Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Yesterday was our Department Boat Trip Party day. (That's how it was announced, and that's what the multiple reminder emails were titled.) Much as it sounds, a couple of times every year, a large part of our department gets onto a rented boat, takes a trip, and has a party.

We were all supposed to assemble at the university pier at 2:15. At 1 o'clock sharp, a severe thunderstorm started. Last year's Department Boat Trip Party had been postponed and eventually cancelled due to the weather. I saw the thunderstorm and got crabby. (Pun unintended - this year the festivities were scheduled to close out with a seafood dinner featuring crab, as well as lobster, prawns, squid, scallops, fish, and i forget what else. And chicken - for the vegetarians, presumably.)

At 1:45 it stopped thunderstorming. Those of us who were around the department went down to the pier together. We were amongst the last to arrive. The boat was waiting. As usual, it was a two-storey affair, with an air-conditioned cabin downstairs and an open seating area upstairs. I clambered in, pouched two beers from the ice bucket, and went straight to the top.

We sailed off.

Here is a picture of the view as you sail off. The black bit dead center is the pier. The little red circle north-east of it is where I'm sitting typing this. Just so you know.

About half an hour's (or a beer and a half's) worth of sailing brought us to one of the outlying islands. A few other boats like ours were parked there, people were sitting around on the decks, others rowing around in little paddle boats, some were swimming, and some had rowed or swum across to this empty beach about fifty or so meters away and were doing beach things there.

Some of us jumped straight into the water and swam ashore. A few others rowed. A friend and I finished our beers, and then four of us got into the rowboat along with (what most of the world calls) a football. I rowed the boat while a fifth person pushed it from behind, while swimming himself. It took a while to get to the beach - my prior experience with rowboating having been a blemishless record of having dumped all passengers into the sink every time. Thankfully none of the passengers on this boat was married to me, so we all got ashore reasonably unwet. On the beach we set up mini goalposts with sticks on the sand, and started a game of faculty vs. students.

I am happy to report that Ronaldinho scored a hat-trick and we trounced the youngsters 5-2. It might have had something to do with the fact that there were five of us and four of them, but then they were younger and one of us was over fifty.

I have to say it was fun doing the whole shirt routine after scoring, and the Roger Milla item thing wasn't bad either. (So much so that I was made to give a repeat performance for the larger audience when we got back on board.)

We then rowed back to the boat. A couple of guys swam and reached much earlier. The guy who had pushed the boat while going out decided to lock his feet onto a rope and be towed on his back. The guys doing the rowing - hotblooded young graduate students both - were getting distracted by another boat nearby where bikini-clad maidens were rinsing themselves down with a shower-hose after coming out of the water. (It was funny when I said sotto voce "Don't look now but they've taken their clothes off," and both swivelled round instantly.) And so midway I jumped off and swam, and had a momentary fright when I realised I was swimming directly in front of the rowboat and boats don't have brakes.

Once back upstairs, we realised that a major party had broken out in our absence. Several bottles of wine had been opened, and were being sampled. Various conversations were in full swing in parallel. I reclaimed my spot at the front, and proceeded to lay into the wine. There was a long debate about why it is that parties coalesce into subgroups of men talking to men and women talking to women when men normally prefer to talk to women. I'm not sure I agree with any of the generalizations in that statement but I completely concurred with the resolution of the debate -- that we should all apply for a grant to study this phenomenon, our hypothesis being that the answer lay in the consumption of different wines from around the world. Anyway, the wines were good, the company was good, the two babies on board behaved themselves (and their mothers took them downstairs when they stopped.) Eventually, we arrived at the dinner place. I don't recall very many details after that, but the food was good. The guy next to me had a whole stack of crustacean remnants piled up beside him. I fell asleep on the boat coming back.

Man, it must be at least ten years since I touched a football.


Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

"This year the festivities were scheduled to close out with a seafood dinner featuring crab, as well as lobster, prawns, squid, scallops, fish, and i forget what else."

Hmm, have people in Hong Kong heard of the leafy greens? Maybe, probably, perhaps...please? :-)

9/03/2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger km said...

Some of us jumped straight into the water and swam ashore.

Why does this remind me of Thompson and Thomson diving into the waters and swimming ashore even as the boat was pulling into the port?

And you know those undressing sea-maidens will thank you in their prayers tonight, dontcha?

9/03/2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

Nice post. It reminded me of my time in HK last year (I spent a month there). I remember we'd gone swimming around Stanley and had dinner there, after which we took a roller coater bus ride back to central and partied at LKF till 4am!
Bah...i miss HK!!

Re adding me on your blogroll - thank you!
It reminded me that i actually have to *make* one...but i slack away...=D

9/04/2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

well actually, there are more types of green leafy here than i've ever seen anywhere else. a couple of dozen at least, i'd say. and everything is called "choy" -- so you e.g. have "bak choy", since "bak" means white, and it has a white stem, etc. this is food heaven.

yes, that was a seriously thomson and thompson moment. and yes, my actions are generally attuned to the everlasting benefit of undressing sea-damosels.

ha, sounds like a fun day out! i love this place. (slack away ;-))

9/04/2006 12:26 PM  

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