Ultra-Wifey’s last week in Hong Kong
Day 2,808 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).
We haven’t wasted any time
It was on March 11th 2021 that the impossible took place! Wifey and I were reunited in Hong Kong in spite of virtually closed borders. After nineteen months apart we had found a way of being together. This has been our last week…for now anyway…
Last week’s entry: 500 DAYS IN HONG KONG – Pandemicly stuck and determined
Le became my wife on December 19th 2020 when she said yes. Ahead of that she was my fiancée and before that my girlfriend. Somehow, she became “wifey” and now as of latest: Ultra-Wifey!
NEW VIDEO!! See how Ultra-Wifey earned her stripes on this tough ultra-distance trail also known as the MacLehose Trail. We trained hard for this.
She has been out to visit me twenty-two times across the world since Once Upon A Saga began. So, all in all we have a great deal of combined experiences to look back on. Hong Kong has become a very special one as we have now had a full ninety-nine days together which has enabled us to build up a routine together. The odds have been uneven in my favor. Hong Kong is my turf as I have spent more than five-hundred days in Hong Kong and this was her first visit. So Ultra-Wifey has been introduced to my friends, places I know, to a culture I’m familiar with and to a life I have experience within. We have hardly been discovering Hong Kong together. I had already acquired a good understanding of Hong Kong long before she arrived. So - our life in Hong Kong has never been even. And yet, it has been good. It worked. In an ideal world I would have wanted her to meet everyone I know in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, that has not been possible as I truly know a lot of people by now and there hasn’t been enough time. A social fatigue also sat in for the both of us. Perhaps a product of the isolated life the pandemic has offered so many. Ultra-Wifey is not intimidated by spending time alone and neither am I. It has been interesting to observe the dynamics.
The LARGEST ever Lego set goes to my friend Edward! 11.695 pieces! Thanks to Palle Bo and Lego for making me a part of the launch! :)
The Savagar family presented me with a Hong Kong Bucket List scratch card. “100 things you must do in the 852”. I took a look at the list and concluded that I had already done well over half of the list. This list was however ideal for wifey! When she arrived back in March, I put the list on the wall and we slowly began working our way through it. She has scratched thirty-eight of the suggestions which isn’t bad at all. They are as follows: go to Goldfish Street in Mongkok, spot Hong Kong’s wild boars, make a chop at Man Wa Lane, go on a container port tour, take in Mongkok’s flower market, hike up to the top of Lions Rock, geek out at the maritime museum, browse antiques on Cat Street, get locked in a cell at Tai Kwun, drink coffee at a cat café, 10,000 Buddhas Monastery, shop fresh at the wet market, try your luck and bet on mark six, get a traditional foot massage, venture out on a night hike, try traditional Chinese desserts, watch live Chinese opera, see mudskippers at wetland park, ride a full route of a HK tram, stop by a Dai Pai Dong for lunch, dig for clams on Lamma Beaches, grab bubble tea with friends, go on a night time snake safari, doomed theater at the Space Museum, spend a day at HK Disneyland, afternoon tea at the Peninsula, admire a lovely HK water buffalo, take observation wheel ride, experience the Ngong Ping 360 ride, try out Chinese medicine, visit Tze Shan Monastery, view dry seafood in Sheung Wan, experience a Lion Dance, get crafty in Sham Shui Po, join an organized foodie tour, Happy Valley cemetery tour, visit Tai O fishing village and finally: spend a day at Ocean Park!
Ocean Park, Hong Kong.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong.
Ultra-Wifey at Ocean Park, Hong Kong.
Spending a day at Ocean Park came into fruition as our friend Jessi is now working for Marriott Hotels in Hong Kong. We first met Jessi back when I was traveling though Jordan in the Middle East. Ultra-Wifey came to visit and Jessi was stationed there. It has been so nice to catch up with Jessi here in Hong Kong but now she is travelling between Marriott hotels in mainland China. Jessi sent off an email to Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel which they fortunately responded to offering Ultra-Wifey and I a complimentary night which included a day pass to the amusement park.
Fun fact: every panda on earth belongs to China.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong.
It's a lovely show but apparently highly controversial. I got scolded on by some people for sharing content about performing dolphins on social media. These days you can win or loose people by posting just about anything. Meanwhile, Ultra-Wifey and I were musing about how on earth you train a dolphin?
Ocean Park is treasured by a great deal of Hongkongers as their own amusement park. A proper Hong Kong amusement park. Hong Kong’s other amusement park, which I really like, is Disneyland. Disneyland is seen by many as the foreign import while Ocean Park is the real deal. Debates about which park is better can quickly spark emotional responses! I’ve been in such debates ;) Ocean Park is quite unique as it is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, animal theme park and amusement park all in one! I had the pleasure of making my first visit there back in 2020 and it was fun to be back with Ultra-Wifey.
We had a really fine day under a constant threat of rain which never materialized. And afterward we had the luxury of taking a few steps outside the main entrance as the park closed, and head straight into Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel. What a treat! While we could have made our way home within roughly ninety minutes it was just so much better to enter our stylish room with marine themed cookies and a giant bed! The room had a view over the hotels large courtyard which hosts several large pools. We even liked the design of the hotel exterior which while unique stayed classy and inviting. It was a good stay for sure.
For dinner we once again had it easy. Out the door, into the lobby, three levels down with the elevator and straight into an unforgettable dining experience at the Prohibition Grill House and Cocktail Bar. The easy life. Everything just fell together nicely. The staff was kind and efficient, the room was great, check-in was easy, we were able to enter Ocean Park without any hiccups, and now all which is left to do is say: thank you :)
The Danish National Anthem was written in 1819. The atmosphere was GREAT at this point!!
Football! That’s the game people play with their feet. It makes sense to call it that. But some people prefer to call it soccer. I have never found that sport interesting. I’ve played some street football as a child and some friendly matches as I grew older. I’m still keen on playing at times…but to sit down and watch a match? No thank you. I’m happy to watch a game if I’m at the stadium with a beer and a hotdog. Chanting along with everyone else and enjoying the atmosphere. Good stuff. But worshipping football has just never been me. It’s a shame really, as speaking “football” is practically a language. Especially between men. Well, a twenty-nine-year-old Danish fellow named Christian Eriksen collapsed about forty minutes into the game between Finland and Copenhagen during the European Championship last weekend. This affected a great deal of people including my father who found it to be the most emotional experience he had ever witnessed on TV. I had never heard about Eriksen up until that moment. Ultra-Wifey was moved as well. She has a much greater appreciation for football than I do and used to play the game regularly. Apparently Eriksen collapsed on the field and died from a heart failure but was resuscitated relatively fast and is now doing fine. That wasn’t the opening match anyone was hoping for. I can certainly relate to that.
Well, first we lost to Finland and then we lost against Belgium. But we will beat Russia for sure!! ;)
My friend Thue sent me this photo and wrote that my message had reached Copenhagen: 'Keep on Keeping on'. It has long been a mantra for the Saga. That's why Bob from Uganda and I put it on t-shirts and added them to the Saga-shop :)
In a collaboration with the Danish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong my workplace, the Danish Seamen’s Church in Hong Kong, has arranged to show the three first matches on a big screen. Denmark has already played Finland and Belgium and the final match (in this round) will be against Russia. Due to the time difference between Europe and Hong Kong the first two matches started at midnight and the third match will start at 03:00am. Good times. As the Assistant to Chaplain (and the only employee) I need to be present. It has been pretty fun apart from the tragic event of the first match. ‘Danish Room’ had more than forty fully vaccinated Vikings dress up in red and white for the occasion and chant along. It was a party and everyone was having a blast until forty minutes into the first game. The game resumed mush later and the last guest left around 04:30am. Denmark lost. Denmark also lost to Belgium so were not off to a great start. In 1992 we won the European Championships as the absolute underdogs. Let’s see how it goes this time.
Tze Shan Monastery
Another experience on Ultra-Wifey’s scratch list was a visit to Tze Shan Monastery. Entrance is free but we had to sign up about a month in advance. The 76m (250ft) tall Guan Yin Statue is visible from far away and I never thought the area was much more than the statue. I was wrong! The Tze Shan Monastery may well be one of the most impressive experiences I have had within Hong Kong!
It is such a peaceful and perfect place.
The 76m (250ft) tall Guan Yin Statue is VERY impressive up in close!
The large Buddhist temple complex is absolutely stunning and the overall experience is amplified by the limited amount of guest which are let inside. I’m sure most people are turned off by the idea of waiting a month before they can visit as well as the monastery’s location which is far away from the city. It is nestled against Pat Sin Leng mountain range overlooking Plover Cove Reservoir. That is an absolutely stunning location!! The Monastery opened to the public in 2015 and the idea for the development of Tsz Shan Monastery came from Mr. Li Ka-shing who’s the Chairman of Li Ka Shing Foundation and the 30th richest man on earth. His foundation has contributed over 3 billion HKD (386 million USD) to cover the development costs and operation expenses. The center aims to realize the essential Buddhist teachings of Clarity, Compassion and Action in service of the public. I highly recommend a visit!!
Yet another get together with Anita! Always good fun. She's one of the most "happening" people I know. A 45 minute foot massage for our banged up feet :)
Yeah! That’s just about all folks! I haven’t given up on leaving Hong Kong and reaching the final nine countries. It is just impossibly hard to do right now!! I’m looking into reaching New Zealand and Australia on a government level in hope that they would see the benefit in receiving a high-profile adventurer for the sake of good promotion. And how amazing would it be if we could materialize a round-trip from Hong Kong to Palau and back again? We are talking highly complex and demanding logistician and bureaucratical solutions here. In the event that it all falls apart I have begun to look kindlier towards building up some sailing skills and eventually financing a solid sailboat. That could be the end of my life or the beginning of a great adventure. However, if I did sail myself to the next country then there would be no chance of achieving a Guinness World Record. Such are the rules. We would “only” be dealing with world history. And when Ultra-Wifey flies home on Sunday…there will be no telling when we will see each other again...
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) - Farewell Ultra-Wifey
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga