One of our neighbours is a very old day, pleasure boat; it is beautifully quaint and looks relatively well cared for. Today it had it’s canvas sides opened up and its engine started for an ‘airing’ – I have yet to see it go out on the water !
I found my way up into the hills today, whilst out for a run. It had to be done shortly before sunset as it is so hot during the middle of the day, however this does mean that the light is so much nicer for photography. From one point on the path I had the option of these two views, the top one to my left was ‘downhill’, looking over the Gold Coast Marina, across the Urmston Road Channel to Tung Chung town and Sunset Peak on Lantau Island and the bottom one to my right was ‘uphill’ at a ‘man-enhanced’ waterfall. I’ve parodied the title of the blog from the chorus line lyrics of the 1972 song by Stealers Wheel entitled ‘Stuck in the Middle with you’ to which you can listen and watch by following the link.
I got up very early Hong Kong time this morning to see the Olympic opening ceremony live at a very late UK time yesterday – can you follow the logic in that?. I very much enjoyed the show and, after my blog yesterday mentioning Tim Berners-Lee, I was delighted to see him present, involved and lauded during the show. At about the ‘G’ of the Countries marching into the stadium, I went out onto the roof deck to take photos of dawn. For the first day in 6, the rain had stopped and the skies were clearing. Inspiration on the TV, inspiration in the atmosphere above – if I can stay awake for the rest of the day it should be a good one!
Thanks to some altruistic and gifted individuals in the world of technology and software; Tim Berners-Lee showed the way ahead when he invented the internet and ‘gave it away to the world’ – plus my ability to follow an idiot’s step-by-step guide – I was able to connect my phone to my laptop, download some software and then watch live BBC TV over the internet from today. The Olympics is what I really want to watch and coverage in Hong Kong doesn’t appear to be available on free-to-air, it’s only available from one cable provider, you have to sign up to a 24 month contract, the rest of their programming is rubbish and I don’t even have a TV here yet. Here’s the weather forecast for tonight’s London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, the backdrop to which is yet more rain here in Hong Kong.
Today we became owners of our new home in Hong Kong. How exciting! All it needs now is the rest of the family to be here to live on it, our removable belongings to be in it and the incessant rain to stop! I can do nothing about the latter, but the first two desires should be met in a couple of weeks’ time; I can’t wait!
I was always going to struggle with writing anything so dramatic after yesterday’s blog entry, but have tried to match it with the title at least! The legacy of Typhoon Vicente has lingered all through yesterday and today; the rain has hardly let up at all and the skies have remained leaden and threatening. This being Hong Kong, commerce and business have not been slow to recover, but transport systems have taken a little longer to get back to normality. Towards the end of the day, I got fed up with being cooped in all day and decided to go get wet – and I felt so much better for it. I think the gaudy statue is supposed to represent the unique Chinese pink dolphins that inhabit the waters around here; perhaps one day I’ll be lucky enough to see one in the flesh.
A few hours after I had gone to bed, Tropical Storm Vicente morphed suddenly and unexpectedly into Severe Typhoon Vicente. At a distance of about 120km from central Hong Kong its fury was being keenly felt. You may have gathered from yesterday’s photo that I had gone to bed on a boat – and that boat was by now rocking and rolling enough to wake me up. Over the next few hours I could only hold on tight as the boat pitched and bounced like some demented stallion at a rodeo. The wind was howling through the superstructure and the rigging of boats all around me and their mooring lines and fenders squeaked, popped and groaned and they struggled to hold boats in place and prevent them from crashing into either each other, adjacent piers, or jettys. I kept myself updated on the Typhoon’s progress through the wonderful Hong Kong Observatory website (isn’t it amazing that amidst all nature’s fury, not only does the internet continue to function, but we continue to rely on it) and kept my wife, in UK, updated on my plight. I was considering going outside to check and adjust the mooring lines, but with the website reporting measured wind speeds locally of 100+kph and at a maximum of 190+kph within Hong Kong, thought it prudent not to step outside! By this stage the Observatory was issuing the ‘Hurricane level 12 Warning’ – the first time in 13 years that things had been so bad. Warnings were also in place for landslides and flooding. The storm peaked at about 2.30 am when the ‘eye’ of the Typhoon was just under 100km away from central Hong Kong and it was about an hour later that I recorded these images from the Observatory on my iPhone. The first shows the wide area satellite image. The ‘eye’ of the Typhoon is just to the southwest of Hong Kong, but its coverage can be seen extending from Taiwan in the east, The Philippines in the south, and Hainan Island and Vietnam to the west. The second image is centred on Hong Kong and gives a graphic image of the Typhoon’s shape in recording rainfall levels. The final image is the ‘meat’ of the Observatory’s commentary, which was continually updated. Some time between 4 and 5 a.m things calmed down enough that my fatigue from yesterday overcame even nature’s waning efforts and I fell asleep. The boat and I survived; countless trees didn’t.