Sunday, July 04, 2010


Junk; detritus, garbage, trash, useless objects littering our lives. Not the most positive name for a boat to bear. However, everyone in Hong Kong appears to view a junk trip as the pinnacle of excitement and joy. I'm unconvinced; I like the odd drink, but to be stuck on a floating platform of occasionally questionable seaworthiness, for eight hours without possibility of an early escape, with a gang of assorted alcoholics, exhibitionists, alcoholics, people who think diving into diesel-fouled water is 'fun' and alcoholics, isn't really my thing.

Not that I want to say other people can't enjoy it. And being on a boat on a sunny day is quite fun, as you gently bob up and down and a cool breeze wafts by. But the constant crashing sound of people hurling themselves from the upper deck into the water, or Bob Marley on constant rotation, or jet skis zooming past, or the never ending demand that you have fun, *right now*, in the most demonstrative way possible, these things can get to you. If you're as diffident, reserved, and faintly nervous about watersports as I am, it's a struggle.

(Partly, it's because I've forgotten how to swim at least fourteen times. "Nonsense," people will say, "you never *really* forget how to swim. And in any case, the human body is naturally bouyant." I've disproved both of these statements on a fairly regular basis, whenever I've been immersed in a sufficiently sized body of water. The nadir of this was when a friend took me to an olympic swimming pool and told me to jump in. Being trusting and obedient, I did. And sank to the bottom. After a while, you realise the life aquatic may not be suitable for you.)

Nevertheless, I had an unexpectedly good time on the junk; I might have to skulk around behind dark glasses, face buried in the South China Morning Post, but it wasn't the kind of junk where there was more than one maniac desperate for everyone to join in drinking games at all times. And that guy passed out below decks around 2pm, leaving me safe to read a book. And get sunburnt.

I would blame the sunburn (in Lobster Bay, no less) on the recent good weather, but the fact is that Hong Kong's smog is useless at blocking out UV - I've had sunburn on a cloudy day in February before - so the clear blue skies weren't to blame. Just my own ineptitude in applying sunblock.

Plus sunny days lead to good photo opportunities; I have some pictures of the buildings in Hong Kong that are among the clearest I've ever taken - good for shots from the prow of a speeding junk.


And since it was my girlfriend's birthday today, and she likes junks, I could hardly deny her the treat. I did revenge myself in a terribly petty way this evening, by making her go to a barbecue on a patio in Wan Chai, with no air conditioning, but this ploy backfired when I sweat enough for my shirt to turn transparent, and I had to go home to put a damp cloth on my head.

Maybe it's time the hot weather went away, or at least returned to the normal muggy, cloudy grey days. Isn't that what Hong Kong's really all about?


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