Gfy, Hong Kong.

Palawan, Philippines

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Within six hours of landing back in Hong Kong, I had completely written myself off in Wan Chai and had somehow managed to lose a shoe. I needed to leave. The following day, I caught the earliest flight to the Philippines.

I flew from Hong Kong to Busuanga, via Manila. I obviously didn’t leave Manila airport because I would prefer that my vital organs remain unharvested. I spent the four hour layover searching for my travel partner, H, and subsequently having hallucinogenic dreams on the most unforgiving airport furniture in South East Asia.

Jet lagged, hungover and very anxious, I wanted to kill someone, anyone, as we meandered from Busuanga Airport, through the jungle, in a dilapidated mini van. Despite making my hostility towards other human beings patently obvious, there is always one. I had the great pleasure of sitting next to some gap year imbecile, who, much to my disdain, was quite the conversationalist. Fortunately, H fielded all of his puerile questions, as I quietly gouged my eyes out.

Arriving in Coron Town, we aptly christened our first hostel, ‘the church’. It was a dingy, oak-panelled squat, filled with a worrying amount of religious paraphernalia. The hostel owner resembled a shrunken head in a dress and was approximately 103 years old. She spoke no English and would stand in our bedroom for inappropriate periods of time, grimacing. Finding the whole ordeal somewhat unnerving and desperate to escape from Gollum, I insisted that we left after two nights. Terrible.

Our next hostel was a welcome contrast: it was a beautiful wooden structure, built on stilts in the water; the views were incredible. We spent a significant quantity of time lying in hammocks and drinking bottles of San Miguel Pilsen (45 pence each). There were however, a couple of mild quandaries. The first: the distinct lack of air conditioning. The hostel, in a considered attempt to mitigate this, provided us with antiquated fans from the 1970s: mine sounded like a jet turbine and worked somewhat erratically thanks to the intermittent power cuts on the island.

The second issue: no running water. The ‘washroom’ was approximately 2ft2 and crawling with ants. To my utter horror, I was forced to wash using a bucket, a scoop and a trickle of glacial water. It was all fairly degrading and in hindsight, packing my Jo Malone bath products was horribly, horribly naïve. H managed to evade to whole ordeal through boycotting all acts of sanitation.. for nine days. I made no attempt to disguise my revulsion.

Most days, we hired a small boat to explore the the truly mesmerising outlying islands. The beaches were adorned with the whitest sand and framed by crystal clear waters. We spent our afternoons snorkelling around ship wrecks and diving in hidden lagoons. I Instagrammed the fuck out of everything, obviously.

The supreme beauty of the islands, however, had a peculiar effect on my comrade, who decided that she was going to pack in law school, become a turtle whisperer and live in a cave. Naturally, I feared and loathed all facets of the idea. H thus spent the week in a state of delusion, preaching about how ‘phenomenal’ life is. I meanwhile, desperately sought ways to euthanise her.

The Philippines is undeniably exquisite. The food, however, is fucking atrocious. And I thought German cuisine was bad. Most meals involved some dubious looking meat and badly fried rice. Their local delicacy is balut, a boiled egg containing a developed duck foetus: I have no words. As a result, H and I pursued a strict liquid diet of San Miguel Pilsen, which, on one occasion, almost resulted in us purchasing an acre of mango farm.

Despite definitely giving myself malignant melanoma and acquiring mosquito bites that almost had me banished to a leper colony, I had the most wonderful week.

Palawan, we shall meet again.

Gfy, Hong Kong

Singapore & Bali

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Reading week, semester one.

Who: Myself and four charming Canadians.

Singapore

Let’s be clear: Singapore is fun for approximately three hours, whereupon you will have spent your life savings on an underwhelming Singapore Sling and the climate will have rendered you clinically insane. The highlights of my visit were my wonderful hosts and spending time with a dear friend, Harriet. That is all.

Bali

Our first destination was Kuta. Kuta is the culturally destitute drip-tray of Bali. It comprises a strip of bars, some distinctly average restaurants and an alarming amount of stalls selling phallic bottle openers. It would also appear that all other tourists in Kuta herald from some gene puddle on the Australian coast. I have always naively presumed that mullets and tribal tattoos were safely left in the 90s; I was horribly misguided, apparently.

After one night in the delightful Kuta, we headed inland, to Ubud. Famed for its temples and endless rice paddies, it was a welcome change.

On our first full day, we embarked on a daylong cycle tour of the region. Despite the ease of the trail, J managed to mutilate three bikes and the rest of us were rendered infertile by the unforgiving saddles. J and T spent the majority of the tour marauding paddy fields with their iPads, instagraming. Later, we stopped at a coffee plantation and sampled the world’s most expensive coffee. Now, I am no coffee connoisseur but I can state, with confidence, that Balinese coffee is absolutely terrible. If you have $20USD that you would willingly waste on a kilogram of that shite, I suggest you end it all now.

The following day, we awoke at 2am to climb Mount Batur, a volcano, to watch the sun rise. The climb took a couple of hours and was moderately difficult, namely because it was in the dark. My torch was nigh on fucking useless, which really added to the overall experience. When we reached the peak for sunrise, the early start and severed ankles became irrelevant. The view was truly breathtaking. J however froze to death because he had neglected to study S’s four-page itinerary, clearly stating that warm clothing was needed. His blatant disregard for the spreadsheet reared its ugly head on several occasions during the course of the trip, it was not well received.

Our final destination was Semenyak, where we hired the most obnoxious villa. We were joined by a great group of girls on exchange in Singapore and our other pals from Hong Kong. The days were spent surfing, relaxing by the poolside or pretending to give a fuck about some temple on a rock. Our evenings comprised of aggressive drinking games and as a result, some fairly dubious behaviour.

With a flight at 8am the following morning, I naturally felt it appropriate to get absolutely rendered on my final evening. It transpires that Densapar airport is really terrible. I arrived at around 6.30am drunk and disorientated. A public breakdown swiftly ensued, primarily induced by some mongoloid blasting a homemade Skrillex mash-up, at 7 o’clock in the morning. I was relieved to return to the First World.

Great week, great people.

Gfy, Hong Kong

Hong Kong 7s: II

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Saturday morning was truly terrible. Having spent a significant portion of it tanking water and crying into my pillow, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never actually make it into the infamous South Stand at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

I eventually heaved my corpse to the stadium, whereupon I naively set about procuring myself a ticket. I’m not sure who I was expecting to deal with, but it transpires that scalpers are a fairly nefarious bunch. Worse still, a harrowing number of them were from the North of England. In a moment of sheer cunning, I agreed to pay a midget to smuggle me in with his wristband, on the premise that I could never leave. This all seemed far more normal at the time.

I’m not sure I was mentally prepared for what I was about to witness. I was thrust into a sea of maniacs in elaborate fancy dress who were singing, dancing, vomiting. Within seven minutes of arrival, I was being accosted by the Mario Brothers. My anxiety levels were through the fucking roof.

We hit the booze fairly aggressively and there were some real highlights. I am still convinced that the chap who came as Lego Jimmy Saville is my soul mate. Then there was the Frenchman who exposed his devastatingly inadequate penis for several minutes during a conversation. A lot of urine was launched across the stands and not one of us can recall a single game of rugby. Holy J Christ, the men.

Evening approaching, we decided to call it a day and return home to prepare for a night out in LKF for Harriet’s 21st. If only it was that simple. Whilst queuing for a taxi, I got chatting to two middle-aged Australians. Despite trying my utmost to offend them both, they appeared to find my obnoxious manner somewhat charming. Imagine my dismay. Before I knew it, we were sat eating steak in Soho, polishing off our second bottle of red. Another bottle and a £600 bill later, the Aussies waved their ‘British Shelia’ off in a taxi. Absolute heroes. I never saw them again; it was a genuine act of kindness.

I’m not pretty enough to roofie, clearly.

I arrive back to my room, three hours behind schedule and completely annihilated. But, one unplanned power nap and a motivational FaceTime later, I am on my way to LKF, guns blazing. The night was a blur. I recall celebrating the arrival of Harriet’s 21st at midnight with a pyrotechnic bottle of champagne that was absolutely a fire hazard. From there we hit my favourite club, Fly, whereupon we ended up on a private table with some promoters. I had to change ever facet of my personality. They were the worst people in the world.

I woke up around 7pm on Sunday afternoon, ate a KFC and resurfaced circa Tuesday morning.

Gfy, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong 7s: I

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The weekend of the Hong Kong Rugby 7s was eventful. So much so, I am forced to regale the story in two parts.

It all began on a Thursday night, whereupon I headed out into LKF to meet some University of Bristol friends, who were in town from Singapore. It was absolute hell. I have never witnessed anything quite like it. The normally busy streets of LKF were impassable. People in fancy dress make me very anxious.

I have no doubt that the worst human being you ever meet will be an Englishman, abroad.  LKF was teaming with them. Take this combination, add the mandatory inebriation and a large dose of testosterone and you’ll have reversed the evolution of man by approximately 10,000 years.

Thus, LKF was an absolute shit show. We were all far too sober.

Fortunately, I managed to coerce a barman into plying us with free vodka and things were looking up. Suitably smashed, we decided to escape the chaos and stumble to a more swanky establishment: Dragon-i. Everyone loves this club; I personally think it’s full of complete wankers. Several bottles of champagne, a few unsavoury propositions and a purse full of business cards later, we all called it a night.

I was awoken early the next morning, hideously hungover, by a phone call ordering me to be at Central Ferry Pier within the hour to join a rugby team from Melbourne on their boat. Despite being from my least favourite Commonwealth, they boys were great craic. By 10.30am I was at sea, drinking a beer and trying desperately not to projectile over anybody. In no time at all, I had witnessed someone taking a shot from another’s ball-sack: it became apparent very quickly that all etiquette was left on the quayside.

After several hours of drinking and sunbathing we arrived at Stanley to embark on a bar crawl; ‘crawl’ being the operative word. Pacing myself, I stuck to beers. Natalie, however, took it upon herself to skull two bottles of rosé in roughly 30 minutes. Despite holding herself out as formidable binge drinker, she had grossly overestimated her capabilities on this occasion. Some dubious behaviour later, I was pouring her into a taxi. As a responsible and concerned friend, I waved the bitch off, continued the festivities and headed to the rugby.

After six hours off the grid, Natalie rang me from her bed, having awoken clasping a key to a Starbucks restroom, a renewed passport and a bus ticket to Wan Chai.

I arrived home wearing a white top hat and a t-shirt from ‘The Smugglers Inn’.

Gfy, Hong Kong

Lan Kwai Fong II

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I feel that it is time to discuss some of my more recent escapades. Nobody likes to live in the past, not least myself.

March, 2013

I knew my Saturday had taken a nosedive when, whilst enjoying a pleasant afternoon at the beach, my friend Natalie decided to lace my ice slushy with King Roberts vodka.

Let me tell you a little about Natalie. I avoided her for the majority of first semester because I genuinely thought that she was clinically insane. Anyone who can voluntarily down half a bottle of neat spirits, and not die, cannot be normal. This semester it transpires that Natalie is indeed quite mental, but in an excellent, non-asylum way.

I digress.

Having spent the remainder of my afternoon consuming several spiked slushies, by the time it came to heading back, I was absolutely trousered. One horrendous bus journey later, I arrived home with the intention of heading back out to LKF.

The night started very agreeably, sipping cocktails in Tazmania Ballroom. The clientele consists largely of bankers, lawyers and Russian prostitutes, naturally. Sometime later, Natalie and I got chatting to two friendly African Americans from New York. One worked for Adidas in some rogue Chinese province and the other worked ‘in magazines’: I am essentially certain that they were both drug lords from Kowloon.

Despite our concerns, we decided to party with them for the rest of the evening because, dealers or not, they were utterly charming. Unfortunately, their idea of a night out involved table service and bottles in every club we visited. Four or five venues later, I had lost the power of coherent speech.

After allegedly demanding that they ‘teach me how to dougie’ and incessantly asking one of them if he was Ludacris, I felt it was time to leave.

Sorry, not sorry.

Tai Long Wan

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Let’s be clear: I hate camping. I have a vehement mistrust for anyone who willingly partakes in a camping ‘holiday’.

Notwithstanding this, my friends and I convinced some charming Canadian chaps to join us hiking in the New Territories, with the misguided intention of camping overnight at a beach: Tai Long Wan. After an MTR, a couple of bus trips and a stop at the 7/11 to stock up on alcohol, we reached the start of the hike. It was approximately 32 degrees, 100% humidity and within 12 minutes I began questioning my life choices.

After a couple of hours, we reached what later transpired to be the wrong beach, cracked open the beers and admired the views. Christ, even I have managed to romanticise it.

After drinking throughout the afternoon, by evening we were all pretty annihilated. Now, I had always taken it as good etiquette to be selective in what one divulges, when playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ amongst new company. Apparently not. Who knew Chinese men’s nipples were an erogenous zone?

Sorry, not sorry.

Unfortunately, none of us felt that sleeping bags, or even ground mats, were necessary, choosing only to bring vodka, beer and Pringles. Once everyone had stopped touching one another up and the effects of alcohol had subsided, it all became rather less funny.

Hiking home was interesting. One of our party punctuated the journey with episodes of projectile vomiting; the rest of us were picture, but no sound.

I think we each had a different take on Tai Long Wan. For some it was the hand grenade that destroyed their long-term relationship; for others it was the awkward tent sharing, whilst your mates audibly tried to get laid.

I still hate camping. Nevertheless, I shall always be glad that I decided to go to Tai Long Wan.

Gfy, Hong Kong

Wan Chai I: Messy in Wan Chai

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I apologise for the distinct lack of updates. Must try harder.

So, Wan Chai. Bloody Wan Chai.

Home to Hong Kong’s red light district, Wan Chai is much like LKF, but with less of a gradient, more velvet curtains and plenty of Filipinos in thigh-highs. The only other reason one may venture into Wan Chai is to pay a visit to Immigration Tower, which, for the record, is the worst place in the world.

Wan Chai is messy. The drinks are ridiculously cheap and free on a Wednesday if you are of the fairer sex. There is absolutely no decorum; primitive behaviour is mandatory. In Carnegies, girls are encouraged to dance on the bar: the fat girl in the body-con is always a treat.

Upon my first night in Wan Chai, a Wednesday I believe, I got completely blackout. When I blacked back in, it became apparent that I was in a bar called ‘Dusk ‘Til Dawn’, at 5.45am, dancing to an Abba tribute band.

Fortunately, I was in excellent company.

Gfy, Hong Kong.