My husband has frequently travelled to Hong Kong and Mainland China for his work. He finally got to show me why he loves Hong Kong. We returned from my first visit a few days ago.
I didn’t have much of a preconceived notion about Hong Kong, except that I had heard wonderful things.
Everyone says the shopping is incredible, but INCREDIBLE is an understatement. I have never seen anything like it. I am sure there are bargains to be had, but the stores I most especially noticed were Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Stella McCartney, Chloé, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin… and they seemed to be everywhere! There were also upscale department stores.
This isn’t the kind of shopping I just referred to, but I thought you would enjoy the photo. Notice the man on the far right, he has a toothpick and a cigarette in his mouth and he’s talking on the phone!We were told to visit the Hong Kong Museum of History on our first day, so we would have a better appreciation and understanding of the city.We could have spent a full day in the museum. It covered everything from the ancient rock formations, to cave men, to wars, to modern-day Hong Kong and so much in between. I have always thought of Chinese people as hard-working, dedicated, intelligent and resilient. I assumed those admirable traits were developed out of the necessity to survive and desire to thrive.
I had no idea the people of Hong Kong have endured hardship in relatively recent times, starting with the Japanese occupation in 1941. The Shek Kip Mei fire in 1953 left 53,000 people homeless. In the 1960s, there were two severe droughts and two deadly typhoons, the second typhoon left 72,000 homeless.
I also didn’t realize that people from Hong Kong don’t seem to call themselves Chinese. I am not sure how they say it, they may say they are “Hong Kong”.
Bride and Groom posing outside of the Peninsula Hotel in KowloonI made a new girlfriend on the plane ride to Hong Kong, her name is Eliza aka: Pui King. I asked her about cultural differences between the U.S. and her country. She told me Chinese people never give clocks as gifts. Clocks signify that one’s time is running out, which is like an omen of death.
The night after we met Eliza, we went to dinner with a friend of my husband’s. My husband brought a beautiful bottle of aged scotch to give to his friend for a gift. It was in a bag and when my husband handed him the bag, I said, “We bought a clock for you!” He politely smiled. I quickly told him I was joking, but I think it took him a minute to shake it off.
A friend told us to go to one of the restaurants at the top of this building on the island of Kowloon to watch the light show on Hong Kong’s waterfront buildings.
This is the view from inside the restaurant
This was the view from our table at 8:00 pm
We did not order from the preset menu below, but I thought it was pretty. The dollar amount on the menu is in Hong Kong dollars, not American dollars!
A foggy view from Harbor City Shopping Mall in Kowloon. I am fascinated by the mountain peeks that jut out of the China Sea, barely visible through the fog.
The ferry ride from Kowloon to Hong Kong and my International Scarf
Another view of the ferry and my International Scarf
Kowloon school girls, in the MTR, waiting for their train after school
The Cupping Room’s award winning cappuccino in the Central district of Hong Kong, so wonderfully perfect!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this scaffolding!
A closer look at the scaffolding
Our harrowing tram rideLittle Jane, full of personality. My new girlfriend, whom I met at breakfast.
Green Tea Kit Kat Bars (!) in Japan’s Narita Airport
Green tea, cherry blossom and white chocolate Kit Kats
Clothing with American slogans and English writing were very popular. Sometimes the words were misspelled or the letters were backwards. Often the slogans were cutesy. Have you ever known an American with a tattoo in Chinese? The example below is what can happen when one cannot read the language they are wearing.
I am almost positive this dapper man was unable to interpret written English
My International Scarf on the flight home. I am truly stuck now until I receive professional intervention.😉
23 thoughts on “Hong Kong Get Away”
I love how open you are to new experiences!! One of the many things I love about you.:) xoxo
Thank you Sarah! I love countless things about you! xoxo
I can just hear you making that joke about the clock. You are so funny, Melissa. Loved reading about the adventure! xoXXOo
Janea, I am glad you appreciate my sense of humor, I appreciate yours, too!🌼 XxXooOx
This is Ji. Loved to see your HK trip. I would say “Full of tantrums” too!!
Hi Ji! Thank God little Jane is so darned adorable when she isn’t having temper tantrums! I keep picturing her posing for me when you walked away from the table. Some of her poses were hilarious, but I couldn’t get focused on her quickly enough!
I just prayed that your trip from Korea to Australia will be easier than your trip from Australia, to Hong Kong, to South Korea. Will you be staying in Hong Kong on your trip home?
When she is in “photo mood”, she keeps posing!
Thank you! Yes. On the way back home, we will be staying in HK for 4 days with husband. We plan to take Jane to Disneyland this time.
You have finished packing??
Ji, DisneyLand sounds like a great idea! Have you been there before? My advice: avoid giving Jane sugar, at least too much sugar! We used to live about 30 minutes from DisneyLand in California. We have taken a lot of kids there over the years. Every kid would get hyper on sugar and then crash, often ending the overly-stimulating day with whining and temper tantrums.
Funny you should ask about unpacking! I am usually the worst at unpacking, but I have a house in another state that just sold, so I left Seattle 4 days after we returned from HK. I finished unpacking sort of! I did laundry and re-packed many of the same things, since I went to another hot climate.
I hope you are able to rest and relax in S. Korea, especially before your exciting trek back home!
Well Mel, a very nice ‘peek” at your Hong Kong journey. Only you would notice a guy w/ numerous things in his mouth talking on a phone! And you wonder how the dignified fellow was talked into that particular tuke (Canadian talk). How fun. I bet your eyes are tired from just seeing so many new and wonderful things. Your Mamba says she misses you. Love Janet n Duane
Thanks for sharing your trip with me. I often wondered how long it would be before you decided to take the trip to see all the wonderful colors and sites. Will we see you this winter? Have you sold the house? Hope not. Take care love Jan C
Jan C., I have been wondering when you are coming to Arizona! I am here! We did sell the house. It’s bitter sweet. I am getting things ready for the move. I don’t know much about the buyers, but they seem like good people. I told them they are getting great neighbors!
We still have our rental house here, so we will be back at some point. I expect to keep seeing you here! 😊❤️
Janet, I just texted you. My eyes did see a lot of new and wonderful things! Thankfully, I do well with visual stimulation.
My heart is breaking being without Mamba. I think about her every minute of the day! She’s my little side kick, playmate and cuddle muffin.😔. Thanks for taking her this month!
Happy belated birthday! 💕🎉
That was fun! Thanks for capturing your adventure for us. Sounds like a great trip! I can’t wait to hear more. 😊
It looks like you had a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing!!
What a treat to see Hong Kong through your camera lens! Very excited to hear that you sold your home in AZ!! Now we have to seriously look for a place for you in W. Seattle. Take care, girlfriend!
Corinne, What a treat to see you here! I am missing you. Now I HAVE to have you teach me how to finish my scarf, as I am finally near the end of my last ball of yarn. Just a few feet of yarn left!
Hi Melissa – Finally got a chance to read this. I am so glad that you love Hong Kong. The photos are gorgeous. Have you tried the fish balls?
Hi Eliza! I am so glad you got to read this! I do LOVE Hong Kong! I did NOT try fish balls, is that what’s in the picture that I titled “Street Food”? Are fish balls good? Can you tell me about the top picture in this post, the one with what looks like chicken skins hanging from the ceiling? I imagine these are things used to flavor foods, but I am not sure…
We went to dinner at that awesome fish/seafood market in Kowloon with my husband’s friend. I decided to leave my camera behind that night. What a mistake. That was one of the most mind blowing food experiences I have ever had! I have chosen my own live lobster or fish before, but this was a fish market on steroids! We went to the restaurant at the end on the right side. It was a very fun evening.
Hi, Melissa! Yes, the tiny yellow balls floating in the curry soup are fish balls. You should try them next time you are here. I love them. Those hanging from the ceiling that look like chicken skins are dried “fish maw” (the air bladders of very big fish). They are expensive, easily cost a few thousand Hong Kong dollars (>US$400) per piece. Depending how big and how thick they are, some even cost a few times more expensive. They are supposed to be good for your health and rich in collagen. People braise them with rich sauce or serve them in soup.
BTW, Hong Kong people usually introduce themselves as they are “from Hong Kong” or “Hongkongers/ Hongkongeses” rather than they are “Chinese”. Although Hong Kong became part of China since 1997, a lot of us still think (or hope) we are not. Hong Kong is really very different from China in many ways – laws, government structure, languages etc. In recent years, sadly there are some conflicts and misunderstandings between Mainlanders (people from Mainland China) and Hongkongers because of cultural difference, biases and even discrimination. Hopefully in near future things would get better.
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Eliza, I am so happy you took the time to answer my questions! I never would have thought that was “fish maw” hanging from the ceiling, but then again, I didn’t know about fish maw. Now I want to find a gourmet recipe in which to use fish maw! What a privilege to learn that from you!
I will try the fish balls in curry soup next time! Would you recommend getting them from a street vendor or in a restaurant or does it matter? I am cautious about street food because I worry about getting food poisoning.
The political aspect of Hong Kong vs. China is fascinating to me, but it makes sense. I am also fascinated and impressed by how excellent your spoken and written English is. You told me that you started learning English in school at a very early age, maybe 6? Even so, your abilities are outstanding. I am sure that people reading your comments would not know you are a native Hong Konger! They would think you are American or English!
I would recommend you getting street food from an eatery. If you are brave enough, you may also try food counters (small shop with a food counter set up facing the street). “Bravery” is needed as I think it is quite embarrassing eating on the street — food and sauce dripping all over. If the food is steaming hot, it should be fine but sometime it’s hard to tell. Actually some 7-11 convenience stores also sell fish balls and “fish siu mai” (dumpling made with fish paste) and you may safely try those. Let’s hang out together next time you come!
Many thanks for your kind note. Hong Kong had been a British colony since 1800’s until it was returned to China in 1997. Kids start learning English at kindergarten (normally age 3). Both English and Chinese are our official languages. I do hope Hong Kong will remain international and competitive.
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Eliza, I look forward to hanging out with you! I will let you know when I get to go back to Hong Kong. You may make it here first, if you do make it here first, let’s still hang out! I had such a great flight with you, I felt as if we had known each other for years.
Most Americans begin Kindergarten at age 5!
It’s hard to imagine HK not being international and competitive. I hope it will continue to keep it’s own distinct character and culture, also. It is a special city. It is dignified and sophisticated. We were treated so kindly everyplace we went, too.
Thank you Eliza for the interesting inside scoop!
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