Hong Kong 2012 – Day 6 & 7

09/29/12

Georgina went to attend her cousin’s wedding while Shela and myself were to fend for ourselves. My father’s best friend Ronald and his wife Maisie who reside in Sydney, Australia (whom I visited back in 2010) were in Hong Kong visiting their son so we met for lunch. We met them at Lam Tin station which a suburb on the island. We thought it would take about an hour to get to Lam Tin from Aberdeen but their subway system is so efficient that we got there in under 45 minutes.  Strolled the local mall that was filled with children and their Filipino nannies. I guess we looked really out of place since Shela is Filipino and I was quite dark complexion in a suburban area without any kids in tow that the nannies gave us looks. Uncle and auntie wanted to take us for some Chiu Chow styled Chinese food and it was so delicious. We went to Laguna Plaza Club. We had: cold crab, clear dumplings with bean or green onion inside, spring rolls with wasabi, chicken with fried pepper leaves, porkchops (amazing! Not the typical fried crunchy thing you find at home), flat rice noodle with gai lan and beef. For dessert we had fried noodle pancake with vinegar and sugar and my favourite was by far the fried yam with a sugar crust. We ate like kings and queens and of course I had to have a beer with Uncle Ronald as my father is his best drinking buddy. Such an amazing lunch and great conversation.

After lunch, Shela and myself parted ways with uncle and auntie and took the subway line to Lantau for the Gateway Outlets by the airport. It was so quick and easy. We leisurely went around and ended up back at Causeway Bay and had wonton noodle soup as auntie Maisie recommended us to eat as it tastes so good here no matter where you get it. I ordered in Cantonese (I tried)  but the server looked at me and smiled. The wonton noodle soup was so tasty. The shrimp wontons were just so flavourful. The best part – it was 60hkd for 2!

09/30/12

Woke up at 630AM; Georgina and Shela slept in until 11AM. We ended up meeting up with our friends Shawn and Louisa at Tsim Sha Tsui and went shopping. Shawn and Lulu just had returned from Beijing the night before.

We went through the main mall – One Plaza  then made our way to the outlets on Carlton Rd. Georgina suggested we cut through the park which seemed like the Central park of Hong Kong. Since It’s a Civic holiday and mid-autumn festival, there were tons of people out and about. At the outlets we ate at Mcdonalds and I tried the Ebi burger (shrimp patty) with sesame sauce.

It’s tradition usually for mid-autumn festival to have dinner with your family so in this case, we got to celebrate with Georgina’s extended family. After dinner, Georgina’s family brought us to the bus stop. We took the A10 to the airport and arrived quite early and checked into Terminal 2 then off to terminal 1 for boarding. HKG airport is enormous. It is in the shape of a cross and splits off into 3 wings where were all so long. We only went down 2 wings and the reward at the end was the food courts. Flight departed at 1250AM and was set to arrive 530AM in Osaka. Osaka is one hour ahead.

Hong Kong 2012 – Day 4 & 5

09/27/12

Georgina was born in Hong Kong and had to goto the Post Office to collect her Hong Kong Citizenship cheque. After she collected her cheque, we headed to Victoria Peak. Took the 7A bus then the subway to Admiralty then took a taxi (20HKD) to the peak tram. It cost 40HKD with return to go up the peak. We met our first Canadians on the tram going up. They have been travelling since the beginning of the month and they were in Tibet and China previously before coming to Hong Kong. The tram travels at 45 degrees and takes about 10 minutes and at the very top there is a whole new little town. The people who live up on the peak pretty much are the rich people. Hong Kong runs on escalators galore. The mall at the top has a 5 floors plus another galleria across from it. We decided to walk around the peak and take the main path about 2800M.

It was such a beautiful day to walk the path and luckily there was no smog (barely any) so we could see everything. My goal today was to recreate a photo of my mother on the peak as a teen. The heat kept the bugs away but there was no breeze so the the humidity was strong. Since the land tax is so high, there were multiple properties that have been abandoned. After our walk of the peak we were famished and decided to eat at the top floor of the Peak Plaza at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Fish n chips – can’t go wrong!

We decided to taxi and subway over to Tsim Sha Tsui (zeem sha chuy). The subway station is so long that you can much walk 3-4 blocks underground where you have sections with the moovators that the airports. Tsim Sha Tsui has a large community of South Asians. Our original plan was to take the Star ferry night ride but once we past the HK Museum of art it opened up into the pier/boardwalk and I have to tell you, it was breath-taking. It was one of those moments you just stood and had to take it all in. It’s as beautiful as the postcards. We found a street of food and grabbed food at a curry house. I had the Karikake soba noodle combo – light and nice with a hokkaido pudding to end it off. The bus line for the 72 was enormous but surprisingly that line moved quickly. For each bus, there is a queue where you line up behind and for the most part, it’s organized.

09/28/12

We dropped off our laundry at Jackson – 38HKD for our load which is priced by weight. They returned it all ironed and folded in a plastic bag.

I wanted to go to Shek-O as that was my father’s old hangout as a teen however it was too far out and unfortunately I wasn’t abel to recreate a photo there. We made our way to Stanley instead.

The 73 bus took us all the way to Stanley Centre Rd where Stanley Market is located. The area is slopy and has a windy one-laned roads. It took a decent amount of time to travel the distance. There are a few country clubs and beach houses roadside but also some shack-like residences. The terrain and environment in this area has lush greenery and they also have grass (which is sparse or for the wealthy who can afford it). Stanley is the european area of the island and has a rich history apparently.

Stanley Market is a very constricted area with little shops lined up one by one. There are tons of expats that live in this area. We ended up walking to the Stanley Pier and it was once again one of those breathtaking moments. You get the market in the background with local residence intertwined then a boardwalk with tiny shops and a soccer field. We never made it to the beaches because we were too busy climbing rocks. Unfortunately the sunset was cut short as the cloud coverage rolled in quickly.

We ate at Stanley Restaurant and had Pineapple fried rice with chicken, cashews and veggies. Hopped on the 67 bus and to Times Square. Times square is like Toronto’s Eatons centre but is 7 floors tall.

I am a Chinese born Canadian (CBC) however if someone speaks to me in Cantonese, I for the most part understand but will respond in English because my canto is really bad and very Canadian-ized. Being in Hong Kong however has improved my listening and understanding skills however conversing-wise, nothing. Luckily Georgina is fluent. It is ridiculously expensive to live in Hong Kong especially for the size of the property. There was a story in particular that showed a family of 4 living in a 100 square meter apartment and they make 2100HKD/month which isn’t even that much to live off of. That’s 300CAD/month.

 

Hong Kong 2012 – Day 1-3

09/23-24/12

We flew with Air Canada 14.5 hours direct to Hong Kong – very smooth.

Landed in Hong Kong and had to walk a distance to get to customs. The airport is it’s own island as Hong Kong acts as a giant hub for transfers. Once we cleared customs we purchased a sim card and a octopus card. Octopus card is a tap card you can refill and use for buses and convenience stores – It is very important to have one of these cards. $39HKD for the card with $10HKD already on the card.

We stayed at Caritas Oswald Cheung International House (rm2105) in Aberdeen for the week. We got a room with triple beds. We took the bus (A10) from the airport all the way to Tin Wan street (about an hour ride). It is humid outside however, in Hong Kong, they blast AC everywhere indoors (including the bus) – you can’t win. When we arrived at our hotel, our glasses fogged as we left the bus. We went to reception and they heard us speaking english so they started to converse with us in english and unknowingly, they spoke with a British accent. Hong Kong was once under British rule thus British schooling. After checking in, we passed out until dinner time. We joined Georgina’s parents for dinner at a small restaurant down the street. The rain started to come down really hard to the point that the streets were flooded and a heavy stream of water covered the streets. Good thing for flip flops.

The streets are so narrow and everything is pretty much on angles and slopes including schools. Since there isn’t much land, they build upwards. There are 7-Eleven’s everywhere. Well Come is their equivalent to our Loblaws, Shop n Park – Food Basic, K mart – Shoppers drugmart.

20HKD÷7=2.86CAD.

09/25/12

Since the weather called for rain, we decided the night before that we would make it a shopping day. In the morning, we went to Number 1 bakery and grabbed buns and egg tarts then some Vitasoy from the 7-Eleven for breakfast. We left around 930AM and arrived at Causeway Bay by bus at 10AM. Stores don’t open until 11AM (they stay open really late). The temperature started rising as we started to walk around. The sun came out and the rays were strong. Since Hong Kong is so jam-packed, they build department stores & malls upward. There are tons of shopping centres scattered around. Our biggest haul for shopping was from Uniqlo – we spent about 2 hours in there.

SOGO is the Hong Kong version of America’s Macy’s or Canada’s The Hudson Bay Company where brands are separated into sections in one big building. We all purchased a pair of Birkenstocks for 449HKD a pair ($65CAD). We went to Yoshinoya for lunch, which was basically a beef bowl with rice and onions.

It’s overwhelming to see so many people congested into one area. We grabbed beef jerky from Bee Cheng Hiang and also grabbed mango drinks at Hui Lau Shan (hoy lau saang). We returned home by the 72 bus and grabbed Mcdonalds for dinner – I got the big tasty. It’s weird to see people just leave their trash everywhere and on the tables but they have people that get paid to clean.

09/26/12

Adjusting to the time is difficult – Sleeping at 11PM but waking at 3AM. The time difference is 12 hours from Toronto.

I officially got up at 1030AM and went out to explore and shoot. I went left on the main street and kept going left thinking it would lead me back to my street instead it led me uphill and the road kept curving right. Back to Causeway Bay to take the subway line (MTR) – to Mong Kok – the Kowloon side of Causeway Bay. Their subway lines are very efficient in transporting thousands upon thousands of people each and everyday and are ahead of their time well, at least way ahead from Toronto. The subway line is incredibly easy to use and I highly recommend using it! The automated voice speaks in Cantonese, Mandarin and then English with a British accent. Also here on buses/subs etc there is absolutely no eating or drinking (all about efficiency). The subway also is slightly wider and only has seats going along the side instead of toronto’s seats that sit 2 forward/backwards and along the side. They also have metal seats so its easier to clean and just like Paris’ system, you can get cell service all the way underground. To enter the subway, there are already lanes for people to walk through and then arrows where people line up by glass doors which open when the subway arrives (also a good prevention of people jumping onto the tracks). As you exit you need to swipe your octopus card as the MTR charges by distance. There is absolutely no eating or drinking on the subway or else you might end up in a fight with locals.

It feels like it was 10-15 minutes just to get out of the subway station but Hong Kong is all about escalators at all lengths, angles and speeds.

When we arrived at Mong Kok station, we found ourselves at Langham Place which is a 12-storey shopping complex with a crazy long escalators and all about the astrology theme. It jumps from floor 3 to 8 and when you reach 8 there are stairs to either go up or down.

Just to get to each floor was a trek so we stopped by the food court for lunch. I grabbed the chicken beef with omurice from Curry House. It’s weird but they have food court security people who just watch you eat. I guess it’s for efficiency so they get you in and out in no time. I wanted to goto Tim Ho Wan – 2-8 kwong wah st which is the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant but we couldn’t wait to eat.

We walked shoe street and the ladies market. Ladies market street is quite long but is a great place to bargain for goods of all sorts there.

We finished shopping and decided to meet up with Georgina’s extended family for dinner on the west coast of Hong Kong island. We took the subway to the end then hopped onto the 5B bus. This city is busy all the time – think New York’s Times Square but everywhere. We finally made it to our destination after Sands St stop and had dinner in a food court type hot pot restaurant. We took a sprinter van/bus home.

Itinerary – Hong Kong & Japan 2012

This is my 2 week itinerary for my trip to Hong Kong & Japan. 1 week in Hong Kong and 1 week in Japan. I travelled with my friends Georgina and Shela.

 

0923-101012 – Hong Kong & Japan

 

09/24 – Hong Kong

Hotel: Caritas Oswald Cheung International House

-Dinner with Georgina’s parents

 

09/25 – Hong Kong

-Causeway Bay – shopping

 

09/26 – Hong Kong

-Mong Kok – Shopping – Langham Place, Shoe Street, Ladies Market

-Dinner with Georgina’s family

 

09/27 – Hong Kong

-Victoria Peak

 

09/28 – Hong Kong

-Stanley – Stanley Park

 

09/29 – Hong Kong

-Georgina is going to cousin’s Wedding (evening)

-Shela & Rosanna – lunch with Rosanna’s “uncle Ronald & auntie Maisie”

-Shopping – Outlets

 

09/30 -Hong Kong

-Meet Shawn and Lulu at Tsim Sha Tsui – shopping

 

10/01 – Osaka, Japan

HKG-KIX – Peach Aviation

Hotel: J-Hoppers

-Rinku Outlets

 

10/02 – Osaka

-Osaka Aquarium – $25cdn/person 1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, JAPAN – 2000 yen

-Dinner with Kayo – Yaki niku

 

10/03 – Osaka

-City walk & Museum with Mr Yano

-Tenjinshibashi – outdoor shopping centre

-temples

 

10/04 – Osaka

-Ramen Museum

-Dinner at Tsuruhashi Fugetsu Yodobashiumeda with Kayo

 

10/05

-Kyoto – Fushimi Inari, Yasaka Jinja Shrine, Sorin-Ji Shrine

-International night at J-Hoppers

 

10/06

-NARA – Nara Deer park

-Hotel: Capsule Hotel Asahi Plaza in Shinsaibashi

 

10/07

-Osaka Castle

-Dinner with Alvin

KIX – HKG – Peach Aviation – missed flight

 

10/08-10

KIX-HKG – Peach Aviation

HKG -YYZ – Air Canada

HOMEBOUND

 

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