Monday, September 25, 2006

The King of Violins

Last week we went to hear the most expensive instrument played at HK's City Hall: the Lady Tennant Stradivarius.

There is no word to describe that concert. The mystery of the Strad sound will always remain a mystery.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Underwater Mongkok - written by Matty!

Today we gave up our traditional relaxed Sunday morning routine for a 6am start, to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary (Xinjiang) underwater. After getting married as far from the sea as you can get we thought it appropriate to be right in the sea one year later.

The ride from Lantau to Sai Kung was smooth and cool in the early morning air which is just starting to give us hints of autumn. The dive site was at Sharp Island, close to Sai Kung but it was a windy and choppy day so no boats went out further. This meant that at least 12 huge dive boats with about 25 divers on each were all parked over the same few fragments of coral. All the bubbles coming up from the underwater mass of wetsuits made the surface look like a pot of boiling water although underwater we didn't meet any other divers, probably because visibility was only about 10 feet due to all those fins stirring up the mud from the bottom.

We did see a few bright fish and got to test out our new underwater camera case (see pics) but after the submarine glory of Vanuatu our expectations were probably a little high. Most importantly we had a great day together, Bonnie got her very own Japanese lifeguard fins (with big white cross on the bottom) and spent some lovely time together with a sea breeze coming straight in off the Pacific maybe bringing us very subtle scents of our amazing over and under water honeymoon just a year ago.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Back to school

Did i just remember the crazy parties, juicy gossip, late night runs to coffee shops and every day random foolish craziness during my time in Uni? I must've because I think i missed an important element when i decided to return to full-time studies, and that is the fact that your life is pretty much ruled by assignments and deadlines. How soon we forget.

Our PGDE (Post Graduate Degree in Education) class has been plunged into the deep-end already, bombarded with group projects, reports, learning journals, self-directed study groups and so on. I've been nominated "Group Leader" in my group of 6. We will be working closely for the next 10 months; it's a good thing they are all super nice and (more importantly) super hard-working.

The whole experience so far has been a new breath of fresh air, and (so far) i'm riding this euphoric feeling of academia life again.

On another note, last Friday I auditioned to join the Hong Kong Union Philharmonic Orchestra. I thought it would be a great opportunity to play in an ensemble again, to have weekly practices and concerts to work towards but to not have to commit my entire life to it. I managed to pull some piece together the night before (see pic of me concentrating hard), it had been a long time since i had played and my shoulder and neck were already sore after a few minutes. It all worked out though, as i am now sitting amongst the 2nd violins in the Orchestra. All this despite snapping my E string while tuning it 2 minutes before the audition - ah, the panic!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

shopping HK style

I think it takes a different kind of stamina to do the Hong Kong-style shopping: slow and steady, weaving through the throngs of people in heavy traffic and clogged sidewalks. The fact that the air is probably several times as thick and polluted as it is in DB, a little blast from the shops’ air-conditioner when you walk by is a welcome relief. My legs felt limp and weak just after 30 minutes; I would have much preferred to run a half-marathon.