Wayward is a pretty good word (another day in Hong Kong)
Day 2,507 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).
“Carry on my wayward son…”
Waiting. We all do it. For someone to get ready. Stuck in traffic. That date in the calendar. The bus around the corner. The lottery draw of our lucky number. Standing in line. How long are we willing to wait?
Last weeks entry: Don’t worry about the aftermath – 2,500 days later
The Script has a nice song called “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”. The essence of the song is that a man who is in love with a woman returns to the place where he first saw her. He is determined to stay there in the hope that the media will recognize him for his stubborn immobility and that the woman might see him and come running his way. Nice story. Certainly romantic but not very practical. Alas…it is a plan. How long are we willing to wait for things here in life? Some people wait for true love throughout their entire lifetime. Some people play the same numbers in the same lottery week after week. Some people wait their entire lives hoping that things around them will change. “Waiting On The World To Change” is another good song (John Mayer). I guess most of us are waiting for COVID-19 to go away. I hate to be the one to break it to you but COVID-19 is never going to go away. Our best hope at this point is to build up resistance and/or develop a cure. While we wait, I would recommend you all to put a face mask on when in crowded spaces. I wasn’t always on “team face mask” but I went along with it after the CDC and WHO began to advise it back in June. They are supposed to be the experts and who are we to argue against them. If we can’t trust the experts then what do we have left?
Typhoon season...what can go wrong?
Last Friday marked 199 days in Hong Kong so today must mark 206. That is a significant amount of time to wait for change. Especially if it interrupts you from moving forward in life. Because let’s face it…you can hold a job and have a life while playing the same lottery numbers or waiting for love. But you cannot reach every country in the world without flying if you are not moving. Waiting has not been my only game. I am constantly looking for ways to continue the Saga and generate progress. Unfortunately the barriers holding the Saga back are quite robust. While following the world news it seems abundantly clear that whenever COVID-19 cases quiet down in one country or region then they flair up in others. It also seems clear that a global pandemic hasn’t been enough to stall coup attempts, politics, the blame game, elections etc. And around the world it seems to me that there is always some group of people who complain loudly whenever they get affected by COVID-19 restrictions. So that is where we are at: Egyptian doctors are dying at hospitals because they cannot get proper PPE while people in South Africa complain about a nationwide alcohol ban. But don’t worry! The alcohol ban has been lifted again.
See if you can guess why a friend in Taiwan sent me to take photos of 291 graves at Hong Kong Cemetery.
Here in Hong Kong we are free to walk about, go jogging, enjoy hiking, use the internet, read a book, go to work…we just need to remember to wear face masks in public areas and furthermore public gatherings are limited to two people. You can enjoy restaurants and cafes until 6pm. After 6pm take-away is often available. Fun stuff like museums, cinemas, bars, pubs, nightclubs, country parks, barbecue sites, campsites, gyms, fitness centers, sports centers, tennis courts, bowling greens, sports grounds, grass pitches, artificial turf soccer pitches, hard-surface pitches, table tennis tables, skateparks, roller skating rinks, roller hockey grounds, skateboard grounds, outdoor fitness equipment, model car play areas, cycling facilities and water sports centers are temporarily closed. All non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions will still be denied entry to Hong Kong and borders to Mainland China and Macau remain closed.
My friend Peter from Australia made my life-long dream come true of being in the "Take On Me" video by Norwegian a-ha!!
So how about that “getting to Australia plan” you mentioned a few entries back, Thor? Well…not so easy. COVID-19 cases went up in the state of Victoria and that sort of thing puts a damper on accepting strange world travelers arriving on container ships. However I have not lost hope. Current barriers are: 1) getting special permission to enter Australia, 2) getting permission to board a ship, 3) getting permission to disembark the ship in Australia (not the same as getting permission to enter Australia), and 4) getting permission to leave Hong Kong (without flying). Yes – as it turns out Hong Kong Immigration and Hong Kong Maritime Authorities currently would not permit me to leave Hong Kong onboard a ship. So reaching the next country is somewhat harder then buying a train ticket. But let’s for a second say that it worked out and we got the Saga to Australia. That would mean a country less to visit which would be more progress than we have had all year. Australia would likely also offer us a gateway to New Zealand and from there perhaps get back to Fiji and reach some of the surrounding island nations? One can only dream…
Imagine how many beating hearts are hidden in this photo.
The whole face mask thing isn’t really working. It only works if we all do our part and I see way too many people cheating or just doing it wrong. I guess most people no longer fear COVID-19 as much as they are simply annoyed by COVID-19. And the masks are not enough on their own. We still need to wash our hands all the time and keep a tight hygiene. Most people aren’t directly affected by the virus and I have seen enough of this world to know that most will also chose the easy way out. With that in mind I’m not surprised to see people stop caring. After all, we don’t care too much about other people on this planet anyway. Most people care superficially but do not put any real effort into making a difference in other people’s lives. We care about ourselves and our own circles and in many cases those circles aren’t very large. Fortunately some people do care. Together we managed to raise more than USD 10,000 for the international humanitarian work of the Danish Red Cross. That is no small thing. The Saga’s budget for transportation, accommodation, meals and visas is a mere USD 20 / day so we raised the equivalent of 500 days within the Saga!! USD 10,000 would also be enough to provide food for 1,258 children in Yemen for a full month. Who knows how much it would do for people in Lebanon? My heart bleeds for Lebanon and yet the most recent disaster, while impactful, wasn’t much in the big picture of what has been going on in Lebanon for years. Historically Beirut has been destroyed and rebuilt seven times. The people are resourceful, resilient, educated and culturally rich. However I guarantee you that they are tired in Lebanon as well.
Thank you once more for all your support during the #UltimateStepChallengeHK. And thank you Hong Kong for allowing us to step around on you like that for a week. The doctor recommends 10,000 steps per day so with our 6.3 million steps the 25 of us could rightfully sit down for a full 25 days. I’m so proud of the team. We really did something special! And the 11 winners have also been chosen among those who registered for a PERSONAL sponsorship: Jesper Dalgaard Larsen, Torben Pedersen, Glos Ho, James Bond, Bjørn Richard Watne, Ryan Ellis, Ole Sander, Joan Nielsen, Siv Vontillius, Michael Nielsen and Kenneth Petersen. Lucky you! :) These 11 will each receive a Misfit Command Hybrid Smartwatch thanks to the kind donation from Anita at Fossil Hong Kong. Everyone should already have received an email from the very kind Ms Anja at the Danish Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong. And if you haven't read it yet then check out this article about us by Mark Agnew in South China Morning Post: Covid-19 travel restrictions spark 5 million step challenge.
Hong Kong is an amazingly efficient place and the city is built to resist and deal with heavy rain, storms an typhoons. However locals keep telling me that a typhoon warning signal no 10 is no joke!! Last Tuesday Hong Kong’s Observatory warned no 8 and raised it to no 9 past midnight as Typhoon Higos approached. But I was sleeping by then and it didn’t wake me up.
And that should be the final chapter on that step challenge. Treadmill Poul took first price with a whopping 603,998 steps within a single week!! Jakob came second with 521,311 steps. There is no doubt that Treadmill Poul is in great shape and is phenomenally will-strong. Furthermore, Treadmill Poul certainly took every single one of those steps. According to Poul he took about 80% of the steps on his treadmill and 20% outside during this challenge. I’m cool with the treadmill…however there is some controversy in relation to it as it has certain benefits. One could argue that Jakob was the de facto winner as he took all of his steps on solid ground. But that is not a discussion I want to get into ;) People have been asking me how my feet are doing and my answer has lately been: “they have not recovered 100% but they are 100% functional”. It took a while to recover but already on day six I went for a 16km (10mi) hike together with Poul K, Kenneth and Jesper. We added some light elevation to our hike and it went well. It will however be a while before I get to a 100% recovery…it’s the muscles in my feet which still tire relatively quickly. Half a million steps is no small order.
Hiking with Jesper (in photo), Poul K and Kenneth.
On a final note I would just like to say that I have much to be grateful for. The Danish community here in Hong Kong has been taking really good care of me and I’m all set up in case COVID-19 continues to keep me stuck in Hong Kong. I love Hong Kong more and more for each day but it has long since become time to leave. Hong Kong enjoys one the world’s highest population densities and has handled COVID-19 remarkably well. It could have been a disaster here but thanks to the actions taken by both government and citizens the virus has not had a chance. The high population density however also means that Hong Kong might become one of the last places to open up to the rest of the world and that would be a disadvantage for the Saga. Let’s see…I’m unfortunately 99% sure I’ll be spending Christmas and New Year’s here in the Kong. I’m leaving that 1% open to whatever the future might have in store. Fingers crossed. I feel like success rates have been smaller than that in the past and here we are.
Poul K (left) and Kenneth (right).
In 1976 Kansas wrote “Carry on Wayward Son”. According to Oxford Language Dictionary ‘wayward’ means: ‘difficult to control or predict because of willful or perverse behavior’. The dictionary furthermore goes on to describe similar words as: willful, self-willed, headstrong, stubborn, rebellious, wild, defiant, unmanageable etc. It’s a good word. It is a good song too.
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Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - 206 days is a LONG TIME to wait!
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga