After skipping the INTA conference at Dallas last year, I made a special appearance at International Trade Mark Association Conference (INTA) held in Hong Kong in May. It’s the first time INTA was held in Asia. Over 8500 people attended the event. This does not include those who did not register for the event including myself.
The conference was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. I was here in 2009 to attend the Asian Patents Attorney Conference (APAA).
Those who did not register are not allowed into the conference area. Nevertheless, many fixed their meetings at hotel lobbies such as Renaissance and Grand Hyatt or the cafes in or around the conference area.
I did not fix many meetings. I only met people who I’ve worked with or know quite well. But I was fortunate to meet some friends who made impromptu outings to various receptions around Hong Kong.
I touched down Hong Kong on Thursday and headed straight to my hotel at Wanchai. It’s called the Wharney Guang Dong Hotel. It’s a hotel along the red light district of Wan Chai. There were plenty of Filipino girls and mama-sans by a row of pubs soliciting business.
I had only 4 meetings on my first day of conference. It was actually 5 meetings but I missed the first one cause I forgot to key it into my calender!
My first meeting was at Man Ho Chinese restaurant at JW Marriot. It was a luncheon meeting jointly organised by a Thai and Hong Kong law firm. I guess I got invited because they help me out with some of my trade mark applications. I sat between a Singaporean lady and a Chinese Canadian lady. The latter told me that she forgot to bring her clothes from Canada because she was rushing to the airport. She had to do her shopping upon touchdown!
I had dinner at a place called T Chu at Zen Too. Interesting food. I was invited by a Singapore patent attorney, Chong Yee and his wife. We had dinner with another friend of his and his wife. The former is a partner of Bird & BIrd, an international firm. His wife is a Malaysian. Small world!
Since Umeng is coming to visit me from Macau on Sunday, I set aside a day to meet him and roam around Hong Kong.
I met a friend of his whose mother owns a “Che Chai Mien (Little Cart noodles) restaurant. We took a train to Wong Tai Sin to visit this Little Cart Noodles shop.
It’s located in a residential area surrounded by old apartments. The shop is a few steps away from Sheung Fung Street Market
We had a peek of how the locals live.
The shop, like many other Hong Kong eateries, is small. One has the go through the tight lanes to get a table.
Umeng can’t wait for his food
To get food, one has to line up to choose his or her dishes. We didn’t need to line up. Our friend chose the dishes for us.
Little Cart Noodles is a mixture of all forms of animal “spare parts”. We had chicken feet, cow stomach, coagulated blood. It also has pomelo skin and radish.
It comes with a bowl of noodles.
The taste is interesting. Something I’ve never tried before. Pomelo skin tasted strange. Its texture look like cooked radish but it is soft and has a very distinct taste.
While having our meal, we overheard some people talking about taufufah (taufu) noodles. Although we were pretty full, we dropped by the takeaway eatery that sells this taufufah noodles. I was told that this new eatery is owned by some guys who won a reality TV contest. Those guys pitched the idea of this eatery and won some cash to fund their business.
The sweet gravy, however, overpowered the taste of taufafah. I don’t taste much of it. Noodles are a little bit tough for me.
Umeng and I dropped by Mong Kok to kill time.
We met my friend Erin at Central Station. Since it was Sunday, the place was packed with Filipino ladies and some Bangladeshi men. The ladies were hanging out by the curb and occupied every empty space. Even the stairs were occupied by them.
At one corner, there was a small stage. A small group of Filipino ladies was dancing and singing. Other ladies were cheering and screaming for them.
Erin brought us to Da Verm Climbing Club at Sai Ying Pun. We had to take the tram to get to this place. It rained halfway and all we had was Erin’s umbrella. I actually brought an umbrella all the way from Kuala Lumpur and of all days, I forgot to bring it when it rained heavily!
We had to brave through the rain to get to Da Verm. Da Verm is a small indoor climbing gym. It consists of mainly bouldering walls. The surface of the wall is painted and smooth. Most of the walls are reclined walls thus making it difficult for new climbers. Umeng had to struggle quite a bit. Erin on the other hand was steady because she had been climbing since I started (about 10 years ago!).
There’s a small training room in the gym. It has a peg wall. I could only get to one peg! My locking power is still quite weak! It also has a sandbag. It was great punching it again.
Erin, Umeng and I ended the night with a workout set by Erin. It was so tough that we almost gave up halfway!
We had dinner thereafter at Tsim Chai Kee. They are known for their wan tan mee. My three toppings noodles – fish balls, wanton and sliced beef – was tasty.
Umeng stayed over my hotel as he has a meeting in Hong Kong the next morning. Here he said, “I’ll be there in a while, Honey”.
I did not fix many meeting on Tuesday. In fact I had large gap after my 11am meeting. I thought of heading to the hotel for rest but I met Caroline, a Thai lawyer. We met many years ago in one of the many receptions. We had lunch and ended up meeting other lawyers from other countries for drinks and two other receptions. We even had the time to have Godiva ice cream at Queen’s Road East. I find it more enjoyable meeting people on randomly than having fixed meetings. The latter sometimes is too short.
I wanted to meet a Japanese friend, Takeshi, but his schedule was completely full. One thing about Japanese lawyers is that they always have packed schedules. They are extremely systemised. I met one Japanese firm that has a script on what to discuss during meetings.
I managed to squeeze in a meeting with Takeshi at a Korean law firm reception. We were hosted by a Korean lawyer who spoke impeccable nihon-go. She told us that she had studied Japanese in Korea. I was so impressed.
We had one reception at Tott and Roof at Exclesior Hotel overlooking the Victorian Harbour. It was organised by Awapatent, a Swedish intellectual property firm with offices in 13 regional offices. It was founded in 1897 and in 2013, they have EUR 63,2 million in turnover. I was there for a short while before rushing to another meeting.
I had to rush to Admirality train station to meet up with another friend in Conrad Hotel. He brought me up to a lounge on top of the hotel. Great view of Hong Kong as well.
Once again, Nitin, my friend from India, and I met up for dinner and drinks. We dubbed it the India and Malaysia reception. I probably had 3 pints of Guinness. We managed to gather a number of people and even Erin and her friend, Chris, came to join us. We had friends from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We’ll probably make this a yearly event! We lasted until 1:30-am before heading home.
This is a reception held by Kangxin, a Chinese firm held at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Racecourse. I visited some friends from Kangxin when I was in Beijing. I was put on a table with some lawyers from Korea and Israel. Interestingly, my Israeli friend was a tennis champion of Israel during his younger days.
Halfway through the dinner, the firm held a contest where each table had to guess the winning horses. They then showed a pre-recorded horse race and the winner is based on the result of the pre-recorded race. We didn’t win of course.
I left Hong Kong a day earlier. Getting to the airport was a breeze. I only need take a train to Central and then another train to the airport. I’m glad I made a trip to Hong Kong.
Next INTA, San Diego!