Day 722 – HONG KONG: Still in big city Hong Kong

Just a quick report of recent events here in Hong Kong…

1. Repairs to trailer hitch: Check
2. Meeting with legend local skaters: Check
3. Visa ready to be picked up: Check
4. Digital Camera handed in for repairs: Check
5. New skateboard wheels ordered from the US: Check
6. Interview with local newspaper: Check

1. The trailer hitch that was hastily designed and put together for me in the US had developed some issues recently. This is the first time that something like this has been developed for a skateboard, so unforseen issues were to be expected.

The tounge that attaches to my skateboard is made of aluminium, and the pin that goes through the tounge is stainless steel. With the continuous pulling action on the tounge by the pin, the hole in the soft aluminium tounge elongated, meaning that with each push I made, the trailer would jerk back and forth.

At Lee Kam Fai's metalwork shop in Hong Kong

Rob Luxton, who is heavily involved in the interior and product design world in Hong Kong, took me to Lee Kam Fai’s metal working shop to see if something could be done to fix the problem. Lee Kam Fai took one look at the hitch setup and instantly came up with a workable solution:

Skateboard trailer hitch strengthening in Hong Kong Skateboard trailer hitch strengthening in Hong Kong

Skateboard trailer hitch strengthening in Hong Kong Skateboard trailer hitch strengthening in Hong Kong

Two stainless steel plates on either side of the aluminium plate. Seems to work well, and we’ll see how it lasts. I am concerned about losing the nuts though…they have spring washers attached, but they may still vibrate loose. I will have to try to find some nylock nuts or some Loctite.

2. I met with founder and administrator Warren Stuart on Saturday after he read a post I had made on the forum asking about skate shops in Hong Kong. Warren is a bit of an institution in Hong Kong, involved in the skateboarding scene for many years.

Photo by 8Five2 Skate Shop, Hong Kong

We met at 8Five2 Skate Shop on the second floor of the United Success Commercial Center at 506-508 Jaffe Rd, Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. It is the only skate shop I know of in Hong Kong that sells good quality bearings (Bones Bearings). Warren and I went down to the Excelsior Hotel and he shouted me a quick meal of as-good-as-they-get-in-Hong-Kong fish and chips at an ex-pat bar. Thanks Warren!

Photo by Warren Stuart, Hong Kong

I took my entire longboard touring rig into town with me to show Warren. Mind you, skating through Hong Kong on a longboard is not ideal – too many people around.

Photos by Warren Stuart, Hong Kong

3. I was supposed to go and pick up my visa for China on Friday, but got into Hong Kong central city and realised I had forgotten my receipt for collection. So that has been put off until Monday.

4. I had dropped my digital camera (again) about two months ago in Urumqi. The damage was not fatal, but meant that some of the buttons did not work. There is a Canon service center in Hong Kong, so I dropped the camera off to be fixed. The quote for repairs was steep: 2,100 HKD, or about 200 Euro. Still cheaper than a new camera, so I asked them to go ahead with the repair. Should be ready to pick up mid-next week.

5. On Monday I ordered some new wheels from Seismic, a skateboard company in the US. Those wheels should arrive mid-next week also. They are slightly smaller and slightly softer than the wheels I have now, so I am looking forward to seeing the difference, if any.

6. I have been interviewed by a major newspaper, the South China Morning Post, and will possibly have a feature story run about me. Thanks to Rob Luxton for setting this up!

Speaking of Rob Luxton, he’s posted his version of events, since I’m crashing at his place…

See towards the end of his blog post. Pity, I missed out on the bun festival.

Rob is living on Cheung Chau Island, and has the patience and tolerance of a saint. Big thanks to him for letting me share his space while I potter around Hong Kong!

Day 717 – HONG KONG: Dwarfed by the city

Mong Kok, Hong Kong

// Gaze up.
// Swallowed.
// Jagged teeth of the city skyline surrounds.
// Dizzy.

Yellow construction hard hats in Hong Kong

// Humans, like ants.
// Propel progress.
// Push forward.
// Power.

Mong Kok, Hong Kong

// Consume.
// Produce.
// Live.
// Be.

Near Central Plaza, Hong Kong

A bird competing with human progress in Hong Kong

// Subways smooth and chic.
// Dazzle.
// Cutting edge design.
// Create.

Subway in Hong Kong (Causeway Bay)

// Pushed away.
// Out of sight.
// Obsolete.
// Waiting.

Mong Kok, Hong Kong


Dropped my visa application off to the Chinese visa office today. No big dramas. I had my flight and hotel bookings sorted. No worries. Picking the visa up on Friday.

Hong Kong is mad.

Mong Kok, Hong Kong Pedestrian crossing on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Progress in Hong Kong

Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Day 716 – CHINA (HONG KONG): A whirl-wind (and video update)

What a whirlwind! The 30 hour train ride turned out to be 42 hours, but I made it to Rob Luxton‘s place in Hong Kong unscathed…well, mostly.

On the train to Hong Kong (from Lanzhou to Guangzhou, China)

I got on the 11.22pm train from Lanzhou to Guangzhou with little drama. My skateboard and trailer snugly stowed under the lower bunks, I climbed into my top bunk and dropped dead for about 10 hours.

I slept well on the train, and only got out of my bunk a few times during the 30 hours I thought it would take to get to Lanzhou. In the morning of the second day in the train, I asked a fellow passenger when we would be arriving. 5pm, was the reply. A tad bit longer than I had expected.

So I spent another few hours tossing and turning in my bunk.

Arrival in Guangzhou, I fought for a ticket for a train to Shenzhen, the border city with Hong Kong. Got on the train, arrived Shenzhen 5pm. Stopped in at an internet cafe, had dinner at an Uyghur restaurant. The restaurant people were confused. A guy with long stubble – almost a beard – not Chinese, comes in wanting beef fried rice. They figure I must be Muslim. A Xinjiang local at least. No, I tell them, wrong on both counts. They still look confused. Then I tell them I am skating across China…

I got across to Hong Kong by 8pm. Not before I was held up at the Chinese border. The immigration officer was not happy with the amount of visas in my passport, for some reason. 30 minutes worth of waiting, my passport was registered and I was interviewed, and then I was allowed to exit the country.

At the Hong Kong border, “How long will you be staying in Hong Kong, sir?”

“As short as possible,” I reply. “How long am I allowed to stay?”

“How about 90 days?”

So….I leave China. I am now in….China.

With 90 days stamped in my passport. For free. 90 days…in…China.

Yes…yes, I am confused.

I don’t stop to argue, and I follow my nose and Rob’s directions to his place on one of the outlying islands, a 45 minute ferry ride away, managing to get on the very last ferry for the day.

I am greeted with this on the door of his 1/2 bedroom apartment:

Rob Luxton's place in Chueng Chau, Hong Kong

Well, I guess I am a ‘trans-continental longboarder’.

Rob is not here. But I am. Phew. Made it.

And today I made a video of the last few weeks action. Sorry about the terrible quality. Had to do it on a Mac, and couldn’t figure it out proper. The Youtube version (which is even more terrible quality) is here (