the same sandwich every day

rchicken009carve

I’m trying to cook and eat up as much food as we can before moving. We had rack of lamb when sis came over on saturday so for meals today were lamb. I try not to do that, serve the same meal twice in a row. There’s a guardian article about eating the same sandwich for lunch every day. I’m quite horrified by that. A 2017 survey found that 77% of people surveyed had the same lunch every day for 9 months. A 2013 survey found 50% had the same lunch every day for 6 years. Cheese sandwiches and ham sandwiches were the most popular lunch items.

6 years of cheese sandwiches or ham sandwiches.

Some theories on why. Budget, laziness, not wanting to change. I guess there’s apathy too. No one is happy at work, and I can understand not wanting to have to expend energy thinking about what to eat for lunch. I used to bring a lot of chicken and savoy cabbage lunches to work too.

But 6 years of cheese sandwiches or ham sandwiches?

Interestingly, mefi commenters point out that many people have the same breakfast every day, and no one bats an eyelid. Good point.

I sometimes find it tough to have to think of what to cook twice a day. Which is why I have leftovers, but usually never two meals running. I rotate too, only I have a large enough pool to rotate through so it doesn’t get too boring.

On the sandwich front, tomorrow’s lunch will be roast chicken and roasted peppers wrap. Leftovers from roast dinner and easy to assemble and eat whilst the movers are here.

0.5k

0.5k

I’ll stop posting about packing updates because it’s making me depressed and very stressed.

I wish I have the motivation to go out and take a walk or go for a run. Sigh.

Anyway, a town in Texas will hold a 0.5k in May. That’s not a typo, the race is all of half a kilometer. The race starts at a local brewery (free beer), there’s a doughnut & coffee stop at 150m, and the race ends at another local brewery (more free beer). There’s the usual t-shirt and medals.

There’s even a VIP option, where for an extra $25, the VIPs get to go from start to finish in a 1963 VW bus. They still get the free beers too.

Proceeds go to a charity that provides food for underprivileged children. It all seems so much fun. I think they should expand it, who needs Rock’n’Roll races when there are 0.5ks to be organised.

don’t judge

Today is the semi-annual charity collection. One of the collection points is diagonally opposite us, so it’s really convenient. We had been storing up stuff to give to them, there’s a big pile of clothes, books, kitchen and home stuff. Sis came over to help too, and we carted some bags to the collection point. The building janitor expressed interest in some of the stuff, so we gave some to him. I usually give him old electronics that he can use as parts or sell.

The part-time helper came too so we had 4 pairs of hands packing today. Made some progress. I should be pleased that so much got done, but I’m not. We’re running out of time and there’s still so much stuff not sorted. Why is it so difficult? Takes mum 5 minutes to go through one item of clothing. How can one person have so much clothes?

In terms of distraction and entertainment, how about this 9-year old captioning New Yorker cartoons. It started when her aunt posted her work, which then got noticed by the magazine itself.

dontjudge

I have several favourites. This one is most apt to my current circumstances. I’m trying very hard not to judge, honest.

geoguessr

And, more packing. I made a start on Papa’s room, clearing the old desk and his desk. Keeping paperwork with me when we move, just like I packed the files in my filing cabinet to 4 office boxes.

geoguessr01eye

For a bit of light relief, I’m playing geoguessr. It’s been around for a while. It’s a game that drops the player in a random location and the trick is to put a pin on the google map to as close to the actual location as possible. We can focus on a smaller area, like central london. There’s the blazingly obvious, like the London Eye above.

geoguessr02odeon

Or the obvious to Londoners, like the Odeon Shaftesbury Ave, which I’m surprised is still around.

geoguessr03mews

There are really obscure building sites and residential streets. Luckily we can move around the map and sometimes street name signs are vaguely visible. If not the street name, it may be possible to deduce council. This pretty mews can be anywhere, but walking out to the main street and I could see Post Office Tower in the background so I can guess the approximate location.

Pretty fun game to take my mind off things for a few minutes.

HP 20th anniversary (US)

Packing continues. I’m working on my next sideboard and the kitchen. There seems to be something to pack everywhere. So.much.stuff.

uspotter20thanniversary

I know I put a ton of books to be given away, but I kept all my David Eddings and all the Potters. News about Potter, its US publisher is releasing new covers to mark the 20th anniversary of book 1’s release in the US. The 7 covers come from one giant image and are designed by Brian Selznick.

Think about that for a moment.

20 years.

Technically 21 years because Philosopher’s Stone was first published in 1997. And honestly, at this point, they should just scrap the stupid Sorcerer’s Stone name.

packing

sleepsofa

Have to start packing in earnest, the movers are coming next Tuesday. They will pack everything that is being moved, but our complication is we’re not moving a substantial amount of stuff, which needs to be boxed and labelled ourselves. Plus so much rubbish to throw away.

Took me more than a day to pack the huge glass cabinets in the living room. An entire set of Hornsea dinner set plus an entire cottage tea set. Wedgewood, decoration, wine glasses. Now I need to sort my room, then I can tackle the rest of the flat. But I soon realised: a) I have a lot of stuff crammed into one room; b) I don’t have any space to manoeuvre. The only solution is to dismantle the bed to clear space. It’s amazing how much footprint a bed takes up.

Winter clothes will be packed away and stored in the wardrobe during renovation. The clothes I’ll need for the next 3 months will go in my suitcases. I’m taking the entire contents of my filing cabinet but not the cabinet itself–4 document boxes. I can leave the files behind but I don’t want confidential and personal stuff around while the builders are in. I put 2 shelves of books to the pile for charity collection, there are some books I never read and will likely never read so may as well give them away. Others, I’ll get the ebooks.

It’s becoming clear that most of our possessions are not needed and we keep them due to some hoarding instinct. Why do I need 100 pens? Three large boxes of shoes when I wear one pair at a time? What’s the point of collecting a whole drawerful of small toiletries?

Anyway, I’ll be sleeping on the sofa for the foreseeable future. We’re taking my bedframe and Mum’s mattress and she will sleep in the larger bedroom. I’ll stay on the sofa until we buy a single bed, which will eventually go into the helper’s room.

pubg

I read about this new game in the app store called PUBG mobile. The reviews are very good, and lots of praises for the quality of a mobile game.

I’m not a prolific gamer. I play candy crush or farmhouse heroes. Sometimes I find a game I like I’ll play it a little more then I tend to lose interest. I’ve never paid any attention to shooting games, and this PUBG is just another shooting game. Or so I thought. It’s something called a battle royale game:

Each match drops 100 players into a vast, open map where they scrounge up gear and wage gun battles in an effort to be the last player or squad standing. A randomly selected “safe” zone pushes players into an ever-shrinking portion of the map, ensuring that matches end in a reasonable amount of time.

I don’t know what drove me to download it but I did. It’s pretty hard to see on the small iphone screen, I try to make do.

So I parachute onto an island:

pubg01

I pick up weapons (the game automatically picks up items when I walk over them) and explore the island on my own in a solo game, or with teammates in a duo or squad game:

pubg02

Other players shoot back and it’s a strategy of whether to go in guns blazing or be more cautious. I find when I play in squads I spend a lot of time figuring out where my teammates are and trying to follow them. Teammates are random people, since I don’t have any friends to play with. No idea who or where these random people are; or if they are real people. I usually go to a quiet place to loot then make my way to the circle. Sometimes I get killed by the playzone, I’ve had top 10s a few times. Not very successful in terms of winning.

pubg05

Winners are given a chicken dinner. Dunno why, it’s kinda funny. This win was in a duo, my teammate and I drove up to the top of a hill in a buggy and there was shooting. Teammate was killed, I killed the killer. Then I retreated to behind the buggy to heal up. Just as I was drinking an energy drink, the chicken dinner screen popped up. The last person got killed by being outside the playzone.

Recently, an update gave more game features, including training, faster vehicles and arcade mode where 28 people play in a small playzone. Much faster pace and good practice. Each arcade game focuses on one type of weapon or there’s an all weapons mode too. I’ve played pistols only, melee which has no guns, sniper rifles etc.

pubg06

The first few games in squad I got chicken dinners. Then it either got harder or I got worse. It’s still quite fun.

PUBG (pronounced pub-g, I didn’t know till I watched some youtube videos) is one of a bunch of similar survival shooting games. The others include Fortnite and Rules of Survival. Fortnite has a huge following, and has the most players. I can’t play the mobile version because it doesn’t support iphone 6, ah well. These games are free, and the in-game purchases are quite limited. Different clothing, or a loot box that gives a chance of different clothing. Considering clothes don’t matter in the game, it’s incredible that the games make millions. Must be something about clothes that I’m not getting.

Fortnite is more cartoon-y and allows players to build defensive forts. This spoof video makes fun of the difference. The effects are pretty cool and tongues are firmly planted in cheeks.

I also came across an article describing a ransomware that locks files unless the user plays PUBG. Huh? I think it’s PC only, and infected computers will show a message telling users to play PUBG for an hour. Security experts discovered that playing for 3mins will unlock the files. It feels like an April Fool’s joke.

Anyway, I play a handful of games occasionally. I’m still really bad at it, not having a lot of shooting game experience. I’m not sure how long my interest will hold.

#pokemongo EX raid

Ten days ago I received this:

pokeexraid

My first EX raid invite! I don’t raid a lot though lately I’ve tried to make sure I get at least one of the legendaries. I had to look at the directions on the invite to see where the gym that I won the qualifying raid is located. Aha, it’s the park next to the market. Makes sense, it’s one of the gyms I’ve raided at most frequently. I think I even remember the exact raid that got me the invite.

So anyway, monday at 1pm isn’t a very user-friendly time. I feel sorry for people who need to go to work or school.

I finished lunch early and walked to the park. On the way there was a latias raid so I participated, but didn’t catch it.

I was at the gym around 12.45pm and I was pretty shocked to see there were like 80 people there already. Wow. I had no idea what to do, luckily I overheard someone talk about team yellow, and I asked if I could join. They kindly said yes. It was only when I looked around that I noticed people were standing in small groups by team colour. My Instinct team had 8 people. Almost all the people there seem to know each other! From snippets of conversation, these people play a lot more than me, and take it much more seriously. They talked about an unspoken rule about what time they should occupy gyms, I’m nowhere near that sophisticated.

pokemew

When the raid started, we got into a private group and began fighting Mewtoo. Took him down really quickly. Now I see why teams are split by colours, we all got 11 balls.

I fed him a golden raspberry and threw an ordinary ball, not even nice. And then I got him. First ball. Everyone in my team seemed to have been successful, although one of the aunties asked the younger guy to throw for her, hahaha. Done, I was on my way to the market and the shuttlebus in 10mins.

smugmug buys flickr

smugmugflickr

Big news, smugmug buys flickr. Got the notification:

SmugMug has acquired Flickr.
If you use our products today, rest easy, they aren’t going anywhere.
The future is bright, but we’ll only get there together.
Let’s do this.

I don’t know whether to be glad, relieved or afraid. I’m hoping for the best, because under yahoo, it couldn’t have gotten worse. What used to be one of the best photography websites was completely and utterly rundown by a monster corporation. Many people are surprised flickr is still around.

I’ve heard of smugmug, they seem to be doing well in their niche market of providing storage and sharing facilities for professional photographers. An independent business, they’ve never taken on outside investment nor have they shown any interest in buyout offers. CEO Don MacAskill seems to understand, and has stated that he is a longtime fan of flickr:

Flickr is an amazing community, full of some of the world’s most passionate photographers. It’s a fantastic product and a beloved brand, supplying tens of billions of photos to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

There can be overlap. Smugmug’s core users are enthusiasts and professionals, flickr has professionals but are mainly for enthusiasts and casual users. This is a way for smugmug to expand its business.

There are a massive number of loyal flickr users. If smugmug makes it great again, I’ll probably go back to paying for pro. Member since 2005 with over 33k pics.

Oh, a little tidbit. Did Stewart Butterfield consider buying flickr back:

boston marathon 2018

Last weekend was the Boston Marathon. The unsurprising results were in the wheelchair division: Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug. In the non-wheelchair division the results were complete surprises–Yuki Kawauchi won the men’s and Desiree Linden won the women’s race. Only one Kenyan in either podium positions–Geoffrey Kirui came second in the men’s race. No Ethiopian, and the women’s podium had 3 North Americans.

The weather contributed a lot to the results. Conditions were horrid, cold and windy and rainy. Which made Kawauchi’s and Linden’s victories all that special.

Desiree Linden is an experienced marathoner, representing the US in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and came 4th at Boston last year. She is also a fabulous team player, slowing down mid-race to wait for Shalane Flanagan and again helping Molly Huddle try to close the gap on the leaders. If that isn’t the epitome of sportsmanship, what is.

kawauchiboston

Yuki Kawauchi is the first Japanese winner and he’s always been a legend. He participates in an average of one marathon per month. Just this year alone he’s run 4 marathons and look at his results:

  • Marshfield Road Runners–first
  • Kitakyushu–first
  • New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi–first
  • Boston–first

What’s more amazing is he’s still classified as an amateur–he has a full-time job working for the government of Saitama prefecture and unusually for Japanese runners, is not part of an ekiden. Because of his amateur status, he doesn’t have a sponsor although he is eligible to receive prize money. [Edit: he announced after Boston that he is turning pro.]

Brett Larner at japan running news has a detailed account of Kawauchi’s career leading up to Boston. He ran 2:08:27 at Tokyo 2011 and started looking at entering races abroad. Before this year his work schedule didn’t allow him to run Boston, which takes place on a monday. He has run NYC 3 times because the november race falls in a long weekend in japan.

The planning for Boston 2018 began one year earlier. Brett tells the story of meeting Bill Rodgers at a Red Sox game in 2017 and him recording a short video for Kawauchi. The message: “I know you haven’t run Boston yet. You HAVE TO run Boston.”

Kawauchi’s 2018 results show how versatile and tough he is. He finished 3rd on the brutal downhill 6th stage at the Hakone ekiden which shows he can tackle downhill. He won the Marshfield New Year marathon, Marshfield being south of Boston and it was sub-zero in January. Wan Ji Shi in Taiwan was in hot and humid conditions. All his bases were covered as far as possible Boston weather conditions.

That left strategising against the competition. The Kenyans, the Ethiopians, and the Americans, especially Chicago winner Galen Rupp. What became clear was it’s historically impossible to win Boston by going out fast, leading for the first 25k, and not fast enough in the last 10k. Nobody who goes out hard wins Boston.

So what did Kawauchi do?

He went out hard, very hard, 4:37 first mile. He made everyone in the field go out hard too, and played a little psychological warfare with them. They knew they shouldn’t be going out fast, but had to keep up with him, and at the back of their minds is the conventional wisdom of not going out hard. It must have played on the minds of the others. And then he started breaking them one by one. Rupp broke and ended up DNF, as did many others. The only remaining obstacle was Geoffrey Kirui, and he got passed at around 35k.

tl;dr:

Kawauchi came to Boston fully prepared for any situation. In the words of outside:

On a day when the conventional running wisdom dictated that it would be absolute suicide to take the lead early and bear the brunt of the gale-force winds, Kawauchi not only took the lead, but jetted out at sub-world record pace for the first mile, opening up a huge gap between himself and the rest of the field.

He controlled the race. And that’s why he won.

happy mac susan kare

happymac

As reported by gruber, Susan Kare has been awarded an 2018 AIGA Medal for design.

Anyone who used macs before they got popular will have heard of Susan Kare, or will go “duh” when shown her work. From the AIGA medal page:

she created some of the most recognizable icons, typefaces, and graphic elements in personal computing: the command symbol (⌘), the system-failure bomb, the paintbrush, and, of course, “Clarus the Dogcow.”

She drew many of her creations by hand, using the smallest graph paper she could find–a 32×32 grid that so happened to total 1024, one square per pixel. Other iconic creations include the Chicago font. She later spent time at facebook and pinterest, but it’s her work at apple that is so meaningful.

olpc

I’ve started to tidy up my stuff in readiness for moving back to rob while we have builders in. In the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet I find my old electronics:

  • original powerbook
  • mbp
  • mba
  • original sony ereader
  • kindle fire
  • OLPC

One of those is not like the others.

I’ve used every single one of those, almost all to the end of their lives. Except the OLPC, which is new and still in its packaging.

olpc

I got it when it first came out, paid USD199 or something like that. Pay for two, get one and the other one goes to a child in a developing country. That was their sell anyway. I’m not sure if it ever reached its intended destination; after a lot of buzz the whole project seems to have died out. There’s an article in The Verge that tried to explain why everything went wrong.

The idea was noble. Keep cost of laptop to under $100 and send it to children all over the world so they can use it to learn and be connected. It would be powered by solar energy or by hand-cranking, like one of the torches I have. It runs Linux, every techie’s dream. But from the moment at the demo when the crank handle fell off, things went downhill. It’s typical of:

tech industry hubris, a one-size-fits-all American solution to complex global problems

which doesn’t work. It also didn’t help that costs escalated to beyond the $100 mark, so its biggest selling point was lost. Other manufacturers soon started making small netbooks that were $200-400 but ran windows, I remember the Eee and I myself bought an MSI netbook too.

When talking about computers in classrooms, we get an image of tablets–cheap android tablets or even ipads. I’m surprised OLPC is still around and making laptops. Small markets in Latin America sustains its business. Nowadays. it looks so outdated. I’m also surprised to read that most OLPCs still work, may be I should try cranking mine up and see what it does.

funky dance

We signed up for an exercise class at mm’s complex. One lesson a week will get us started. The class is called funky dance, and is basically cardio to music. The class is small, only 5 people including us. The other classmates apparently have been going to this class for a year.

Feeling a little sore, not too bad. My knee acted up, and I had to slow down on some of the routines. The hardest was plank, because I’m so unfit. I used to be able to do 2min planks but today I couldn’t even go 20 seconds.

Continuing the healthfulness, we had salad bar lunch at Wildfire. Lots of salad–beetroot, pumpkin, leaves, spinach soup, fruit and small dessert.

mareep community day

mareepcd

It’s mareep community day!! After playing for a long time, I finally hatched 3 mareeps a few weeks ago, and had enough candy to evolve to flaafy. I’m looking forward to evolving ampharos.

For us the event ran from 11am to 2pm. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating, heavy rain and wind. We went to a nearby diner for late breakfast first. It took about 10-15mins before mareeps started appearing. At first we were toughing it out with the rain, then it got lighter and the sky brightened up again. We just stuck to mm’s local area that has a seafront and two parks. That was enough to catch lots of mareeps.

We allowed time to go home and evolve to ampharos to get the special moveset. I managed to get 3 shinies too, so I have one each shiny.

Good event. Rumour is next month is charmander. It’ll be great to get a charizard with special moveset. Oh, and shinies too.

bbmm home renovation exploration

hkharbour201804

Meeting mm in the afternoon but I had a few errands to run before that. Had to go across the harbour to central post office. I hadn’t realised that the price of postage had gone up so a letter I sent was returned. I had to pay a penalty (the equivalent of 5p lol) and the additional postage (another 5p) to send the letter again. The cost of the penalty and additional postage was less than how much it cost me to travel to the post office and back! But it was a management fee payment and I didn’t want the cheque to get lost forever. Anyway, it was a surprisingly clear day with no visible haze. I still had to take anti-histamine so there’s still a lot of pollution.

Had tea at toastbox with mm then took the bus to the area where there are a number of home decoration shops. Saw more tiles and other stuff. She had made me measure out the dimensions of the rooms in the flat and draw the whole flat out. Used that to ask for price estimate for tiles and the like. I’m so inexperienced with home renovation that I hadn’t given the process much of a thought.

Boarding school this weekend at mm’s.

visited papa

Visited Papa.

Normally we meet for lunch at the foodcourt then take a taxi. We were very early today so we thought we’d take a look around the restaurants inside the shopping centre. Decided to try a Shanghainese place that had 30% off for dimsum. Order a selection and a main dish. Pretty good, makes a change from foodcourt food.

Lots of people at the cemetery. Saw nearly 20 taxis going down as we were going up. There was a long, long queue when it was time for us to leave, but it only took 5-10mins for us to reach the top of the queue.

Went to an ikea nearby. This one is huge!! More like the size of ikeas in the UK and US. Plus a restaurant too. Saw some useful furniture and designs. I’m not taking my bed with me when we move; I saw a nice sofa bed that I can use, and we can use it if we hire a helper.

Pretty full from lunch, just had noodles for dinner.

interpreting letters, numbers and symbols on container ships

Very rarely do I learn so much from just one article, and this is what I just did, reading about The Secret Language of Ships, or how to interpret the names, numbers and symbols on huge container ships. The names and symbols are not only for officials, they also tell tugboats all the information the pilots need to help steer a ship. I remember the Hastings singlehandedly rescuing our cruiseship just outside Melbourne, and one of our neighbours is a tugboat pilot and it’s simply amazing, what they can do.

ship01

The owner, name and flag of the ship is paintec at the stern. Here the owner is Hanjin, the ship’s name is Beijing, and it sails under the flag of Panama. The International Maritime Organization, or IMO, number is the ship’s identification. Over its lifetime, the owner, name, or flag may change, but the IMO never changes. It’s possible to look up the ship’s history and location using IMO.

The human-shaped dummies are there to deter pirates into thinking there are crew members on watch.

ship02

This ship has what is called a bulbous bow, a round shape at the bottom of the bow that reduces drag, increasing speed and fuel efficiency. When at sea, the bulb is underwater so it’s necessary to tell tugboats that information, so there is no accidental collison. The white symbols, the one that looks like a 5 without the top line and the circle with a cross, is used for that purpose. The 5-alike symbol says there’s a bulb and the circle-cross says there’s a bow thruster also equipped.

ship03

The white rectangle with yellow border tells pilots this is the place to board the ship. It’s called the pilot boarding mark and the tugboat will wait till the rope ladder and gangplank are deployed. On some boats there is no gangplank and the pilot climbs solely using a flimsy rope ladder. Makes them even more kickass. Negotiating a huge ship into a narrow port is already amazing.

growing vegetables in antarctica

Blick ins Gewächshaus vor der Ernte

I know hydroponics is the future of agriculture, if we have a chance of keeping our species and the planet in good shape. I was glad to read about a group of German scientists who successfully grew greens, radishes and cucumbers in Antarctica.

Of course they didn’t grow the veg outside, in sub-freezing temperatures. They use optimised lighting and temperature conditions and a closed water system in a greenhouse next to the research station. No soil involved. Take a look at the flickr set of the project, called EDEN-ISS. They expect to be able to regularly harvest 4-5kg of vegetables each week.

The idea isn’t merely to grow vegetables for the scientists at the research station, this is an experiment to see whether it’s possible to grow vegetables on the moon, on Mars, and under harsh climate conditions on Earth.

korean lunch set

koreanlunch201804

Mum and I went to loom at bathroom and kitchen tiles. First we had lunch at a new Korean place. Good lunch set, value for money. She ordered the bbq set and I had an oxtail noodle soup set. I ended up eating almost half her grilled meat anyway.

Saw a few tiles we like, there’s one especially that caught our eye. Pretty plain, off-white, very clean-looking.

birthday

Somehow it feels like a normal day, I had to look at the calendar to realise it’s a saturday. Days bleed into each other nowadays.

Mum and I went to central to the electrical appliances shop to look at ovens, fridges and washing machines. They also have air-conditioners. I saw a double door fridge that I like, will need to get someone in to measure the stairs and kitchen space.

Lunch was simple noodle soup. There’s some superstition that says must have noodles on birthday to ensure longevity, probably because noodles represent longevity. Anyway, suited our purposes. Popped back to my flat to check mail.

2018bday05cake

Met sis and gis for tea buffet at the Conrad. Nice atmosphere, small atrium café with not too many tables, and we got a corner table to boot. Debated whether to get the free flow drinks but decided against it. In terms of food, there was more than enough to satisfy the most hungry: salad, dimsum, noodles (more noodles, I had laksa), satay, cheese, fruit, waffle, pastry, ice cream. When I called round the hotels to book, I asked if they offered anything for birthday and the answers were disappointing. The Marriott and Conrad both said they can bring a cake from the buffet selection and ice “happy birthday” on it. I was like, nope. I did the birthday cake myself, took a piece of chestnut cake–one of my favourite–and sis brought a candle. We did a low key birthday celebration, that was fine.

After tea, they all went home. I met up with mm for an hour for a glass of wine. She couldn’t join tea buffet, and she has a family dinner. The dinner as it happens is in the same area as the Conrad so it was convenient.

I was still very full, so didn’t need dinner. Only afterwards did I see a missed text from sis at around 7.30pm asking me to join her and R for dinner. Hahaha, I was already home by 7.30pm.

braille neue font

brailleneue

Braille Neue is a font designed by Kosuke Takahashi that combines regular Latin characters with braille dots. It can be easily read by sighted people, and visually impaired people will be able to identify the characters equally well. Most braille characters fit almost perfectly into the letter, with a few exceptions.

A Japanese version is in development. I wonder how braille works in different languages. I know sign languages are different around the world; I expect braille to be different too. Wonder if it’s possible to design a font that can be understood by as many sighted and blind people as possible.

shunde day 06

Travel day. Lounged around in the morning, did laundry, took out batteries and closed the flat down.

At the HK side interchange, we had to get on different buses to go home. I was the first one on my bus, it stood there empty and then all of a sudden scads of people got on until it was full. When it got into town, everyone but 3 people (including me) got off. Eventually it made it to the my stop, close enough for me to walk home.

shunde day 05

shun122house

Last full day, more errands. Bank, market, checked out mm’s other 2 flats. She’s had them a few years as an investment. The flats are completely empty. Not only no plastering or paint, the bathrooms are an empty concrete hole and there are only wires and pipes in the kitchen. Apparently that’s how property is sold, all the buyer gets is a shell.

shun135steamed

She’s not feeling 100%, with the beginnings of a cold, so we didn’t do anything more ambitious than poke around the local area. The most interesting thing was we tried steamed milk dessert served in a coconut. Very nice.

shunde day 04

shun044farm

Met up with mm’s contractor, who is local and has a car so he can take us to places a little out of the way. This one is a farm restaurant that has its own fish pond, chicken, vegetable garden. Not the fanciest setting or tables, the most important thing is the food is fresh and homemade. We had roast duck, steamed fish, vegetables and a soup made from the stem part of the choy sum and chicken parts. Okay, I love me some offal and am not afraid of trying new organs. The soup had a part of the chicken I’d never seen before, it looks like it comes from a rooster, and that’s all I’m saying.

shun085park

After lunch he dropped us off at the large park halfway between town centre and mm’s flat. Very nice place, with a lake and very pleasant walking paths. Where we started wasn’t very crowded, but as we headed to the other entrance there were more crowds. People also enjoying a walk in the park, lots of people cycling, and families camped out on the grass. Like literally camped out, they brought their own tents. Pretty good idea, a tent provides shade, storage and shelter if it rains.

shun106market

We walked the whole afternoon in the park, something like 3hrs. Took the bus to the local market and rummaged around for what to cook for dinner. Ended up with a simple meal of rice, chicken and these round courgettes.

shun112market

The fruit and veg in the market is good, some vendors simply spread their produce on a mat on the ground. Some are more sophisticated, selling from the back of their bike-vans.

Watched some tv during dinner. I understood none of it, the program we settled on eventually was a feel-good reality program where several presenters took turns telling the stories of brave and patriotic individuals. A father built actual working models of robots for his daughter; a woman waited for her soldier who was teaching at the borders for over 10 years; a group of 80- and 90-year olds told the story of how they travelled to a rural area and started a university. A bit tear-jerky and definitely state-approved tv. Gave up after a while and read my book.