Monday, 16 January 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY EIGHT

I find the last day of any holiday is always a weird day. I want to go home, yet I want to stay on holidays. I want to do so much, that I think I have missed out on, yet I don't want to do too much as I know I have an exhausting plane ride ahead of me with a child.



The last day in Hong Kong was no exception. We woke early, had breakfast, and headed off to the markets. Jarvis really wanted to buy a Halloween costume. Justin knew an area that just sells costumes. So Jarvis had so much fun picking one out, and I was happy to find the area had a lot of yarn bombing.



But then the day, for me, went downhill. On the way back I thought I would shout myself some shoes that I had been eyeing off in a couple of the shops. Tried five or more shops, not one stocked the styles I like in larger sizes. I am an Australian size 9, which is a size 40.  

Then we meet up with Justin's family at a restaurant for yum cha. Yes, they have bums and willys on the buns, but waiting for over an hour for average food was not great. Even then we had to sit at two separate areas because we had too many people for one table. Jarvis and I both really wanted to spend time with Justin because he was on a different flight home and we would not see him for two days, but we were at opposite ends of the restaurant.



Then we had no idea what to do after lunch. Justin's whole family wanted to spend the afternoon with us, but there were just too many people walking around.

I suggested the park, so Jarvis could have a play, yet after 20 minutes, Jarvis was so red and sweaty from the heat.

With a loss as what to do, we and all of Justin's family just ended up sitting in the hotel foyer, waiting until it was time to bus it to the airport. Crap ending to our stay. I know it was a crap ending as I did not take a single photo after lunch...

Interesting thing to note, we got to the airport and Justin and his Mum went their way to check in, Jarvis and I went our way. They started 30 minutes before us, yet Jarvis and I still made it through, check in, security and customs almost 20 minutes before Justin and his Mum. And this was with Jarvis and I stopping for a very (very) long loo break. Why is it Justin and his Mum always get stopped for every security check known to man, and I always get waved on through every security check?




What is it like for other people when they travel? 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY SEVEN

Justin's cousin had planned a day for us, so we caught the train out to Diamond Hill to meet up with everyone. 

(Does this count as our family portrait for the day? Not sure who the random is to my left)

Before we left for our adventure, we walked (what felt like ages, carrying Jarvis) to an Italian restaurant for lunch.

Side note: add to the list of things I have learnt while travelling. Don't eat Chinese food in France. And do not eat Italian in Hong Kong.

After lunch we then drove to an area which is known for the wild monkeys, that wander willy nilly all over the roads. Golden Hill Country Park or Kam Shan Country Park was established in 1977, its a country park located in the ranges north of Kowloon. Kam Shan, or Monkey Hill is home to the macaques. I was told these monkeys are probably descendants of monkeys released by pet owners a hundred or so years ago.




Another car pulled up at the same time as we did, and they came with a box of fruit to feed the monkeys. This was fun and terrifying at the same time. After all they are wild monkeys. However, it is illegal to feed the monkeys. Which I found out when the other driver incurred a fine. Opps.



We then just drove around looking at the scenery, yes Hong Kong really is kinda smoggy. But the drive was great, as we stopped at a really tiny village.



Justin's cousin dropped us back off at the hotel for a rest. Getting stuck in peak hour on the way back to the hotel made me very aware why the air in Hong Kong is very smoggy.

We did our normal shower, and rest. Before heading our to meet up the entire family for a massive banquet dinner. Justin scoffed the first course, he thought that was it. But then they kept bringing out course after course after course! Ever needed a forklift to get you home after way too much food?

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY SIX

There is a good reason why things makes it to lists with titles like "Top Ten things to do in Hong Kong". On the Friday we opted to hit a few of those top tens.



First up was Victoria Peak. Via the Peak Tram. The Peak shows off iconic views of the Hong Kong island and Kowloon skyline.  Most opt to take the Peak Tram, with its slow moving carriages that scale the hillside in a bumpy ole ride, offering increasingly better views of the Hong Kong skylines until passengers reach the top.  

Once at the top you exit via gift shops to a multi level shopping complex. We exit this and walk what is know as the Peak hike. It was refreshingly cool, so Justin and Jarvis thought running races were a great idea. 



I thought it was great just to enjoy the views and the cooler temp.



Stopping only for a little hillside graffiti. Which is kinda okay, as you are actually on writing on the moss that builds up on the rocks. So it is not a permanent graffiti. Not great to graffiti landmarks, but Jarvis loved it.


After the tram ride down we walked up (read I staggered up in the heat) to Hong Kong Park and Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The Hong Kong Park features several large ponds with turtles and fish as well as a very nice aviary, situated 10 meters above the ground, with a long elevated platform.  Many variety of exotic birds fly overhead and are fed here. This man made forest is a great example of how well Hong Kong does parks. 



After guzzling several bottles of water we walked down to the Hong Kong Park. The enclosed bird aviary thrilled me last time we were in Hong Kong



This time not so much. Nothing wrong with it. Just heat exhaustion had set in. So we trained it back to hotel for much needed showers and naps.

After waking very late in the afternoon, the first thing we did was buy a vintage camera. Okay, well Justin bought it. Jarvis and I watched while eating these yummy waffle/pancake things we got from a street vendor.


We then travelled to Mongkok it is one of the many interesting districts in Hong Kong.  It hosts a number of famous, interesting and tourist friendly street markets. We went to the Ladies night markets. Where Justin did amazing haggling to get huge bargains. We mostly purchased some tourist gifts and Jarvis got himself some Ironman toys.





Away from the markets I bought myself the same thing I got last time in Hong Kong...a new pair of glasses. He offered to do the script lens in them but I was worried about having enough time to go back and collect them. I wish I had done so, as they are still sitting on my desks waiting for lenses. The price of the lenes in Hong Kong is less than a quarter of what I pay here. I could almost pay for a return flight and lenses and still be better off financially then getting them in Australia. Next trip over I am going to do this on my first day in Hong Kong

Monday, 26 December 2016

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY FIVE

By Thursday, day five, we had settled into the groove of being in Hong Kong


Yes, we were still super hot and sweaty every moment outside. Yes, Jarvis still got overwhelmed by the crowds and wanted to be carried. But, I noted Jarvis was happier to wander more. Being covered in sweat, and having a heat headache became the norm.. Or maybe it was because I was learning to say no, to doing too much every day.


Eight o'clock in the morning, and look at Jarvis's sweaty head...

Instead of wandering for ages looking for anywhere open for breakfast I suggested Maccas, pancakes and coffee. Yes, the coffee was crap, but lucky for me I don't drink it, so Jarvis and I enjoyed hotcakes and a chocolate frappe. He was thrilled to get a toy.



I suggested the park for the morning as we were meeting Justin's family for lunch, I wanted Jarvis to have the chance to play and be a kid. Which put Jarvis in an even better mood.



A hotel pitstop for another shower, more snacks, and water. And of course more elevator selfies.


Then we headed off to catch the trains to Kowloon to meet Justin's family. 


After filling our bellies with yum cha, we walked a short distance to Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Flower Market.

The Yuen Po Bird Garden is actually a small lane, the traditional Moon Gate is at the start of this pedestrian alley. The Chinese had traditionally liked to keep birds as pets. When you walk into this small garden you can see one of Hong Kong's nuances of talking birds for a walk. The garden is a place to hang out and chatt and bond of their love of birds.



The market stands are just a small stroll away, it is a small area with only a few shops but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up with the variety of birds, there is everything from delicate canaries to colourful parrots. Plus, the beautiful hand-crafted bamboo cages and all the sorts of funny and peculiar "bird food" like the buckets  full of live crickets which. I really enjoy this kind of tourism which shows an old and enduring part of traditional Chinese lifestyle.







We, then walked past the flower markets to get to the fish markets. Not sure if it was because we were feeling tired, but Jarvis and I were not as impressed with the fish markets. I struggled with seeing the fish trapped in plastic bags, and Jarvis struggled with the smell.




So I decided to go back to the hotel for a short nap before, meeting up with Justin's family again for dinner. 

Which I am glad I did. Dinner with Justin's family was delicious, but very very late for our travelling four year old. We didn't even get on the first train until 10.30. So, Justin and I took turns carrying him the whole way home. Poor thing barely had a shower before falling asleep. Actually, we all had quick showers and all fell asleep exhausted. 


Monday, 19 December 2016

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY FOUR

What do you do when you are in Hong Kong and it is a really hot and humid day? Go to Ocean Park Hong Kong and spend the day in the sun.



We all came home with headaches and a bit of heat stroke, however, it was a really good day.

Ocean Park Hong Kong, commonly known as Ocean Park, is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, animal theme park and amusement park, situated in Wong Chuk Hang and Nam Long Shan in the Southern District of Hong Kong.


I do not think anyone could 'do' all of Ocean Park in one day, so we just concentrated on the areas we thought Jarvis would enjoy.


The park is separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland). These areas can be reached by a cable car system, I am such a wuss this was my favourite ride.




But, who knew Jarvis would turn out to enjoy all of the rides even the roller coaster for adults. I could hear his giggles the whole ride.



My tips for the park, you will save money, and avoid the longest lines when entering the park, if you buy your tickets online before going. We hired a stroller for Jarvis. Yes he is a bit big, however it had a sunshade which kept him out of the sun. Plus it was good to carry all our stuff. I actually saw lots of parent hiring wheelchairs for their older children. Last tip, take snacks and water. Lot of water.

We got stuck in a traffic jam on the bus ride home from the park, but it was nice just to sit in the aircon and look out the window.





That night we were still so tired we just wandered up the road from our hotel and ordered (Justin ate) the biggest pizza slices I have ever seen. 


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

TOURIST TUESDAY: HONG KONG DAY THREE

Day three, Justin's goal was a 'good coffee and breakfast', so we set off in search of a cafe in Central on Cleverly Street. The route to the train station and the trains were becoming familiar so it seemed an easy trip there. Especially for Jarvis, who got piggy backed by either Justin, or I the whole time.



One of Jarvis's coping mechanisms when we travel, is to be higher for the first few days. I understand, I felt shoved and pushed at the whole time in Hong Kong, so I get that he wants to be higher. However, in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong carrying around an extra 20kgs on top of a heavy bag filled to the brim with drinks, snacks, wipes, cameras and so on. I felt very old and unfit. Lucky for me Justin is super fit and young, and would take Jarvis a good 70% of the time.


Cafe breakfast was very ordinary as far as Brisbane standards. But, as we found out through the rest of our stay, excellent for Hong Kong breakfast.

We then walked, and explored our way through the alleys until we got to the main road. We thought since we had done, planes, trains, and taxis, why not do a tram. Jarvis loved it. For us, it was a break from carting him around, and a chance to see things from a different perspective.




Jarvis then asked for a boat ride, and a helicopter ride. We obliged with the boat, and caught the Star Ferry from central back to Hong Kong Island



Once again we found a cheap, and amazing noodle place and I stuffed myself silly. So the only thing to do was go back to the hotel, have a shower, and a much needed catch up nap.



I ended up waking both the boys in the afternoon, think they could have slept all afternoon! Since we were having dinner with Justin's family in Diamond Hill, which is to the east of Koowloon, we thought a visit to Nan Lian Gardens was a good idea since it is so close to their apartment.

The Nan Lian Garden is a Chinese Classical Garden in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The garden has an area of 3.5 hectares. It is designed in the Tang Dynasty-style with hills, water features, trees, rocks and wooden structures.(This is taken from the Hong Kong travel Guide)


Yes, I took lots of photos of my hot husband in Hong Kong.  





The only thing to do after being immersed in all of that nature, well according to Jarvis and Justin, was a hour or more in a Kids Entertainment Center. Arghhh, torture for me! I really really really dislike games arcades, the noise the lights. Just yuck! But I really, really, really, love Jarvis so I sat there for an hour and half, and sucked it up.

It was a relief to go outside, and get once again sucked up in the heat and humidity. I wish I had taken more photos, than just one, of where Justin's family live. I find attempting to describe, to someone who has never seen inside Hong Kong apartments, is really hard.




After eating waaay too much food, we left to catch the trains home, and got to the hotel super late, and once again after showers all fell into bed exhausted.