They say your school days are the happiest days of your life. Personally, I strongly suspect that whoever came up with that rather depressing proposition never had a 6 month long all-expenses-paid holiday in Hong Kong courtesy of their employer!
I exaggerate slightly - we did have to do SOME work in that six months. Not sure how we crammed it in amongst the scuba-diving trips, dragon boat racing, junk expeditions and video CD sessions but I think a few of us recorded a chargeable hour or two.
Part of the package, which included free accommodation (in a tower block complete with with awesome views) and even a Filipino lady who ironed your underwear for you, was a ready-made group of equally hedonistic types to share breakfast at the Ritz with. Somehow I managed to grab enough time between hardcore eating and drinking sessions to take a few photos.
Hong Kong weekends varied only in so far as there were a number of different ways of getting wet.
I learned quite early on to jump in the sea before anyone had the chance to throw me in - if you weren't getting a sea-water colonic irrigation by attempting to
water-ski you would probably be having your sun-factor 20 blasted clean off your face by a military-grade waterpistol.
Myself and Chris attempt to stay dry by taking the controversial step of wearing our suits and relaxing on the sofa from our flat. Here we are seen plotting world domination as our evil henchmen stand guard over the Junk
Food and Drink
Hong Kong offers not only the opportunity to spend more on a bottle of beer than even those used to the prices in London would have thought possible, but also the chance to have an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom style banquet where your food stares at you from the table as if it was going to jump out and eat you if you didn't get in first.
There are essentially two varieties of restaurant in Hong Kong as far as I could figure out. You can either go to the "ex-pat" restaurants where chicken's feet aren't compulsory but a bottle of wine costs more than the average family car, or brave the local Cantonese places where there is no English on the menu but the whole meal including beer only costs 12p.
One good option after a hard day's email banter in the office is to take your junk out to one of the islands such as Lamma or Cheung Chau with a few colleagues and order a seafood banquet. If you invite sufficiently irritable company you can have hours of fun watching people storm off in a huff when they can't agree on what to order. A more experienced ex-pat let me in on his secret, which was always to order a portion of sweet and sour chicken on top of the more adventurous dishes so at least you've got something you know is edible. I think a particularly valuable tip is not to even think about eating anything on Cheung Chau island during the bun festival. In celebration of something or other they make all the food vegetarian and cover it with an oozing layer of jellified slime! There is a thing called vegetarian fish which involves a fish-shaped jelly-mould filled with tasteless grey paste. In fact I say tasteless but that's doing it a favour - trust me you'd be praying for tasteless after sampling a few of these festive specialities!
To be serious, there is some fabulous food on offer in Hong Kong. Breakfast buffet in the Ritz Carlton is an absolute bargain - they clearly don't have too many trainee lawyers eating there otherwise they wouldn't be able to make a profit out of serving all-you-can-drink champagne and a lavish all-you-can-eat buffet for the whole day for £30!
Where do I start? Hong Kong is heaven for photographers. From the man-made beauty of the neon skyline to the tranquillity of the hills, the smoky charm of the ancient temples and the bustle of the local markets it's an absolute feast of aesthetic pleasures. I'll let the pictures speak for me: