Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hong Kong Phooey

Right a pretty long post on my recent trip - vaguely diary-like...

And so, two years since my last visit, I found myself again making the trip east to Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, country of residence of nearly all of my family these days.

The glamorous C kindly gave me a lift to the airport, my suitcase and the Kipling rucksack she lent me filled with goodies for my family, ie lots of Boots vitamins, Typhoo teabags and some Christmas presents as well as a rather large heavy library book - err, got more muscles than sense, me!

Anyway, a quick flight to Gatwick, then a long 5 hour wait for my flight to Hong Kong. I must have an approachable/gullible face as I was asked by a woman if I'd check in a case for her as she was over the weight limit - riiiight! Also acted as translator for girl who couldn't speak English and who wasn't aware of the one bag rule currently in force.

An excellent flight (flying with Oasis for the first time). The seat next to me was free and after the evening meal, I fell asleep and woke up 8 hours later as they started to serve breakfast! Ace!

Little sis met me at the airport as I was to stay in the lovely apartment she shares with her bf in Mid Levels. The first two photos are of the day/night view from her balcony.... nice view for HK$55,000 a month - pretty breathtaking (both the view and the rent!)

That evening, we went to sis #3's; big sis was there already so it was lovely to see little niece (now a year old) and little nephew. We ended the night playing Scrabble of all things!

Anyway, I was a bit confused the next morning as I was woken up by animal sounds, hooting etc. This was because the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens (the greenery in the right hand pic) which is just a 5 minute walk from my little sis', has a selection of monkeys and apes - I made a little visit and it was very pleasant - found out some interesting stuff like did you know orchids are the largest family in the plant kingdom, over 25,000 known species discovered? Learn summat new every day! :-)

It's not often that the whole family gets together so someone had come up with the bright idea of a family photo session! It was pretty fun in the studio, we were a bit disorganised, the babies got fed up very quickly and despite my jetlag, I didn't look too shabby!

After lunch, us girls including mum ended up in a posh shoe shop and mum insisted on getting me a pair of designer (Marc Jacobs??) shoes....Sis #3 gets a discount but even so, they were not cheap at half the price and I think I might have to frame them or something when I get home!

That evening, our aunt treated us to a MEGA seafood dinner - various different crab, lobster, king prawns - well yummy! I then went to SoHo with the guys for a coupla beers.

I had been planning on doing some serious shopping on this trip and I did pretty well, even squeezing some Christmas shopping in. My big purchase however was a Toshiba laptop, an excellent price (especially with the exchange being $16 to the pound) and I got extra gig thrown in, case, flash stick etc.

Went up the Mid Levels escalator to sis #2's; She's been a busy bee lately - she recently had an operation (endometreitis), she's selling her apartment (found a buyer after two weeks!) and she took some exams and will receive an award for achieving the highest national marks - spoddy swot or what!

Anyway, here's the view from her apartment - bit more cramped but still a little dizzying!

Little sis had a business trip in Vietnam so I moved my stuff from hers to stay with sis #3. The taxi driver who took me there said he knew I wasn't a resident of Hong Kong. I asked him if it was my Cantonese accent (I don't get to use the lingo much) but he said no, not at first, it was the way I looked and dressed. Ok, so it was November and I was wearing a vest top but hey, it was over 20 degrees, hot for someone from the cold UK!
The area of Pok Fu Lam is generally quieter but with two babies in the house, it wasn't! I had a couple of sleepless nights - if it wasn't the little nephew crying cos his hours were all wrong, it was the little niece crying cos she was teething and had a temperature! Ah well, not like I had to get up for work in the mornings and it was great spending time with them during waking hours!
Also living in the same apartment block is one of my mates from uni (small world, her daughter plays with my niece!). Spent a day with her and her kids at the HK Cricket Club - she has her own wine delivery business these days.
Anyway, left is the view from sis #3's balcony - nice!
The latter part of my holiday saw me heading to Sai Kung in the New Territories, to my parents' place and doing some shopping in Mong Kok, Kowloon. We planned a trip out with little nephew in tow, I carried him in a front sling and he was very good, charming all the people in the shops with his smile (I think he helped us get some discounts!)
The next coupla days also saw me:
- going to a house party (oh how the rich live...) thrown by an art consultant who's got a big contract with the Venetian casino in Macau;
- catching a cold due to refridgerator-like air conditioning in a sushi restaurant;
- watching Beowulf (hmm..lots of bare flesh and rippling muscles!)
- buying a 120gb portable LACIE hard drive
- doing some Christmas shopping

The main reason for my trip this time was to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday - my mum and sisters had a surprise party planned (not such a surprise after my Gran gave the game away...) and we celebrated in some posh Chinese restaurant in Causeway Bay - ate loads.
And then, it was time to go home.
All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, very much family-orientated this time, had some relaxing days but also some sleepless nights.
Not sure if I could live in Hong Kong permanently - maybe.
The efficiency and cleanliness of the underground never ceases to amaze me, considering the amount of people churning in and out of those trains.
I still can't get over some of the selling techniques they use here though, eg:
Girl at Clarins Counter in Watsons- "Miss, can I recommend you this beauty cream set, there's an offer on today."
Me - "Oh? Let me see what's included."
Girl at Clarins Counter in Watsons - "Your skin is starting to look a bit wrinkly and saggy and will start making you look old, so this set will be great for you."
Me - "Really? Err, no thanks, bye!"
It was great the family being all together. Looking forward to my next trip over in probably another two years time!
Phew - the end (to anyone still reading...)


  1. Welcome back! You made me feel tired just reading that. Colds are doing the rounds - I have one too.

    Sounds like a good trip anyway. I loved HK although struggled a bit with the humidity and the jetlag. I must go back some time.

    Hope you feel better soon. Get plenty of rest and knock back the lemsips.

  2. Bugger ~ I live at the foot of the them mountains/hills that pass as Pok Fu Lam - I'm in Kennedy Town! Could have said hello one afternoon, had I not been mostly pisht fert past week.
    Am I right in thinking you were near the Belcher's? Or at least the Westwood?