JAN 29, 15 .. 23 MERCER STREET .. HONG KONG WATER .. DRINKING AND OTHERWISE ..

Stand by .. Who knows where this is going? .. Maybe THE SHADOW knows? .. Am I dating myself or what? .. Like back into the 1940s and radio drama! ..

On January the 29th .. 1958 .. I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Right up to today .. Right up to this instant .. That one decision was the best and most important decision of my entire life!

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When I was about halfway through this somewhat long and for lack of a better word .. challenging .. Post I nearly deleted it thinking to myself .. “Who wants a thesis or a dissertation about my water?” IF I put up a Post like this over on my blogspot website I would probably lose 90% of my readers. THIS is why two websites serve me well.

BUT I have been asked by several of you (especially Patti) about the water that I am using here in Hong Kong so I continued with this Post. I could have titled it Everything To Do With The Water In My Studio Apartment .. since I end up with how I wash my clothes!

Let me begin by stating ONE thing that I KNOW is this .. When it comes to my water .. drinking or otherwise .. I want NO DRAMA

One single drop of water can be home to an entire universe of micro-organisms some of which can be lethal. In India the tap water can be so poor that because I knew no better and washed my face with the tap water .. I was stricken with eye infections that date back to my first trip to India in late October of 1990 .. Over twenty four (24) years ago. Eye infections that I may never fully recover from. I use an antibiotic (Blephamide) when these eye infections flare up and when my eyes have cleared up I can go months with no problems. Then suddenly the cracking and soreness at the outside edges of my eyes emerges and back I must return to a 10-day regimen of Blephamide (Sulfacetamide / Prednisolone ophthalmic). All because I used India tap water to wash my face over twenty four years ago!

IF I am unsure of the local water quality .. Because of my India experience .. To this day I use bottled water to wash FROM THE NECK UP!

I am going to address three categories of water in this Post ..

(1) MY DRINKING WATER .. The water that I actually drink ..

(2) BOILED TAP WATER .. and lastly what I call

(3) RAW TAP WATER .. water I use for general bathing .. washing clothes and to clean surfaces in my small studio apartment.

1. DISTILLED / BOTTLED WATER .. MY DRINKING WATER ..

I have now been in Hong Kong for two full months (November 13 to January 13) plus two weeks and a few days dating up to today.

In late October of 1990 I was told .. HERE IN HONG KONG where I spent a week before going to India .. DO NOT DRINK THE HONG KONG TAP WATER!

Twenty (24) four years have now passed. China has now become one of the world’s mega powers! Does this 1990 advice still apply TODAY?

I am discussing local Hong Kong TAP WATER. I estimate that of the people that I ask .. “Do YOU drink the Hong Kong Tap Water?” .. 90% say NO

The people I am asking this question of are other visitors and Ex-patriots. I do NOT normally ask local Chinese residents IF they drink local Tap Water BUT as I am getting to know more and more local residents .. I am beginning to ask this question of them. The answers seem to depend upon their economic class. IF they are financially stable .. in other words IF they can easily afford to purchase bottled water .. then YES they opt for bottled water.

So as I have been doing for over 24 years I have been going with this philosophy. I do NOT YET .. drink the local Hong Kong Tap Water.

The other 10% of the visitors and the Ex-patriots that I ask staunchly defend the local Hong Kong Tap Water saying that it FAR EXCEEDS International World Health Organization standards for clean and pure and safe drinking water and that YES indeed they DO drink the local Hong Kong Tap Water.

What to say?

I GOOGLED .. HONG KONG DRINKING WATER QUALITY ..

Let me tell you that I am impressed with the Hong Kong SAR Governmental website discussion on Drinking Water Quality. I am going to fully accept the website discussion because .. although the government here in Hong Kong wants to favorably impress all who visit both Hong Kong and their website .. I am a Civil Engineer and what the website states makes perfect sense. I can NOT possibly quote the extensive material on the website BUT .. 

I can SUM IT UP in a few words.

You have two types of water that come to your building or home and then to the faucet(s) in your kitchen or bathroom.

1. First you have the water that is delivered to the exterior interface with your building or with your home. I believe that this water is 100% safe to drink and is of excellent quality.

2. Second you have the water that comes from the faucet(s) in your bathroom or kitchen. This Tap Water can BE TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM the water that is delivered to your building or to the interface with your home BECAUSE IT HAS PASSED THROUGH water distribution lines within your building or home. It may no longer be the same water that entered your building or home from the city water distribution system!

The excellent government report clearly states that they can NOT BE RESPONSIBLE for the condition of the interior piping distribution systems .. the conditions of which may seriously jeopardize the quality of the water delivered to a local building! READ some of the older buildings have iron water lines and/or seriously corroded and in other ways unsafe water distribution lines.

Sporting Fans .. THIS APPLIES to your own local situation back in the Western world.

CONCLUSION: I have decided that I am NOT DRINKING any interior water anyplace.

What do you see below?

Oh Captain a photo .. Thank You Captain .. A PHOTO .. We have had enough TEXT Captain. A Photo!!  Gasp .. Giggle .. Oh come on you characters!

St. Teresa’s Medical Center. Very good. You are keeping up.

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And below you see the Dermatology Center at St. Teresa’s. Notice how clean and how spic-and-span everything is.

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IF you walk straight ahead and pass the far end of the counter and turn to you left .. on the far wall you have .. DRINKING WATER.

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I have now made four trips to the Dermatology Center at St. Teresa’s. AS AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM on each and on every trip to St. Teresa’s I have had three or four cups of water from the cold water drinking spigot that you see above.

WHYWHY? YOU tell me WHY! .. On my most recent visit this past Saturday did I have the following discussion with the staff at the nursing counter?

“Is THAT water over there bottled water?” .. “No.” ..

“Hummm”  I thought to myself .. “It makes sense doesn’t it? .. How could a major hospital have (who knows how many) bottled water stations? .. We don’t in the U.S. Hospitals do we? We have drinking fountains all over the hospital.”

“Where does THAT water come from?” ..

Four blank faces looked back at me.  The nurses obviously had no clue as to the origins of the water! I don’t think that they truly knew what I was asking them about.

“Did IT come from outside?” .. I pressed on with question(s).

The same four blank faces looked back across their counter at me. Eight intelligent precocious bright inquisitive questioning but also inscrutible-unblinking eyes looked silently back at me!

The language barrier had overtaken the nurses!

It dawned upon me that the nurses can speak only a narrow range of English. When it comes to my skin condition and to paying my medical billing(s) they are 100% totally fluent. BUT when it came to discussing the origins of THAT water they were in over-their-heads.

You absolutely have got to love the people in the country you are visiting or living in. You MUST .. and these four have taken care of me with regards to my skin condition and fitting me into the Doctor’s schedule with no advanced notice.

Then the following stunning thought suddenly DAWNED upon me!

“There is AT LEAST (NOT the possibility! Oh NO! But ..) SOME PROBABILITYThat during each of my four visits to St. Teresa’s I HAVE BEEN DRINKING THE  LOCAL WATER!”

Then as I calmly swallowed the last of my four cups of water I thought to myself .. “Oh my goodness THAT water sure tastes good!” ..

There is also the possibility that the water coming from the above dispenser is filtered. This filtering the water changes nothing with regard to waterborne pathogens. Filters do not remove pathogens unless they are expensive ceramic filters and even these are questionable as to their effectiveness as to removing viral pathogens. So again I may well have been drinking raw water from the Hong Kong distribution system .. A system I have full confidence in as to water quality.

One someday I AM (Well.. I think that I am ..) going to drink one full glass of tap water from the tap in my kitchen at 23 Mercer Street. One drink of water coming through iron pipes or who knows what condition the pipes are in .. is not going to kill me or make me sick.

Hee Hee Hee our CAPTAIN says! .. Just wait and see Captain!.. /signed/ .. Water borne pathogens!

Now on to ..

2. BOILED TAP WATER

Do as I have done. GOOGLE : Boiling water for safe drinking. You bring the water to a full rolling boil and THAT IS THAT. You do NOT have to boil it for one minute much less ten or even twenty minutes as I have heard before. In fact something like 90% of the water borne pathogens are killed at 135 degrees F. Bring it to a full rolling boil and that is that!

How do I boil my water?

Oh Lord God of Abraham! .. You really DO exist! You Oh God have prompted our Captain to show us some PHOTOS!

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I want you all to meet my KETTLE! He (I am sure they must have feminine PINK COLORED Kettles) has a maximum safe capacity of 1.8 Litres of raw tap water.

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It takes him 7 minutes and 10/13/16/20 seconds (based on four tests) to heat his 1.8 Litres of water to a full rolling boil! Then I either use the water for instant noodles or washing and bathing or let it sit for about four hours to cool and then pour it into my storage jugs.

As I said above at the beginning of this Post .. I am dealing with three (3) distinct types of water.

1. Distilled / Bottled Water that I purchase.

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I purchase distilled water and not the water that has minerals added or the water that is hyped as ‘Genuine Spring’ or other water. It is less expensive and in my opinion safer.

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2. Tap water that I boil and that I call BOILED WATER.

Below I show a photo of each of these first two types of water along beside my proud Mister Kettle! For daily water use I do not pour water from the large 5 Litre water jugs (see above and below) but I pour it into smaller jugs that you see below.

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3. Raw Tap Water.

It may surprise you that I store raw tap water. I MUST assure myself that I have water at all times! It is not unusual for a building to have a water outage where the water is totally shut off for a number of hours .. or maybe a day for a serious outage. I can then boil my stored raw tap water or use it .. NOT my distilled or boiled water .. to bathe with if I need to.

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Mister Kettle has a friend .. my Multi Cooker you see on the right below. Much to my surprise I am finding uses for her. For one thing I popped some pop corn in her since my micro-wave does not quite do the job leaving about half of the kernels unpopped.

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So I purchased some corn oil and setting my multi-cooker on her stir fry setting I popped the microwave popcorn in her using the corn oil plus the oil that comes in the micro-wave popcorn package. This method was OK but I did not have a large container to dump the popped pop corn into after it was 100% popped and some of it burned before I completely emptied it. My jury remains ‘out’ as to my popping pop corn in my apartment!

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Back to my water.

Boiling the raw tap water does NOT make it safe from excess iron or other impurities from old decaying pipes.

For my first six weeks here 100% of my drinking water was distilled bottled water. I was using the BOILED WATER to rinse my mouth after brushing my teeth and for washing my face.

TODAYNOW?

I am increasingly using more and more BOILED WATER. I am using BOILED WATER to mix with my Metamucil and my Ensure and my Orange Juice. I HAVE actually enjoyed some plain BOILED WATER straight-up and chilled from my refrigerator. It .. Tastes .. Great ..

AGAIN IF the pipes in my elderly building are in poor condition the mere boiling of the water will not remove any of those contaminants but it will sterilize them!

WHY? Am I even bothering to drink the BOILED WATER at all? WHY not just drink distilled water? Two factors .. (1) The cost slowly but surely adds up as does the effort to haul it back to my studio apartment and (2) The waste of constantly throwing away plastic bottles and 5 Litre water jugs bothers me no end.

3. RAW TAP WATER.

For bathing I use a mixture of boiling hot water to warm up the cold tap water. So the water I use to bathe with is 70% Raw Tap Water and 30% Hot Boiling Water. Based upon the above research and the probability that at St. Teresa’s I have actually been drinking some raw tap water I feel absolutely confident that I will not get any infections from the water I bathe with.

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WASHING MY CLOTHES.

The time has come the walrus said to talk of many things .. Washing my clothes is a major task so I am going to show you this activity!

I have found an absolutely excellent laundry detergent. Low to no suds. NOT fragrance free (which I always use in the U.S.) but its lemon scent is fine with me.

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By the way .. I use my 5 Litre water storage jugs as well as my laundry detergent box to provide weight and pressure when I am gluing my many cardboard projects! Under the board below I am laminating the bottom of a cardboard drawer that I am fabricating.

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Rubber gloves are a must for me. I practically ruined my hands on my first trip to India using my bare hands to wash my clothes. The foreign laundry detergents are pretty powerful considering they are used with filthy water in many instances.

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I can NOT NOT NOT get Good Ol’ Clorox Regular Bleach in India. What a joy to have it here in Hong Kong.  I use it for many things from the floors and toilet to just general disinfecting.

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To more easily use my Clorox .. I found a great use for my empty Elmer’s Glue bottles!

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To do my laundry I needed either a laundry tub or a bucket. Having neither I looked around my 93 square-foot studio apartment and I decided .. “Ah Ha .. Here is my bucket.” HE thinks that HE is my waste basket!

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At first HE was correct. I filled him with water and .. Arrrgggghhhhh .. Water all over my floor! HE had several cracks in his bottom and out came the water running all over. That lesson taught me to stock pile a supply of newspapers to sop up that and other water that I spill.

You would not believe things I find to do with my yellow vinyl tape!

I’ve heard it said .. Don’t leave home without your American Express Card!  I say DON’T leave home without your yellow vinyl tape!

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There were more cracks radiating out from the first major crack but I didn’t photograph the end result of my patching.

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There is a small raised edge around HIS bottom so I had to fill this non-load-bearing gap with a piece of cardboard so the weight of the water would bear on the cardboard and the floor and thus support my yellow vinyl tape repair.

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Into ACTION ..

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In the above photo I am perched on the edge of .. well you can see below ..

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YESLet’s all have just a little bit of .. DRAMA!

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Below is a better perspective of the above .. edge beyond the bucket .. I just heard MY PATTI go .. “YIKES!

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Dad .. Dad .. Dad .. I just HATE IT when you do THIS to me. Dad I do NOT like heights Dad!

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I stopped the above CRAZINESS in short order and now just do my laundry in the bathroom!

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And I let things drip in the bathroom.

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Dad .. Dad .. Dad .. we HATE IT DAD when you hang US out to dry above the abysis below Dad ..

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YES guys .. it IS a very long way down but the outside air circulation helps to dry you faster. In the foreground above a knit stocking cap is drying on a 5 Litre water jug.

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I am at the stage that I am washing everything that I need to wash. For the cost of one visit to a local Chinese Laundry I purchased probably a one year supply of AXE laundry detergent. Also I just like to do my own washing.

SO FAR I have NOT washed my Levi Jeans but I realized that I would have to engineer a system to support the weight of heavy items drying.

IT IS ODD HOW THINGS WORK OUT !

Trust me! Have I ever lied to you before? I know where I am going so follow along with me.

’Benign Positional Vertigo’ ..

On December 12 .. 2012 .. Patti and I spent the day in the Emergency Room in the hospital in Lafayette Louisiana where I was diagnosed with an attack of ‘Benign Positional Vertigo’.

A week or so ago as I awoke and as I arose I felt the symptoms of vertigo coming upon me. They were nowhere near as strong as the above attack back in 2012 but the feeling of vertigo and imbalance were definitely with me. Probably not a wise decision but I decided to go to my morning meeting and off I went. And I made it with no untoward incidents BUT en route to my morning meeting as I walked the ten minute steady uphill walk ..I VOWED to get myself a cane or a walking stick.

WHATDo I see over there at St. Joseph’s Church?

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A mess of old discarded junk bambooI know JUNK and I know TRASH and this was indeed both!

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So I carefully picked around in the pile of junk bamboo and found two pieces that would work just fine as walking sticks. I had my lumber yard cut them to the same length and I was (and I still am) all set.

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Then I was struck with the idea of using one of the bamboo walking sticks to hang heavy wet items from to dry. I decided I would use the top of my closet as a base for the bamboo walking stick soon to become a laundry clothes drying line! I would just lay the bamboo walking stick on the top of the clothes closet and VOILA .. success! A strong support to hang heavy wet items to dry.

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And my mind .. went-to-work! Below you see an electrical supply store literally about three doors away from my apartment at 23 Mercer Street here in the Sheung Wan (Shen Wan) District of Hong Kong. Look at the man’s right foot.

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There is a mess of discarded conduit and who knows what else beside his right foot on the floor of his shop. I have been studying it (one of my stocks in trade!) each and every time (which is several or more times a day) that I walk past it. YOU see junk! I see an absolute TREASURE TROVE of things that I MIGHT need to use at some future time.

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And that time came! I purchased a section of pvc electrical conduit that you see below (the white conduit on the right) beside one of my bamboo walking sticks.

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I then cut it to the proper length ..

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I inserted it into my bamboo walking stick.  It is a letter perfect fit!

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Now I had to figure out how to mount it to the top of my clothes closet.

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Got it. I will use my AXE laundry detergent box and a 5 Litre Water Jug to do the trick. Beside each side of the white electrical conduit I placed a spacer cushion of cardboard that is just a tad thicker than the white electrical conduit is. By the way the strip of cardboard under the conduit allows the weight of the AXE detergent work fully against the conduit. Without this small piece of cardboard under it the conduit would be tippy and loose.

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On top of the cardboard spacer cushion I set the box of AXE laundry detergent.

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Now the OVERKILLOn each side of the bamboo walking stick I set a second set of cardboard cushion like I just did above with the white conduit.

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And on top of this second set of cushions I set a 5 Litre bottle of water!

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There is a lot of weight to counter balance the weight of some heavy wet washing!

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I must tell all of you that it would have been very easy for me to lose-my-nerve as I went along putting this Post together and to just totally abandon it. As I have done many times in the past .. I got way over my head in this Post.

I hope it makes some sense to you. Water is so critical to all of our lives and above you can now see how I handle the processing and the storage and the use thereof.

I sign off with with this statement .. Many of you ask me ..

“Cap? What do you DO all day?” ..

Now you know .. and there is more to come!

SMILES .. CAP ..

 

DAD! YOU PROMISED DAD! To show that there is a LOT OF BOTTLED WATER BEING USED HERE IN HONG KONG!

 

WE’VE BEEN PATIENTLY WAITING! And now you sign off!

/Signed/ .. The Bottled Water Coalition of Hong Kong and Neighboring Cities!  We want our Voice heard DAD!

YOU ARE 100% CORRECT .. AND A DEAL’S A DEAL!

Here we go with a few examples of Bottled Water being used in Hong Kong ..

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THANKS DAD FOR A LITTLE EQUAL TIME .. Your Bottled Water Buddies ..

 

SMILES .. AND JOY .. CAP ..

3 thoughts on “JAN 29, 15 .. 23 MERCER STREET .. HONG KONG WATER .. DRINKING AND OTHERWISE ..

  1. Gullible

    Thanks, Andrej. I looked all over for a place to comment.
    Cap, next time you hang that windbreaker out to dry, please do it a favor and zip it up so it has less chance of a plummet to doom should a breeze come along. Also, have you considered getting a simple water treatment kit such as those sold for backpackers? I have a SteriPEN Traveler that uses shortwave germicidal UV light to sterilize water using four AA lihtium or NiMH batteries good for 200 half-liter treatments. It has a 40 micron pre-filter, and the treatment bottle can be used as a portable water bottle. At the very least, it could be used for an emergency drink if you run out of distilled water. SteriPen makes different models of water treatment kits. Takes about a minute to treat.

    In China, one of our group asked the guide if they drank the tap water in Beijing, and when she said “no” she was asked if the people weren’t concerned about polluted water. Her answer, “We always boil our water so why should we be concerned?”

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