Friday, 15 May 2009

The last can of Tsingtao

The minibar fridge in the hotel room was a good place to keep a couple of tins of Tsingtao beer for the odd moments when I wanted a drink for normal prices. Two large tins of beer for around a quid - how I appreciate the 7-11 store. But when it came time to check out of the hotel on the last morning, I found I still had a large tin of beer left. After packing everything else, I put the beer in a bag with a couple of bottles of water, one for me and one for Llewellyn, with the idea of giving it to someone before it got too warm out of the fridge. I didn't want to drink a beer at that time of the morning. I thought I would give it to one of the staff in the hotel, but they really did not look the drinking type, and they had not done anything special, anyway. I passed the doorman, and thought about giving it to him, but somehow I felt it would just confuse him. We ended up carrying it all the way to the White Star Ferry terminal. I'd almost forgotten about it when I saw two tramps drinking beer and arguing loudly in Chinese at each other. I was relieved to have found someone who would really appreciate a tin of beer, and they did. They were well pleased with the unsolicited gift, and I was happy to have added to their contentment for today.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Busy day

The Thursday of my Hong Kong trip was packed with things to do. In the morning I got up early and spent a couple of hours editing a document for a company back in UK who needed my input. After that I had breakfast, then went to the office I'd been given in Hong Kong Polytechnic University to prepare the slides for my lunch-time seminar. My topic was "Managing a peer-reviewed journal: processes and policies" and I prepared some graphs of our performance with Construction Management and Economics, to explain how we did things, and how well we did things as editors. I also explained what kind of things were likely to succeed for authors who wanted their papers to be published. The seminar was packed out, I'm glad to say, and the questions were probing and challenging. It was an enjoyable seminar, but in total must have occupied two hours.

From the seminar at HKPU, Llewellyn and I made our way to City University, HK, to meet our colleagues there and talk about the potential for future collaboration as well as have a tour of their facilities. They showed us their environmental chamber, still under construction and an improvement on the one we have in Reading, because it can split into two rooms for various kinds of experiment. They also showed us their new wind tunnel, which was really impressive with its 300 bhp motor, and an experimental area the size of a study. There is a lot that we could do together, so we had a lot to talk about, but the time soon came when we had to meet the car that was to take us to Hong Kong Island.

We went to Admiralty at the end of the afternoon in the HKPU Jaguar so that I could give an industry seminar to the HK branch of Chartered Institute of Building. We got there early enough to go for a coffee, and I set up the computer with my slides for a talk about the research I had done on the costs of tendering. Again, the room was packed out, and the the seminar went well, with plenty of questions at the end. Fortunately, I had hit the spot with my talk and highlighted things that really concerned these contractors and consultants. After this, the CPD committee of HK CIOB took us for a banquet, which was rather splendid.

After the banquet, everyone went their separate ways, but Llewellyn and I fancied a bit more beer, so we returned to Lan Kwai Fong and found a relatively quiet bar where we could sit and watch the world go by while we paid attention to some beer. Draft beer called, funnily enough, Lan Kwai Fong. The people walking by were mainly young, some surely as young as 12 or 13, and mostly having a great time dressed up and making a noise. I guess we were there until about 2 am. What a great day.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

HKU Civil Engineering

Today we took a trip to the Civil Engineering Department of Hong Hong University, to meet Prof Mohan Kumaraswamy and Prof Albert Kwan, the Head of Department, among others. We had a brief chat first, sharing some tales about our work, and the issues we deal with, then I gave a seminar on flexibility in procurement to a packed room, with a mixture of industry and academics. I was very pleased with the turnout, and with the level of the questions. There was a lot of interest in this kind of research, and I could have gone on for much longer, but we were all getting hungry, so we finished at lunch-time, taking ourselves off to the staff cafeteria and continuing our conversation about research, publishing and so on. That evening we were the guests of Weisheng Lu, at the Kowloon Renaissance Hotel, where we were treated to a buffet style, all-you-can-eat kind of a meal and some really fine wine.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Hong Kong University

After a morning in the office, today's excursion was across to Hong Kong Island to meet our colleagues and have lunch at Hong Kong University, Department of Real Estate and Construction. We had a good discussion with various colleagues regarding recent developments in research and the potential for working together in the future. It was great to meet up with old friends again.

There are plenty of opportunities to work together in the future, and we spent a bit of time developing some of the ideas in principle, with a view to following them up in more detail later. In the evening, we met up with Eddie Hui and Heng Li and went drinking in Lan Kwai Fong. We had a good time in a bar called Lux, and then went for a Malaysian curry. I think we had some more beer, and then some more again.

Monday, 11 May 2009

First full day

Arriving on time at Hong Kong PolyU, I met Daniel Chan in the reception area, after bumping into Patrick Lam. Heng Li was there before long, limping nicely after getting a football injury, and we discussed the programme for the week. I got introduced to my office all set up for me, with computer and printer. Everything was set for a busy week. Lunch was with Prof Geoffrey Shen, Albert Chan, Patrick Lam and Daniel Chan, and I was very happy to be back with the gang.

I was soon set up in the office and working through e-mails between chats with various members of staff who popped in from time to time to say hello and compare notes about what we were all up to. The day was over quite quickly and in the evening, Llewellyn and Christy took me for a wander around the markets and shops of Mongkok. It's a busy and colourful place!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Hong Kong

Just arrived in Hong Kong after a quiet flight. Time to get settled in ready for a week's worth of meetings... Hard to believe that the same road works are still taking place in Kowloon after six years!

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Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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