Diplomats hard at work at new resort
HAVING always wondered what life must be like in the arduous diplomatic fast lane, Keeping Posted got a chance to find out yesterday when we were invited to join a dozen members of the consular corps on board the 18-metre yacht Gold Coast 1.
We were guests of Sino Land boss Robert Ng, who wanted the diplomats to check out his newest real estate creation, the Gold Coast Resort in Castle Peak Bay, and he had laid on one of his luxury craft to ferry us over there for lunch.
The consuls were deposited by their chauffeurs at Queen's Pier in formal attire, but by the time we boarded, jackets had been mostly discarded. Why, Singapore Commissioner Gordon Seow, who was tie-less at this stage, even told us: ''Give me a bit of timeand I'll take more off.'' As they sat out on deck sipping cool refreshments to the soothing sound of the waves lapping against the bow as we sailed gently along, one of them (shades suitably in place) leaned over to me and mentioned: ''Don't make this look too laid back. Remember, it is a fact-finding tour to a developing part of the New Territories.'' Australian Consul General Dr Jocelyn Chey, making a bold fashion statement with her Sydney 2000 pin, was looking forward to seeing the local version of the famous resort area in her country.
''I've taken many Chinese visitors to the Gold Coast in Queensland,'' said Dr Chey, ''but it wouldn't be fair to make any comparisons between the two.'' It must have been the sea air, for by now Mexican Consul General Agustin Gutierrez Canet was telling us that he made the best margaritas in town (although we would have preferred to hear about the trade agreement Mexico has signed with the United States), while Colombia's Carmenza Jaramillo was almost tearful as this was her last day in Hong Kong before jetting out to her new post in India.
When we arrived at the Gold Coast Hotel and Yacht Club (the way the place has taken shape is quite astounding), Folco de Luca, the Italian Consul General, took in the Mediterranean ambience and remarked: ''I'm home!'' If their approving comments were anything to go by, the diplomatic community will be marking down the Gold Coast Hotel for their weekend getaways. As one enthused: ''It's like a mini-Club Med.''