Rock Climbing O-Camp and Typhoon Usagi

This post is a rather delayed one, but it suddenly hit me this week that I actually do have work to do while I’m here. I hadn’t forgotten that studying was a requirement of university – even on an exchange year! It’s just that I had got swept up in the excitement of being in a new city and having beaches nearby, along with the weather to enjoy them. As interesting as my courses are, it can be hard to shake the holiday mindset which can make one rather less motivated than usual.

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So those are my excuses and here I am finally telling you about my first experience of an HKU society. At HKU most of the societies hold an Orientation Camp, at the beginning of term, as a chance for members to get to know one another. The rock climbing O-camp was supposed to be a whole weekend of camping on an island, where we could climb the cliff rock faces. Instead, due to the approaching typhoon Usagi, it was shortened to a day trip. We wouldn’t want to camped out in tents, trapped on a small island, when the typhoon came in. Even so, it was still a really fun day out, it gave us the chance to make some more local friends, try out a new sport and explore another one of Hong Kong’s picturesque islands. Despite the storm that was due to arrive on the sunday, saturday was 30 degrees with clear blue skies (I am beginning to wonder if I’m starting to sound a bit smug to my friends in England as it gets colder there). Rock climbing was great fun. I’m not brilliant at it, but it was nice to have the opportunity to try climbing an actual rock face instead of an artificial climbing wall. You do end up with a few more scrapes and bruises however.

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Everyone at the rock climbing event were really friendly and after the even they invited us to join them for dim sum. They wanted to take us to a place where none of the menus were in English as, for the same quality, they are cheaper by far and more authentic (and by cheap I’m talking about £2.20 for a delicious meal that left me absolutely stuffed!). Our fellow Cantonese speaking students, asked us what kind of foods we liked/disliked and then picked a variety of dishes for us to try. They also explained and showed us some traditions, such as washing the bowls with tea before you start eating. Also, apparently the higher up the chopsticks you hold them the better you will marry. So… I’m clearly going to end up with some loser. At the end of the meal, they were even nice enough to write down characters for some of our favourite dishes , so at some point me and my flatmates can go ourselves and try pointing at things on the menu. I just hope that we don’t end up with a load of chickens feet and fish stomach (some of the less appealing traditional dim sum dishes).

On Sunday super typhoon Usagi arrives, or rather didn’t. We taped up the windows and stocked up on food, as advised. We got all worked up by the media reports claiming that the STRONGEST STORM ON EARTH…of 2013 was coming our way. Then after all of that it changed course at last minute and we only felt the very edge of it. On the one hand it was pretty anti climatic but seeing as it killed over thirty people in China, the change of course isn’t something we can complain about. Considering how strong the wind felt and how loudly it howled here when the typhoon was a hundred miles away, it must have been insane near the centre of the storm.

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