Thursday, November 17, 2011

November updates

Only the second post for November! This is not acceptable. I've been really busy this week. Took a taxi home three days in a row. But let's do things in chronological order.

The day after my hiking practice, I went with a friend from work to watch Tower Heist. It was a pretty good movie. It had action, suspense, and humor. It wasn't really a comedy as in there wasn't a joke and punchline every other minute. The ending got very exaggerated but it was definitely a good movie. The setting is NYC, same as the last movie I saw. There were a few "American" references that I wasn't sure an international audience would appreciate.

Anyway, interesting things about going to the movies in HK. The regular popcorn served is the caramel one. I haven't tasted butter popcorn in theaters yet and not sure if they have them. My theory is that butter (dairy product) is more expensive than sugar... Also, aside from having assigned seats, movies start on time. As in, the previews are played before the advertised time for the movie showing. Both times I've been to the movies here, I got into the theater just as the actual movie started playing. I remarked during one lunchtime to my coworkers that there doesn't seem to be previews. They were like, of course there is!

Last weekend was interesting. I went into the office on Saturday for a few hours. I arrived before noon in order to make an attempt to open another bank account. I chose the Bank of China because it offers a credit card that you can use in the Mainland without charges. I thought I had brought everything I needed but apparently a receipt for my rent does not qualify as proof of address. I had to go print out a bank statement. Anyway, I left my application as it was and went back to finish it this morning. Customer service is lacking here. They didn't really bother to explain things. But I guess it's good that they didn't try to sell me a bunch of stuff. Their online interface is very simple and you get to chose what you see right after you log in. Waiting for my ATM card to come in the mail now. Let's see if this credit card gets approved.

I went to the gym Saturday night but there's too much people there on Saturday nights. There are also too many personal trainers roaming about. They make me nervous. Could start selling me their service at any time. They roam in packs. As I was heading to the shower, I saw that the sauna was on and decided to give it a try. I started sweating intensely after about 5 minutes. I had dinner nearby and by the time I got back, I was extremely sleepy and went to bed early. I felt really sleepy the next morning as well. I felt like the sauna gave me some extra doses of melatonin.

I made a trip out to the Breakthrough Village, the host of our 30km hike on Sunday for the briefing. There were a lot more other participants than I had expected. Many of them seemed to be high school students. We felt old as we saw at the back of the auditorium wondering why we're singing songs instead of learning about useful stuff. I headed to TST after that and I had my third lympathic massage. Again, I felt extremely sleepy afterwards. I guess it's good to get more sleep on the weekends.

This week, I went from never having gone to the Buildings Department (BD) to going there every single day. All the civil engineering projects here have to be submitted to a government body for extra checking and approval. It's an interesting process. We had submitted our drawings for some trial (test) piles and had been communicating with the BD officer to address his concerns. It's apparently common to get a lot of comments and have extra conditions imposed on your submission during the approval process. This whole process takes up a lot of time and effort. But it's very interesting because you must know your own submission and project very well in order to answer questions. I'm beginning to see more and more of the entire design process here in HK. My team definitely wants me to be more independent and be able to do more of the non-analysis parts of projects.

Next week will be another long week as we are trying to push out another submission. But Thursday evening will be another geotechnical team workshop. This time it will be by the slope team. And Friday night, our team is having a team gathering. We're going bowling and then hot pot. Should be fun.

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