EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!! – Hong Kong
Day 2,794 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!
(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).
Are you looking at the tree or the forest?
Here’s an entry about my lovely wife, an upcoming challenge, a sailboat, a charity run, rain, Chinese medicine and something very, very small
Last week’s entry: No – I’m not quitting. Not yet. (Hong Kong day 486)
Let’s begin with something very, very small. And yes – I do find myself between a rock and a hard place. Give up on something I have spent more than seven years of my life on – or hang in there and possibly pay a heavy price. On that note, have you ever heard about King Pyrrhys of Epirus? More than 2,000 years ago he fought and won a war against the Romans, but lost so many troops in the process that it was arguably a loss and not worth it. That little anecdote is the origin of the phrase ‘A Pyrrhic victory’. As such here we still are. I’m managing an extremely ambitious project which has been delayed severely by something too small for the eye to see. And now they are warning about B.1.617.2 creating world wide havoc while pushing a global wave three. If you’re not familiar with the “easy to remember” B.1.617.2 then it has now been named “Delta” and is the one which has been spreading rapidly in India. A good friend of mine, and expert on the shipping industry, recently looked at me and told me to get used to Hong Kong: “you’re not going anywhere anytime soon” he said. So, there we have it. So small that I cannot even see it with my own two eyes and it is dictating the much uncertain future for the lot of us. I do not know how to move the Saga forward to any of the final nine countries. If you know then I am all ears. Meanwhile, let’s move on to India. The conversation at least.
Rain and thunderstorms are currently common in Hong Kong.
India is a magnificent country which is often referred to as the world’s biggest democracy. The diversity of the country is grand! Each of the twenty-eight states might as well be countries! We reached India in late December 2018 when it became country number 168. And in total we have made four visits to India in order of making the logistics work. So why is the focus on India in this entry? Well, I really love India, but the reason is that of a Charity Run for LittleBigHelp last Sunday. And I was so excited to hear some great news from my friend Michael! About twenty-five 3rd graders from the Rooftop Elementary School in San Francisco, USA, signed up to team Once Upon A Saga in support of LittleBigHelp. Simply outstanding!! I’m always excited to see people actively do something to improve on life for others. And Ms. Nina’s 3rd graders surely did. Even here in Hong Kong we managed to build a small but strong team. Wifey, Tribini Thomas, Poul, Mette and Chris joined in as we hiked 10km (6.2mi) to raise funds and awareness for LittleBigHelp. And furthermore Thomas (of the Andersen Clan), Amy, Jakob and Kenneth also signed up from here in Hong Kong. Through awareness raising, education and child protection, LittleBigHelp works with local communities to empower and secure the rights of vulnerable people in West Bengal, India. You will also find the Red Cross doing similar work all around the world. I remember meeting the Indian Red Cross in Delhi back in early 2019. Good people hard at work. You can never have to many people trying to improve this world of ours.
Charity Run (hike) with Mette, Le, Thomas, Chris and Poul.
Needle Hill as seen from a distance.
Afterwards food and beverages were generously sponsored by Tribini. You'll notice that Thomas (of the Andersen Clan) was missed on top of Needle Hill but there for that. Oh well, it was his pool ;)
We are slowly approaching June 20th which is the day my wife (affectionally known as wifey) will be leaving Hong Kong. It was very complicated getting her to Hong Kong in the midst of the pandemic. Not only because of travel restrictions but at large due to closed borders and the fact that we were not husband and wife. Well, we found a complex workaround and now we are husband and wife…at least in Utah and Hong Kong. And what a run it has been. She arrived in Hong Kong back in January 2021 a month after our online wedding. And while we have both been working, we have also had some free time to explore Hong Kong, meet up with people and train for our huge challenge! Wifey is highly accomplished in a number of different ways. She is a medical doctor and works at a pharmaceutical company. When we met back in 2012, she suggested that we should run the Berlin Marathon together - which we did.
Perhaps you remember that I did the Goggin' s Challenge earlier this year. But did you know that wifey also did it - but from her hotel quarantine? 4mi (6.4km), every 4 hours for 48hrs. A total of 48mi (77km).
She has completed several full marathons but a few years ago she upped the ante by signing up for an Ironman! That is a monster achievement and she trained hard to accomplish her goal. Then the year after she completed her second Ironman! So, it wasn’t really a surprise to me when she suggested that we should do Hong Kong’s legendary 100km (62mi) highly mountainous footpath together…as a couple’s project. It is known as the MacLehose Trail and many have tried and failed. But many have also completed it successfully. I have some history with it myself. We plan to do it this upcoming weekend and figure it will take about thirty-two hours from start to end. Not camping along the way but we will have a few breaks as we go along. We are planning on hiking it and not on running. That is why it will take more than a day to complete. We have been training and preparing and now the time has come. Saturday June 5th will be the starting date.
Off to country number 195!! - not quite...
When you have an active online community with more than a hundred thousand people some things quickly become repeatable. “Have you been to my country?” Yes. Most likely. “How do you finance it?” With kind support from Ross DK, Geoop and the online community. And most recently while being stuck there has been a lot of: “why don’t you just?” Why don’t you just buy a sailboat? Why don’t you just get on a ship? Why don’t you just go to Australia? Why don’t you just go home for a while? Why don’t you just… Well, while I am very fond of Hong Kong it is certainly not for a lack of trying that we haven’t “just” moved on to a new country. Getting on a sailboat and heading into the Pacific would be incredibly risky. Especially as the typhoon season approaches. But even without the typhoon season I would have no idea on how to enter closed countries during a pandemic? To top things off Hong Kong is completely surrounded by the Chinese Sea except towards the north were Hong Kong borders mainland China. China is good for a million different things. But they are not known for having super relaxed authorities, and heading into the Chinese Sea quickly becomes complicated. Having said that – I have certainly thought about it!!
Sam and Jesper on the "Wine Knot?"
Jesper is a friend of mine and we go hiking together once a week with a bunch of friends. This has been the tradition every Thursday evening for a very long time now. Everyone in the group is Danish but some have been in Hong Kong for many years. On that note it might be interesting for you to know that you are eligible to apply for a Permanent Residency (PR) after seven years of living and working in Hong Kong. With my Hong Kong ID-card I am a temporary resident. Anyway, Jesper reached out to hear if wifey and I were interested on going on a daytrip onboard a proper sailboat. He even warned that we might have to work a little along the way.
Wifey concentrating on steering the "Wine Knot?"
It was a great experience. I have spent some time on various sailboats while solving the logistics within the Caribbean Sea. But I am really quite green – though eager to learn. Jesper picked wifey and me up last weekend and drove us to Hong Kong Yacht Club where we met Henrik and his partner Sam. When we reached the boat, we met their friend Corinna who was already waiting onboard the “Wine Knot?”. It didn’t take long before the six of us were at sea. Henrik was no doubt highly competent and handed out instructions in a very calm manner. Henrik could certainly have navigated the boat without us but instead he made us all a part of the team. Half the time I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing when Henrik told me to pull on something or twist another thing. But slowly I began to understand some key principles and I’m kind of itching to get back out there and learn more.
This villager plays his role well. He turned to be a lot smarter than what he looks to be in this photo and has likely dealt with thousands of tourists over the years. He has a good sense of humor ;)
We didn’t go far. Our target destination was a small fisherman’s village called Po Toi O. We moored the “Wine Knot?” on an artificial island and waited for a villager to traffic us across a small body of water to a local restaurant. Good times. Seafood is always good in Hong Kong. And there is plenty of it.
Jesper in the back, Henrik just left of him, Sam in front of Henrik, Corinna to the right and wifey in the back. Good team.
After lunch we headed into a bay and dropped anchor for a while. Some of us went swimming. There was time to chill and it would have been nice and peaceful had it not been for the armada of party junks blasting out their music. We tried to swim up to such a party junk in hope that they would let us try their waterslide…but we were waived away and then they moved the junk. After our swim we made our way back to the Yacht Club while making excellent speed. All in all, a brilliant experience which I’m very happy to have had. Thanks to Jesper for inviting us and thanks to Sam and Henrik for taking us onboard.
And now to something completely different. Because EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!! Well, in the wonderful world of Lego it certainly is. Lego has always had a special place in my heart. My earliest memories from my childhood contain Lego and my greatest Christmas presents were those containing Lego. Lego, in its basic form, consists of variously colored interlocking plastic bricks. Today Lego does far more than that but the colored interlocking plastic bricks are still at the company’s core. And the company is Danish which brings some sense of pride to most Danes. I was once a pirate at Legoland in Denmark. Best job EVER! It lasted a few months or three during a summer. There wasn’t a clear career path within that job but it filled me with happiness. I have for several years been traveling with a small Boba Fett (Starwars) Lego-figurine-keychain which my sister gave me. And now this!
Trying to get a great photo isn't always easy :)
Palle Bo is a highly talented podcaster and former radio host. He has been traveling nonstop for years and produces The Radio Vagabond podcast, which is simply excellent. Palle Bo is on a journey to visit every country in the world and while we have never met each other in person I feel certain that we will someday. We have been digital friends for years and when Palle Bo invited me to take part in a secret Lego project which he couldn’t tell me anything about – I was hooked. Soon after I signed the non-disclosure agreement Palle Bo told me more. We were going to create a podcast for Lego’s new secret project: A massive World Map!! The BIGGEST Lego set ever made!! An enormous buildable world map with 11,695 individual pieces! My goodness I love Lego!! Palle Bo sent me a microphone for the podcast interview and soon after I received the secretive Lego map by mail. I received the secret assembly instructions in a secret email inside a secret PDF. It was very secret! Lego takes these things seriously. As a result of that my dear wife and I have spent many late hours putting the world map together in complete secrecy. Whenever we weren’t working on it, the map was covered by a blanket. And now, finally, the Lego world map has officially been released! I hear that it is already sold out. I would love to keep it but it would be unhandy to travel with. Besides, I know exactly which person here in Hong Kong to give it to.
Tasting Chinese medicine tea with wifey. Yuck!
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Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - is everything awesome?
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga