they have been ravaging our neighbours. It’s very humid here and temperatures are relatively high. An empty apartment could quickly find itself inhabited by insects and fungi around here.

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People being people.

When the Saga first arrived to Hong Kong back in January we were still all trying to work out where the heck Wuhan was on a map. Most people didn’t know the expression ‘novel-coronavirus’ and “flatten the curve” had not entered headlines yet. I was scheduled to leave again after only four days and received an invitation to stay with the amazing Savagar’s (James, Cassie, Edward and Harry) in Sai Kung. That then turned out to become my “home” for five months! Here’s what the internet has to say about Sai Kung:

The Sai Kung peninsula is known for its quaint fishing villages and hiking paths. One of the most popular destinations is Sai Kung town, where a busy floating seafood market supplies the al fresco waterfront eateries. Elsewhere, walking trails criss-cross 2 country parks, taking in sweeping views and volcanic rock columns at High Island Reservoir. Tai Long Wan Bay has quiet sandy beaches popular with surfers.

Afterwards Hong Kong’s Vikings set me up in Wong Chuk Yeung village in Fo Tan for a month. There I got to know the Andersen Clan quite well (Thomas, Natali and Luis) as they lived close by the apartment. Here’s what the internet has to say about Fo Tan:

Fo Tan is an area of Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong. It was developed as a light industrial area, but this activity has declined markedly in recent years. There are residential areas to the east, alongside the MTR line, and in the foothills to the west.

Now I’m taking care of an apartment in Tsuen Wan West. It’s my third “home” in Hong Kong and yet again completely new surroundings. The internet has this to say:

Tsuen Wan West is situated at the west of Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, along Castle Peak Road between Yau Kam Tau and Chai Wan Kok. There are mainly private residential estates, including Belvedere Garden, Bayview Garden, Greenview Court, the Panorama and Serenade Cove. The largest one is Belvedere Gardens.

Lately it has been my great pleasure to catch up with both Thomas from the Andersen Clan and all four Savagar’s. Thomas and I almost spent a full day together starting out with lunch at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, hanging out at one of my favourite cafes, getting a few beers at a bar and having dinner with yet another Viking. Thomas is such a good guy and we had lots to talk about. A few days later I made my way out to Sai Kung for a home cooked dinner with the Savagar’s. Wow! Cassie still hasn’t lost her touch in the kitchen! Everyone seemed to be doing well. The boys were playing Minecraft while James and I sat and discussed the world situation. That family will forever be in my heart.

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In the bus heading to Sai Kung. Infrastructure is great in Hong Kong.It takes a few hours to get there from Tsuen Wan West.

People seem to be leaving. It has been a while since Ole and his family left for Singapore. Then Leon and his family left for Czechia. Brett, Emma and little Grace left for Australia but are temporarily coming back at some point. Pavel and his girlfriend recently went to China / Tibet and will not be back for a while. And finally, there’s Svend and Ophelia who went back to Denmark and may not be back again this year. I truly know a lot of people across Hong Kong but those mentioned still make up a good portion. Meanwhile I have become fairly established. I shop for groceries, I cook, I clean, I do the laundry and my clothes is neatly stacked within a closet. Will it soon be my turn to leave Hong Kong? Who knows? It doesn’t look promising. I recently went to get my Hong Kong visa extended for the third time. Hopefully it will be approved. Hong Kong immigration has never disappointed so far and they have made my life here very easy. And that is certainly something to be grateful for.

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Future first man to row across the North West Passage?

I really like the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. It has a particular charm and the staff is always very kind and professional. I’ve met a lot of people through the club and regularly frequent it. Last week I met up with Mark Agnew from Scotland who writes for the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Mark is a cool guy with an adventurer’s spirit within his heart. So much so that he tried to cross the Atlantic twice in a rowboat but so far unsuccessfully. On one occasion they had to get rescued by helicopter! In 1845 the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus set sail on a polar expedition hoping to find the North West Passage. The ships were last seen entering Baffin Bay in August 1845 and nobody ever returned from the expedition. Times have changed. We now have satellite images of the entire planet and due to climate change the North West Passage is now open and free of ice for two months every year. That is a sad thing but great if you hope to be the first to manoeuvre a rowboat through the North West Passage! And Mark intends on exactly that!! The project has aptly been named ‘North West Passage 2021’ and can be followed on FB and IG as NWP2021. The project is looking for sponsorship and hopes to raise funds through sales of their own brand of gin as well :)

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Future youngest Australian to reach every country in the world?

Mark was not the only new face I came across at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. I met up with the kind Kate Whitehead who also writes for SCMP. We have known each other since early February. Kate invited Daniel Herszberg from Australia who has now reached 183 countries. He once aspired to be the youngest Australian to reach every country in the world and may still become that. But he has since fallen in love with the world and sees it much more important to promote it through his ever-growing audience on IG: @dhersz. He’s very skilfully promoting Hong Kong right now through his Instagram stories. Dan is a 28 year-old lawyer and a really good guy. We both know Drew Binsky who I met in Bangkok now long ago. Drew is a Youtube-star with millions of followers across socialmedia having now reached 191 countries. It’s been a while since I heard from him though. Kate wanted to interview Dan and I for SCMP and brought a photographer (Jon) who did a bunch of photos with us.

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Dan and I posing while Jon photographs. This photo was taken by Kate.

Yeah, so I’m still keeping up socially here in the Kong. Even made it out hiking a few times in spite of thunder and lightning. That has been the weather pattern here lately. For a very long time I’ve been wanting to see the wishing tree in Lam Tsuen. It turns out that there are four wishing trees. People go there to throw oranges at them. Yup - true story. One tree grants wishes regarding exams, another fertility and a third is for more general wishes. I can’t remember the last one but if it was for getting onboard a ship and reaching Palau, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and The Maldives then I would throw tons of oranges at it! Two oranges are tied together and if they stay on the tree then the wish may be granted. If the oranges fall down then you can simply try again. The original tree couldn’t handle the weight and was replaced by a plastic tree. But it was closed off from the public when I went there due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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The plastic wishing tree.

I went with Belinda who’s a local Hongkonger. We’ve hiked together a few times before. While hiking we walked along Route Twisk which is a public road. It cuts through some military barracks. Belinda and I were walking along the sidewalk when I heard a man shouting. I looked up and saw some twenty soldiers training at a sports facility off the side of the road. It was visible from the sidewalk and I wanted to take a closer look. A young uniformed man seemed to be rehearsing crowd control while the other soldiers were watching. He was outfitted with a see-through shield while moving slowly forward and shouting commands. I’ve been through something similar myself during my United Nations training many years ago. Belinda suggested that we should ignore them as we likely would be told to go away. But I said let’s see and stopped to observe. Sure enough one of the uniformed spectators ran across the sports ground in our direction and stopped on the other side of the mesh fence where he stood attention with his hands by his side. Then he shouted something at us. I looked at Belinda who speaks Cantonese but not Mandarin. The soldier wasn’t far from us. Belinda kindly asked in English if he wanted us to move but the soldier did not speak English. So another soldier ran over and stood attention next to him and also shouted some command at us in Mandarin. He also didn’t speak any English. We were not ignorant and both imagined that we were being told to leave. The situation was slightly comical and both soldiers were smiling and friendly. Belinda once again asked if we should leave and gestured the same message with her arms. One of the soldiers nodded and we smiled and left. We were at no point taking photos or had our phones in our hands. We were on a public sidewalk by a public road. Change is upon Hong Kong which was recently intensified with the wide-ranging new security law for Hong Kong which was passed by China. According to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong is to be reunited with the mainland in 2047. I wrote about this in one of my first entries after reaching Hong Kong. Perhaps we were in our right to stand on the sidewalk and peacefully observe the soldiers who were not hidden from the public behind the mesh fencing. However, after the implementation of the new security law there was no reason to push our luck. If you are from Scandinavia then such a thing would seem incredibly foreign to you. But the reality in many countries around the world expresses that it is unwise to question authority.

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It's always good to see Belinda!

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Hong Kong is nothing but a concrete jungle! Yeah right ;)

On another day I was out hiking again. This time with Seth from ‘For Something More’. This was our second hike together and we wanted to bring our friend Andrew who originally introduced us. But Andrew twisted his knee a while ago and is still recovering. Seth and I agree that nature is a healing environment. I certainly smile more when I’m on a dirt path surrounded by nature. A lot of good conversations are had between the trees. It was no different for us.

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New beard skills. Hanging out with Seth at Pottinger Peak.

Immigration is really efficient in Hong Kong. I have had zero issues since I arrived. What a relief! If immigration around the world had been as straightforward and professional as in Hong Kong then it would be a lot easier to reach every country in the world. The two foremost challenges are red tape and logistics. If there was no red tape and public transportation existed into every country then the achievement would be far less. I’m sure some would argue that you need money and time but really you don’t need to see that as a great hindrance. Money can be made along the way and the journey can be relatively inexpensive. I have reached 194 of the targeted 203 countries on a USD 20 / day budget. That doesn’t quite suffice for me in Hong Kong but it works as a global average. Time is a choice for most. It’s all about what you are willing to sacrifice. I wonder if I have time? Am I willing to gamble my shot at starting a family with the woman I love vs reaching every country without flying?

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Applied for my third extension. Fingers crossed that it is approved.

Media seems to continue its same approach. Every time I listen to the news, I convince myself that the world is on fire. And fortunately, the Red Cross Red Crescent is out there to make a difference. I have fortunately seen enough of the world to know that it isn’t the case - the fire I mean. In fact the world is getting better year by year. It seemed to bypass most that wild polio was eradicated in Africa this year. THAT IS BIG NEWS!! Africa declared free of wild polio is a milestone achievement! It’s a huge continent which easily fits in the USA, China, India, Europe and Japan all at once. Africa has fifty-four countries and is this planets most diverse continent. And now it is free of wild polio! That is great news. But what popped up on my twitter feed: “a microphone slipped off the podium twice as Jared Kushner prepared to speak after landing in the UAE” (Reuters). My goodness we need to get a grip on the news we share. I find it far more useful to the general public that I recently researched whether MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is bad for us? Let’s briefly head back to my caretaker role of the apartment. I do my own shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. My breakfast is quite healthy and consists of oatmeal with milk, raisins and banana along with a cup of tea. Dinner is typically meat with pasta or rice. Now lunch seems to be the lazy one. I quite frequently go with a portion of instant soup and that definitely contains MSG. I had to know if I was killing myself! A quick google search revealed that I was going to be fine. MSG is perfectly safe in moderate amounts as found within food. Experts say that if you go completely overboard and fill yourself with soy sauce every day for the rest of your life then it still wouldn’t be MSG which killed you. Experts say that MSG is a very safe additive in food and can be found in a wide range of products. For most people who “overdose” on MSG the reaction would typically be a short-lasting headache. However, it is really hard to get to much MSG through regular food. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) we can eat 30 mg of MSG per kg bodyweight every day from we are born until we die and for most people it would have no effect at all. So, I guess I’ll keep eating my easy lunch.

10

The world, not just Hong Kong, offers tremendous beauty for those who seek it.

On a closing note, congratulations to my youngest sister who recently celebrated yet another birthday. Or as I know it: one more trip around the sun without falling off the planet. I love both my sisters, my mom and my dad. I love my friends and cannot wait until we once again can meet and hug. I love my fiancée. I have basically not had any physical contact with another human being for nearly a year now apart from handshakes and fist bumps. To all of you who can hug and touch your loved ones: do not underestimate it.

11

I will shave when I see her!

Stay safe and sane everyone. I have had my first session with a psychiatrist and intend to continue for a while. It’s my first time with a psychiatrist and so far, I don’t think it can hurt. To express oneself in a safe environment with another human being is a good thing.

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)

 

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Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - still hanging in there

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

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