Friday, February 6, 2015

A small Hong Kong puzzle gathering.

Back in November when we went to GZ to visit with Ron and Hanneke AJ mentioned to me that he was running the HK marathon in January.  As I was too, I invited him to stay with us for the weekend.  Hotels here are a bit pricey, and we have a sofa so why not save a bit of money?  AJ readily agreed and that was that.

Fast forward to the 24th of January and i got a call asking me to come pick him up.  We had a quick lunch then ran off to pick up AJ's race number.  From there, we headed back to my house which AJ aptly renamed "The Puzzle Hotel".  As it was still very early in the day, we headed into my bedroom and I showed him a few toys.  Of course we had to take the obligatory photo in front of my wall of shame....

Aj puzzled for about 3 hours, and I just kept pulling down one toy after another that he simply had to see. Most of which were of course Twisty Puzzles.  I have quite a few that are a bit uncommon and even more that are fairly rare.   Of course I also had to have him take a look at my pride and joys and I even let him disassemble a few.  Sadly, he couldn't get Maria back together so we chucked her in a bag to bring to Otis to assemble later.  I took out my Hanayama's and showed AJ a few of the test colors, and a few of the other special pieces I have in there.

We puzzled until Mr. Man came home and then we had dinner.  I discovered that AJ likes packing and tray puzzles, and pulled a bunch out for him to try.  Around 11 I chased everyone to bed because we had a little jog to get up or in the morning.

We woke at 6:00 to get ready.  Lucky for us, Mr. Man was awake and took a photo of the two crazy ones. AJ started at 8:00 and I started at 9:30.  He of course finished his run very quickly, while the old girl took much longer.  The night before I realized that Timur was going to be in HK and we arranged to meet up for lunch.  Thank heavens Otis is in town, because he picked Timur up and met us after the race.  I had to apologize to Timur.  I was not my usual bouncy self.  I was exhausted-three hours of running really took it out of me.  And!  I stunk!

We met in WanChi and had a local lunch.  Puzzled a bit and just enjoyed the company.  Timur needed to buy some gifts for his nieces and nephews so we took him over to the nearby toys street.  No puzzles to be found though today.  Sadly he was only in town for a few hours and we had to art company around 4 pm.  Otis took him to meet his co-workers while AJ and I headed home for a long overdue shower.  Otis later joined us at the house and some more puzzling.  We stuck around for about 2 hours then headed out to meet Michael for dinner.  As usual, we ended up in the same restaurant in Shum Shui Po.  We like the food, and the owner joins us when he has time.  

 Tonights dinner was just a small affair with only the four of us.  We will have a much bigger dinner next week with more of the HK puzzlers.  This one was just in honor of MY AJ being in town.

We really didn't have a lot of puzzles, but we had a lot of fun.  Otis brought a few as did I.  We had the two of them put together Maria.  And I had a good laugh at AJ's steadfast refusal to insert the key piece below.

As a parting request, if anyone knows a source for the puzzle below, I would love to know.  I've had many requests for it over the years and would love to buy a gross just to be able to give them away to people,  The one pictured here is called a "Tracy puzzle"  it has a coin inside that has to be removed.  

AJ and Otis wrote about the meetup over on Mf8 and you can read it there.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hong Kong Toys and games fair

The toys fair was a bit late this year, or maybe my term started early. Either way, I  didn't have much time at the fair this year. I managed to spend 11/2 days at the fair this year.  Not long at all.  I must also admit to not seeing any booths other than those of my annual 'friends' and I even missed a few of those.

I have this horrendous schedule this semester: 18 hours of teaching!  Monday's in particular suck.  I teach from 3:00-10:00 pm!  Who signs up for a class at that time of night? 11 of my students that's who. Silly fools. This class meant I couldn't see any of the fair or my friends on the first day of the fair.

Tuesday morning I woke bright and early and headed over to bring Hendrik a few puzzles that had been delivered to my house the week before and my pocket wifi so he could be connected while he was in town (we just can't live without internet can we?). I didn't stay very long as I had class at noon so off I ran again back across the harbour to go teach.  I managed to get back around 3 in the afternoon and the first stop was Uwe's booth.  Jing and Adela were there as well so it was hugs and kisses all around.  Uwe wanted me to go get some KO cubes for him and took me for a little walk down the aisle.  He thought I could walk up, get some samples and be done with it.  Sadly, it doesn't work that way anymore.  I'm fairly well known now.  Back to the booth to meet up with Hendrik and we then went off to say hey to Mr. Tangle.  This year Guido was in town working the booth with Uwe so we had to say hello to him as well.

Uwe is bringing out a bunch of new egg shaped puzzles, they should hit the market within a few weeks.  Shiny!

Because I arrived so late in the day, that was it.  Nothing else to do or see.  What a girl I am.

That night we had dinner with Meffert's, Puzzle Master, Ventura toys, and a magician friend of ours.  Hanayama had the table next to us so it was a big puzzle dinner.
The place we ate is famous for a dish called beggars chicken.  It has to be ordered 24 hours in advance, and when it comes to the table, you have to open it yourself.

We had very nice conversation and talked for around 3 hours.  When it was time to go, Hendrik and I walked  over to TST east to meet Michael and Ayi for a drink or two.  That as usual turned into way way too many....I got started on the B52's and that was all she wrote.  Someone ordered tequila... Might have been the whiskey, could have been the gin... I vaguely remember switching venues, and watching the sun come up.  It has to happen at least one night of the fair.

Wednesday saw us returning to the fair to pick up a few samples and say hello to a few more friends.  It was a rushed day because Hendrik and I both mucked up on his departure date. Yes he was leaving Thursday.  At one minute past midnight!  How did we miss that?  We packed up his bags, said our goodbyes and I took him off to the airport.

This year I didn't collect many samples.  I did see some new boxes that are coming from mimi toys again and expect that Otis will get me samples of them before the year is out.  My photo of this years toys include those brought from the GZ day.  Sorry guys.  I really had no time this year.  Next year I'll have to just call in sick.  Oh wait!  I did that on Wednesday and I'm glad of it.  No time with Hendrik if I hadn't, and friends are the best part of the fair.

As always, it was great having friends in town for the fair.  I love this time of year.  I get to see some people for a few minutes and catch up, others I spend days with.  Both are equally important to me.  See, I don't think I really collect puzzles, I think I collect boys!  And there ain't nothin' wrong with that!