Finally, a really good week in Hong Kong
Day 2,613 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).
Yes! The pandemic sucks!! But there’s other stuff too
The reason why I’m still in Hong Kong is unmistakable. COVID-19 trapped the Saga on the final stretch. However, when the winds of change blow – do something. This week was good!
Last week’s entry: 300 days in Hong Kong (and then some)
Before we get to my recent Disneyland adventure and the day I helped offload a container full of Danish fir, let’s just dwell at bit on where we are at globally right now. How hard could it be?!? We let people who are smarter than us run our lives anyway. Why not listen to them when it counts!! In modern society we are overwhelmingly dependent on each other. Hong Kong is super-efficient! When a typhoon ravages the city then the cleanup crew rolls out and clears out all the debris in no time. In some developed countries the average citizen creates 2kgs (4.4lbs) of garbage per day! Your average Hongkonger doesn’t produce that much but there are still 7.5 million beating hearts here producing garbage every day. And if Hong Kong wasn’t well organized then it would quickly pile up. The electricity and water supply are always constant in Hong Kong. The public transportation flows. If a smartphone, a flatscreen or a modern car breaks down then there is someone who can repair it. This pattern can be applied across much of the world. As individuals we are almost insignificant and useless. However, when we add our individual skills together, we get society, development, ingenuity and progress. All of our greatest achievements have been created through teamwork.
Hong Kong, 25% urban setting and 75% nature.
2020 has in many ways been a good year. The entire continent of Africa was declared free of wild Polio! That almost received no attention; however, it is a massive achievement for man-kind. The latest Ebola outbreak has also been beaten. Climate change is very much still a threat to the world but we have at least seen some improvement during 2020, which if nothing else, proves that we as a species have an effect on the outcome. This year has certainly also been a year of reflection for many and it has been quite clear, I think, that we as individuals are both insignificant and fragile. The enemy in the form of a virus is so small that we cannot even observe it with the naked eye – yet it has evoked havoc across our planet. Personally, I have wondered if the virus truly was the big problem or if it was in fact humanity? We knew since early on that all we had to do was stay socially distanced, uphold a higher personal hygiene and occasionally wear a mask. That was all! Meanwhile much more educated people would ensure that somewhere down the line we would get a vaccine. So how did we fair with our simple task? We cheat, we take short cuts, we reach covid-fatigue, we doubt, we debate, we fight, we disbelieve – we are morons. “We” did not go to the moon. Some super smart, well-educated and well-trained people went to the moon based on ingenious science and calculations. “We” watched. And now we watch again. China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface earlier this week in the first mission to retrieve lunar surface samples in forty years. Congratulations to Chinas National Space Administration and the Chang’e-5 probe. Now bring her home! :)
Hong Kong port is one of the densest and busiest in the world.
Yeah, so we have already touched upon subjects such as society, Ebola, space exploration and typhons within this entry. Let’s move on to some of the good news I promised you last week. Because we are now in the process of changing my immigration status in Hong Kong from ‘visitor’ to ‘resident’. I have been offered a job as the new junior assistant at the Danish Seamen’s Church, where I will be servicing Danish flagged ships and assisting the port chaplain when needed. I’m uniquely positioned to handle such a task as I speak Danish (which is something of a superpower) and have furthermore traveled on twenty-five containerships as a passenger, which offered me an in depth insight into life on board. I’m grateful for the opportunity bestowed to me by the Church Council in Hong Kong as well as the ‘Danske Sømands- og Udlandskirker’ (Danish Seamen’s and Foreign Churches) office in Copenhagen, Denmark. And I look forward to sharing some of the work with you as we get going. Personally, I cannot foresee an exit out of Hong Kong until at least March 2021 so this appears to be a perfect match in the meantime.
The Danish Seamen's Church in Hong Kong is found at Mariners Club.
Reverend Margith is the temporary Port Chaplain in Hong Kong and a very fine one at that!
Christmas events at Danish Room at the Danish Seamen's Church.
It is not a small world at all. However it is well connected! :)
AND DISNEY!!! Oh boy! The magic is real with me. In early November the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) helped set me up a day of fun at Ocean Park which is Hong Kong’s other major amusement park. And I had a great time there which I described more about in this entry. Ocean Park is close to the heart of many Hongkongers but less known across the world. Disney is a brand unknown to very few, which makes it much more relatable. I grew up reading about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and in my early teens I had a sizeable collection of Disney comic books. I once worked a summer at the Legoland amusement park in Billund, Denmark. That was an amazing summer and I truly loved the environment. In 2007 I saw my chance and paid a visit to Disney World in Orlando, FL, USA. I had a ball doing every attraction in all four parks, which ended up taking 2.5 days. Years later, in 2011, I visited Hong Kong for a few days and decided to do all the attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland! That only took half a day but it was still fun. The park has grown to about twice the size since then and the height of the Castle of Magical Dreams has likewise more than doubled. It was like a brand-new park!
Yours truly at Hong Kong Disneyland back in 2007. Beardless ;)
Hong Kong closed its borders on March 25th 2020 which obviously took a toll on tourism. Because of COVID-19 regulations imposed by the Hong Kong government, Disneyland closed down from January 6th to June 18th 2020. The park then reopened from June 19th to July 14th 2020, however the Hong Kong government retightened community epidemic prevention measures due to an increase in the number of positive cases. Disneyland reopened once more on September 25th 2020 taking great precautions in fighting the pandemic: temperature screenings, social distancing, mandatory mask wearing and lots of hand sanitizer dispensers. In mid November 2020 HKTB established the contact between Ms. Natalie Leung at Disneyland and I, and on Monday November 30th 2020 I reentered the park nine years after my first visit. Once again set on doing every ride!!
Click HERE or on the image to watch my latest video :)
WHAT A DAY!! I LOVE DISNEY!!! :)
I managed all 16 rides before closing time. In fact, I walked out of Mickeys PhilharMagic at 7:30pm just as the park closed!! :)
- Iron Man Experience
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle
- Hyperspace Mountain
Christmastime Ball with Mickey and Friends.
- It’s a small world
- Mad Hatter Tea Cups
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Dumbo the flying Elephant
- Cinderella Carrousel
- Mickeys PhilharMagic
I love how excited this boy got during the 'Jedi training". He helped the Jedi's use the force against Darth Vader - successfully :)
- Jungle River Cruise
Toy Story Land
- RC Racer
- Slinky Dog Spin
- Toy Soldier Parachute Drop
Mystic Point very much seemed like a place for me.
- Mystic Manor
The newly opened Disney Castle of Magic Dreams looks great!
- Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
A lucky shot on my part. The Disney Christmas Tree radiates in the back drop.
Other attractions I walked through:
- Liki Tikis (Adventureland)
- Fairy Tale Forest (Fantasyland)
- Fantasy Garden (Fantasyland)
- The Royal Reception Hall (Fantasyland)
- Sword in the Stone (Fantasyland)
- Geyser Gulch (Grizzly Gulch)
- Wild West Photo Fun (Grizzly Gulch)
- Animation Academy (Main Street)
- Building a Dream: The Magic Behind a Disney Castle (Main Street)
- Main Street Vehicles (Main Street)
- Garden of Wonders (Mystic Point)
- Mystic Point Freight Depot (Mystic Point)
- Iron Man Tech Showcase (Tomorrowland)
- Barrel of Fun (Toy Story Land)
- Star Wars: Command Post (Tomorrowland)
Exiting through Main Street U.S.A.
Shows I watched:
- Christmastime Ball with Mickey and Friends
- Festival of the Lion King
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
- Moana: A Homecoming Celebration
My "Disney Day" landed me 16km (10mi). Sadly an increase in COVID-19 cases across Hong Kong had the government once again tighten regulations and Disneyland temporarily closed down again two days after my visit.
I will never grow to old for this kind of stuff! It was a really great day in which Natalie and her colleague Angela greeted me at the park entrance and showed me around Main Street U.S.A. and the Castle of Magical Dreams before letting me loose for a few hours. We then met up again for lunch at the Corner Café at Main Street U.S.A., where Natalie and Angela had brought their colleague Terry to join us. The menu was colorful and there was even an entire meal based on Coca Cola products which I almost had. But then I saw they also served laksa and I couldn’t refuse. It was delicious! Mmmmm…laksa! Both Natalie and Angela chose a “Popcorn Carnival” beverage which literally was decorated with popcorn. Terry and I stayed a bit more sensible ;) After the meal we visited ‘Building a dream: The Magic Behind a Disney Castle’ which is an exhibition on the creative process from the early sketches to the finished castle as it stands today. I remember being less impressed by the castle as it was back in 2011 – however todays version is truly impressive with each spire symbolizing a Disney Princes and lots of hidden gems. The castle even changes its colors throughout the day as the sun moves across it. I would definitely return to explore more. All in all, a superb day thanks to the kind Disneyland staff and the magic which surrounds it. No – I’m not paid to write any of this. I just love Disney! :)
Normann firs from the South of Denmark - now in Hong Kong.
And now something completely different. Denmark may be a small country but it has surely set its mark on the world in many surprising ways. A lesser known industry is that of firs (Christmas trees). The last few months in Hong Kong have felt increasingly Danish! I made my way through the twenty-four episode long TV-series called ‘Matador’, I’ve been helping with the preparations for the Danish Christmas Bazaar at the Danish Seamen’s Church, I’ve started a job at the Danish Seamen’s Church, I’ve lately been hiking more and more with Danes, I’ve been blessed with some Danish meals lately…yeah…it has all been rather Danish for a while! And it turns out that Denmark is one of the worlds largest producers and export countries of firs. I knew it was a thing as I have grown up in and around fir plantations. I just didn’t know that I come from a country which exported over ten million firs in 2019?!? That is big business! The largest taker of Danish firs is Germany followed by France, UK, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Czechia, Austria, Norway and Switzerland. And for many years Thomas of the Andersen Clan has been importing containerloads of firs to Hong Kong as well. A lot of the work involved for Thomas is more or less done on a hobby kind of basis. It is obviously a highly seasonal business and Hongkongers are generally not enthusiastic regarding Christmas which is a Christian celebration. Besides, a plastic tree is good enough for many. Chances of snow in Hong Kong are furthermore pretty close to nil. However Christmas is for everyone who wants to celebrate it and have a good time.
As happy as I can possibly get! Surrounded by Danish trees!!
In 2020 we have grown used to blaming COVID-19 for everything. And perhaps it was the pandemics fault, but one way or the other Thomas’ containers got delayed and he urgently needed extra hands to unload the 40’ reefer (refrigerated) container, which arrived last Tuesday. Thomas has, as many other people in Hong Kong, been a tremendous support to me and I was happy to show up. Besides, its when we say yes to that kind of stuff in life, we experience many of those moments which are worth living for. I mean; how often in life do you get to offload a truckload of Danish trees in Hong Kong? A huge bonus as well as a great surprise was the strong smell which came from the trees. They smelled like: home.
I had a lovely evening with Amy and Poul at which I was served "stegt flæsk" (fried pork belly) and potato's which is a Danish specialty. A great evening in good company.
Yeah people, thanks for reading along. Thanks for all of your support. Thanks for all your kind donations. The Saga is generally a mentally hard ordeal for me with lots of stressful elements and a great deal of grinding routine. Looking back, I have naturally also collected an abundance of amazing memories from across the globe. My life in Hong Kong is quite comfortable with more friends than I have time for on a regular basis. However, I try to stay in touch with everyone and keep searching for that twenty-fifth hour within the day. My beard has grown truly long and I often wonder if I should just chop it off. Traditionally it has only come off when I have seen my fiancée. However, the overall success of the Saga does not rely on my beard length and nobody could have foreseen that we would have been apart for more than a year. Let’s see. I do not have high hopes in relation to Hong Kong opening up their international borders anytime soon. I love her and she loves me. Together we are strong. And this week was a good week.
After a 12km (7.5mi) walk in strong wind with the boys, we ended up at Kenneth's place for dinner and gløgg (mulled wine). A good evening in good company with great men!
I will end this entry with a shoutout to an old friend of mine. Back in 2012 I attended a bachelor party for my friend Lars and met Mads. Later that same year I met Mads again at Lars’s wedding, which was the very wedding at which I also met my now fiancée. Mads has started up a blog for men – but not your regular “trucks and babes” kind of style. The blog is in Danish and focuses on practical topics which grownups encounter throughout their lives. It has cleverly been named “Almandak” playing on the old Greek word ‘Almanak’. It is really well done and the topics are interesting, however it is in Danish, and I know most of you do not posses that superpower. Don’t worry – I’m sure your superpowers will do just fine ;)
If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - sometimes happy.
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga