Liebster Awards

A couple of weeks ago I was nominated for a Liebster Award, very kindly, by thisgirlabroad. My blog is one of, and I quote, ‘amusing stories’ and ‘photos’. Which is the best summary any one could give my efforts. It’s fair to say I haven’t felt as proud since I won a colouring-in competition aged 5.



The Liebster is an award for lesser-known blogs: sites that may not have much clout or presence in the grand scheme of the internet, but that brighten up the days of those who stumble across them. As a nominee, I had to answer these ten teasers:

1. What made you choose the life of an expat and/or traveler?

Ouch. Tough opening question. Let’s try some generic responses: I didn’t choose this life, it chose me… I left home to find myself and, well, I’m still looking… Truth is, the majority of Hong Kong expats are a world away from the stereotypical traveler – they’re here to work, earn money, live in their Pret a Manger world. I’ve tried to delve a little deeper in to the local culture but it can be tempting to retreat into the expat bubble.

2. What country have you enjoyed playing tourist in the most?

Hmm… Maybe Italy. Because it’s Italy. Or maybe a country where a Westerner walking down the street attracts honks, refrains of songs by the Carpenters, requests for photos or simply just bug-eyed stares. China, Thailand, Japan – thank you. You made me feel like a star.

3. What country would you never want to step foot in again?

There truly isn’t a country I wouldn’t go back to BUT to return to China and Vietnam will require some proper mental preparation. Not that they’re terrible places; they’re just the sort of places where, every five minutes, you have to take a deep breath and count to ten.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who was thinking about expatriating, what would it be?

Try, in some small way, to connect with the local people and culture. I have met too many people who happily (dare I say proudly…) admit that they don’t know how to say ‘Thank you’ in the local language after 5 years.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jesus, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in five minutes. In five years? Well, I might still be in Hong Kong. Or I might have moved back to the UK. Or I might be living in another country. Or I might have invented a mosquito repellent that actually works, even for pasty, ginger people, and be impossibly rich and own my own island, or even archipelago.

6. In your opinion, what country has the best food? Favourite dish?

I would love to be able to choose something odd (snake’s blood, monkey brain…) but I’m a bit squeamish and I’ll have to keep it simple. Thai or Italian? Italian or Thai? If Thai, then creamy, curry Kao Soi noodle soup. If Italian, then Pasta alla Norma in Sicily. But wait, what’s this, Japanese curry coming up on the inside lane? A late contender? I can’t decide.

7. Most embarrassing travel moment?

Being completely unable to control my bowels in a busy hospital waiting room in Thailand. Before that I’d always been skeptical of the phrase ‘Oooh, it were coming out both ends…’ Surely that doesn’t really happen. Not simultaneously. But it does. It does.

8. Why did you start blogging?

When I saw what pass for ‘English’ names in Hong Kong (hello ‘Vodka’…) and felt compelled to share it with the world. Turns out lots of people got there before me. Also, I love writing, and a 500 word blog post is just much more manageable than a novel.

9. What do you most miss from “home”?

Undoubtedly, football matches that don’t kick off in the middle of the night.

10. Post one of your favourite travel shots. (Not really a question, but I’m going to break the rules).



It’s sunrise from the deck of a ferry, with the coast of Sicily in the distance. It sums up the travelling experience: go to Italy, land of Roman ruins and the Renaissance, yet the most beautiful scene actually appears at 5.30 am when you’re in a foul mood through lack of sleep.

So, here are my 10 nominations: – Blog on Middle Eastern living. – Wide ranging travel blog – nice pics! – Covering Hong Kong, and Asia, and beyond. – Funny observations on life in HK. – A genuinely useful blog on living in Hong Kong, with lists and all. – Japan, and some other bits and pieces in between. – A nice blog from my home country. – Representing Spain (a country I once thought about decamping to) and beyond. – A lovely blog from my favourite city in Italy. – Finally, to Thailand, where I lived, once.

And here are the 10 questions that my nominees must answer. Some are travel related; some aren’t, but will reveal a lot about your inner workings:

1. Bungee Jumping? Yes or No?

2. Favourite city? Why?

3. Favourite country? Why?

4. Least favourite place to visit?

5. Dogs or Cats?

6. Hot, sultry weather or shivery, cold weather?

7. What language(s) would like to learn?

8. Best mode of transport upon which to travel?

9. One next place to visit/food to eat/thing to try before you die?

10. Favourite travel picture?



24h de la Nouvelle

I’ve just taken part in a 24 hour writing contest. The premise was to write a short story (1000 words minimum) with a constraint picked at random.

The chosen constraint was: Mention the titles of at least 5 songs by the same artist/band in your story. I got to 11 titles… Give it a click, above, for a gander. But be warned – a lot of them are in French!