Another Christmas in Hong Kong

Day 2,997 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).

I could be an actor. In fact, I may be an actor…

panoI made a video update for you this week which has already been seen by many. In the opening I offer this question: If reaching every country in the world was easy then why has only less than 300 people done so? Then add the Saga rules on top of it.

Last week’s entry: Christmas in Hong Kong or at sea?

Well, well, well…we are still in Hong Kong. Pacific International Lines (PIL) good ship Kota Ratu arrived to the Port of Hong Kong two days ago and has left without me. I have no doubt that our friends at PIL are bending over backwards these days to help and assist in reaching Palau and returning me to Hong Kong afterwards. But it is nearly mission impossible!! My frustrations are through the roof!!! Meanwhile I still need to be nice to people, smile in certain situations, give kind replies when I really want to scream, and offer service to a variety of people through my job at the Danish Seamen’s Church. I feel like digging a deep hole and screaming my lungs out into it!! My fate is completely in the hands of a number of people and the decisions they make. We are still awaiting immigration in Guam (USA territory) to come back with news that it is okay for me to be onboard PIL’s vessel at the Guam port call…even though I will not be disembarking the vessel. It is just a stop along the way. Someone in Guam currently holds that grip over my life, my time, my patience… And as per a more recent email from the Port Health Doctor in Hong Kong I will not be allowed to disembark PIL’s vessel on the return to Hong Kong as non-crew members are not allowed to disembark a goods vessel in Hong Kong. This effectively means that getting on PIL’s vessel to Palau would be a one-way journey. Apart from the obvious problematics within that scenario it may not be possible to begin with as a part of the deal with Palau’s Government was that I could show proof of onward travel prior to my entry to Palau. Something I cannot do if PIL cannot return me to Hong Kong. Worst case scenario would be that I get deported from Palau through the airport and this more than eight-year project would be over. But in reality PIL would be unlikely to take me onboard their ship to Palau if they cannot guarantee that I could leave the vessel anywhere. Because then I would just get stuck on their ship. Does anyone understand how much work has been done by myself, the Government of Palau, Pacific International Lines and everyone else who supports me?!? We have been working on this since June this year!!


If it wasn't for the nutcases then I sincerely doubt I would have lasted this long! You see me smile. But I promise the fire is raging within! (I'm an actor).

Okay, now I’m drunk. That typically happens every Thursday when I meet up with the nutcases. In fact, I feel like I’m perfectly drunk to complete this entry. Everything I wrote above this was while I was sober. But at this point I’ve had my share of four bottles of red wine plus a beer. So merry Christmas. And here we go. Why the heck I’m I not on my way home??? I could so easily quit and return to Denmark. What is wrong with me?? Why do I fight so hard to reach this target of making my way to every country in the world in an unbroken journey complete without flying? At this point I have no idea. I’m just fighting for it. It has been the goal for more that eight years so have I been trapped in a sunk cost perceptive? I really don’t know anymore?!? Promoting the Red Cross, promoting the kindness of people across our planet, promoting the beauty we have encountered, promoting the strength of reaching goals, promoting whatever? Man – I have the loveliest wife in the world waiting for me to return home to Denmark. Why would I not throw in the towel?? My goodness!! How could I ever explain to someone in Guam why they should approve my presence onboard a container vessel? How can I convince a Port Health Doctor in Hong Kong that he should let me arrive because anyone else can arrive to Hong Kong if they follow the guidelines? Hong Kong is that kind of place where people follow whatever has been written on a piece of paper. If it has been written then it must be true! Well, sometimes it’s nonsense.


A typhon was threatening us but this just isn't the season and the strength of it wore off and it it even changed it's direction.

My goodness. If you have ever been worried about me then at this point you should be. My mind is playing all sorts of tricks on me and I don’t know how much I can take?!? I remember vising Earnest Hemmingway’s home in Cuba and seeing his typewriter. They say he wrote while standing up and always in the a.m. hours as he was sober. Then he wound start drinking in the afternoon but would never write under influence. I guess that is one way Mr. Hemmingway and I differ. My goodness the room is spinning now. But I have to say that I feel the men I meet with on Thursdays anchor me in a particular way. In fact, I doubt if I would have held out this long without the Thursday meetings?


Hong Kong did what they could to secure the Legislative Council election including free transportation on the day and sms messages to everyone. But it was the lowest turnout ever.

I would love to spin this entry in a positive way but I’m currently struggling as I would really like to throw someone off a roof!!! Why the heck has this project taken eight full years??? Where is the international support?? Why the heck are people unwilling to get vaccinated so we can end this pandemic? Why is the global distribution of vaccines not better? Where is the global empathy for people? My questions are endless!! What the heck is going on, on this planet? The virus will keep multiplying wherever people are not vaccinated. Why is that so hard to understand? Sure, the variants are likely to get weaker but currently the Omicron variant is also easy to catch and as it spreads there will be more and more complications which will need hospital beds and that will stress out the healthcare system. Is that really so hard to understand? Just get vaccinated!!! It’s no big deal. Why the heck would you oppose it at this point?


December 19th came. It was the first anniversary of my wife's and my wedding. It was the day my wife returned to Denmark. It marked the day of the Legislative Council election, and it was the day I entered the world back in 1978. My wonderful sister-in-law sent me a book which turned out to be Dune by Frank Herbert. And I folded a paper rose for my wife as the first year of marriage is in Denmark known as a "paper-wedding".

Okay, lets go somewhere positive. This week my wife and I parted as I brought her to the airport and we said farewell. Nothing really happy about that. In fact, it is really sad. This has happened twenty-three times now. It is a thing of beauty and also a sad recurrence which we have dealt with several times by now. It was less sad this time compared to the last time. I reason that is because the last time she visited we spent more than three months together and we built up a life together. This time we only had three weeks together and it was more like a holiday for her. My wife and I are strong together. The distance between us is not important. But we would prefer to be together. I drove her to Hong Kong Airport on December 18th which was a day before our wedding anniversary. At the airport we bought a set of cards and I kicked her arse in a childish game we’ve often played together. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I do. During our last moments together, I completely destroyed her in that game. I have the deck of cards lying in front of me as I write you now. The deck of card my beloved wife and I played before she traveled 8,000km (5,000mi) back home to Denmark. It is just a deck of cards. It is just a deck of cards my wife has touched. What the heck am I doing out here?


Me oh my. I feel like my mind is falling apart. Every day I receive a lot of emails, messages and requests from all over the world I was recently approached by a kind man in Afghanistan who is in desperate need of help. I was also recently interviewed by a journalist from Denmark who had done absolutely no research before interviewing me? My goodness! I also had a Danish interview from a journalist who had done extensive research before contacting me. So those people are still out there. Thankfully! I never thought I would be the kind of person people would interview but now we have had interviews across some 160-170 countries around the world. How strange is that from someone who used to be bullied at school? Yeah, they used to pick on me and chase me down the river until I would jump into a stream and head to the middle. There I was safe. They didn’t follow me into the water but eventually they would throw rocks after me until I moved into a nearby culvert. Man! The cruelty of childhood! Well, here I am. When we reached Hong Kong, I was among the 300 most traveled people in the world. Now I am among the 400-500. The world has opened up and people have begun to travel again, but not here where zero tolerance strategy is still king.


This could be near any lake in Denmark. But it is at Shing Mun reservoir in Hong Kong.

I’m tired. It’s 01:22am. Let’s finish this entry off with pictures…


Ultra-wifey and I had Impossible burgers a Cabo Burger in Kwai Chung the day she left to go home. I found them mind-blowing good! Impossible meat is plant based and likely not much better health-wise. But it's better for the planet. And it turned out to be the best burger I've had for a long while! Cabo Burgers is super popular and there's always a long queue out in front. A reason why I haven't had one of their burgers until now. But Ultra-wifey and I showed up 10 minutes before they opened and got in line as the first. Nice memory.


Ultra-wifey and I did an easy hike with Anita (who's wonderful), her husband Christian and their little son Victor. If we are not collecting memories then what the hell are we doing?


Here I am with Captain Claus Rindebaek onboard Nordborg Maersk. Seafarers are some of the purest people I know of on this planet. Men and women alike. And these days we are receiving support from the likes of Captain Vikas from Anglo-Eastern, from Frank of Modern Terminals Limited which makes me think the "F" in his name stands for 'friendly' and a bunch of other people in the business. We will surely find a way to move forward. But why the heck does it have to be this complicated?!? What can we do if not: Keep on keeping on!




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


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Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - try a few steps in my shoes!

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

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