Archive for the 'Hong Kong' Category

Parting notes on Hong Kong

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

Hey everyone,

So Susan and I are leaving Hong Kong today. We’ve been staying with the So family, Conrad So being a friend of my parents from university. Conrad and his wife Candy have three boys: James (9), Victor (8), and Thomas (5). James and Victor woke us up before breakfast this morning by jumping on our bed. Freaked Susan right out as their faces were about an inch away from hers when she opened her eyes.

James is a great reader, and both him and Victor are very interested in Harry Potter, although surprisingly neither of them had read the books before we arrived. They’d only seen the movies, and as a result ask a lot of questions about Harry Potter. “So, in Harry Potter …” was a very common conversation starter. “So, in Harry Potter, how does Dumbledore die if he’s the greatest wizard ever?” “So, in Harry Potter, what does it mean that the wand chooses the wizard?” “So, in Harry Potter, why didn’t Harry die when Voldemort attacked him when he was a baby?” and so on and so on. I did not tell them who the Half-blood Prince was though. Both James and Victor have started reading the books now, and now our conversations are more like “Did you know that when Hagrid saved Harry from the burning house when he was a baby, he was riding Sirius Black’s motorbike?” yes, yes I did James.

Thomas speaks Cantonese as his first language, unlike James and Victor whose first language is English. Thomas is also completely deaf, but is able to hear when wearing this very sophisticated hearing aid device that involves an implant in his head and a battery pack strapped to his back. He goes to bed a bit earlier than the other boys most nights, and Susan and I had been trying to be quiet for the most part when he was in bed. Then one night Victor was talking loudly to us, and walked right into the room where Thomas was sleeping, still calling out to us in the next room. We tried to hush him so as not to wake Thomas, and Victor just looked at us funny. “He can’t hear. He’s deaf,” said Victor. Which is very true, and we felt rather silly afterwards. But still, it must be such an entirely different life. And how soundly one must sleep when one can’t hear anything at all!

As for China, it was good fun. I’ll probably come back through next year for Chinese New Years again. I now know people in Beijing and Hong Kong, and would like to see both again (people and places). Aggie asked about what kinds of toilets they have in China. Well, in Hong Kong they’re mostly Western-style. And in Beijing (and I’m assuming the rest of mainland China) they are mostly Eastern-style (squatting over a hole in the ground. Looks kinda like a sideways urinal, and flushes). Other random things we’ve learned: there are no such things as fortune cookies in China! Biggest joke ever, in their opinion. Also, bubble tea doesn’t exist the same way it does in North America. You can’t get tapioca pearls. You can’t get chunks of jelly or anything either. All you can get is solid jelly stuff at the bottom of a fruit/tea drink and then you mix it up with your straw and drink it up (and bird’s nest can be used as the jelly). Also, no such thing as an egg roll. I know, I know. Unbelievable.

Off to Beijing

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

We are on the move again. Since we didn’t get enough travelling yet we have decided to do a 25hr train ride to Beijing in a sleeper train. In Beijing we are staying in a hostel for CDN$5 a night which is a steal to me….but we will see what it is really like once we get there.

Hong Kong has been great so far, a good transition in preparation for mainland China. HK has English signs and most places also have English translations too which has made things a lot easier.

The markets have been interesting as well- so far I have bought this really cool swiss army watch set… turns out to be a total fake and it will always be April 9th on it…oh well. I guess it’s more about the fun of trying to talk a sale down.

We went to the jade market where there is a lot of jade and a lot of people selling the same type of jade. I did get a nice necklace which Mars talked the lady down on which was awesome.

Oh, yesterday, me being the avid hiker/camper, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to go for a hike to the peak [I also thought it was a good idea -M]. This hike turned out to be more of an iron man mission to make it to the top, who knew that climbing up a mountain at about a 45 degree incline for 4 hrs could be so much fun - haha. So the hiking here is on a whole other level. I was just glad I didn’t have a canoe on my back. The views along the way were very nice and the huge houses along the way were amazing, the one appartment had a putting green in the backyard, sand trap and all.

But, we made it to the top where there was a shopping mall and a McDonalds so we got an ice cream [ice cream from McDonald’s here is CDN$0.50, and the McFlurries are just under a dollar, so we’ve been eating a lot of ice cream -M] and took the tram down to the bottom. [It was a bit anti-climactic to get to the top of the mountain and find a mall. But I guess it is Hong Kong. -M]

Happy New Years - Year of the Dog

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

The flight here was long but we made it. I was 17hrs and the first 2 i think were all turblunace, I was pretty white by the end of that. 9 hours of sleep late and two movies, two meals and one very happy person to be on the ground we arrive at the Hong Kong airport.

We are staying in Hong Kong with friends of my parents. They have been great showing us around, excellent chinese suppers every night so we have got to try many very different dishes.

We went to the flower market in Victoria Park- this is where they sell all the traditional flower for new years, peach bloosms, orange tress etc.

Last night we went out and saw the night life of Hong Kong which was so much fun. Guido’s friend Shawn from Sport Check has taken on the roll as our tourguide. We found out that it is really expensive to buy drinks at the bar, but on Wednesdays are ladies nights soooo that means ladies get to drink for free all night long. Sweet deal, so you can guess where we will be on wednesdays nights.