Start of the long weekend

I got up at 8am this morning, to make sure I was awake for when our home delivery arrived today. Their window was 9am – 2pm, which is a pretty damn huge window! πŸ˜‚ Luckily they arrived at around 11am, so we didn’t have to wait around for too long.

We had lunch in Wan Chai at Sabah Malaysian Cuisine, which apparently is in the Michelin Guide! It reminded me so much of SG, where all these types of dishes were just readily available. Awww SG, still missing you πŸ˜” But they’re closing in October, due to their lease expiring, so we’ll have to find out where they end up setting up shop again, for those times when we have a hankering for Malaysian food πŸ˜‹

We stopped by the computer centre once again, since we were in the area. It’s almost obligatory to stop by if we’re in Wan Chai πŸ˜‚ This time N bought some charging cables. I think electronics are his gazingus pins, a term coined by the authors of Your Money or Your Life to describe items that you are just compelled to buy, even if you already have a bajillion other similar items at home. So he always wants to stop by electronics stores and check out whatever gadgets they have there. In SG it was Challenger; here, it’s pretty hard to beat the Wan Chai Computer Centre! πŸ˜‚

My gazingus pin is stationery 😊 I love stationery, and I really have to stop myself from buying the stuff. This is one area where I am not an underbuyer! πŸ˜‚ But I have reined in this buying habit a fair bit now, and I have told myself that I have to use up all the stationery at home first before I can buy any more. I’ve kept it under control so far, as my desire for a less cluttered home is also quite strong. But yeah, stationery is definitely my gazingus pin πŸ˜†

We’re planning on going to Macau tomorrow, I’m very excited! Another new country to visit 😊 Although technically part of China, like HK is, it also falls under the “one country, two systems” policy, so it’s also a “Special Administrative Region”. But I still see it as a country in its own right, despite the technicalities. I’m excited to be doing this day trip! 😊

Productive just before the long weekend

I actually had a really productive day, and ended up doing most things that I wanted to do today πŸ‘ It was just a shame that I was feeling quite down for a lot of the day, so I didn’t get to revel in the success of my day πŸ˜” I normally would be quite proud of having had such a productive day, but today I just felt empty πŸ˜” I don’t like these sorts of days, but I guess everyone has them – it’s just part of life, right? You have to take the good with the bad, that’s how I see it.

We have another long weekend tomorrow – it doesn’t feel like the last one was that long ago?! Public holidays here seem to be spaced out quite nicely πŸ‘ Although after having said that, there’s probably a dearth of public holidays between now and Christmas…! πŸ˜…

Yep, the next one after Monday 1 July (HK Establishment Day) is Tue 1 Oct, National Day. That’s THREE MONTHS away! OK I spoke too soon, sighhh… Although that’s still not as bad as the almost FIVE-MONTH stretch in Melbourne between the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in mid-June to Melbourne Cup day which is early November, before they introduced the AFL grand final long weekend, which broke that long stretch up a bit. That was torturous πŸ˜‚ I think SG’s public holidays were the most evenly spread out. Not only were they a culturally balanced mix of public holidays, but they were also well spread out throughout the year. Awww SG, I still miss you πŸ˜”

Old and new

I received an email from my SG broker saying that they’re closing my account in a few weeks, as new regulations won’t allow them to hold accounts for residents of HK πŸ˜” I am soooo sad about this!! I really like this broker. Their service is great, and their platform is really easy to use and navigate your way around.

So I then went searching for a new broker, and wasn’t all that impressed with what I found πŸ˜’ But I did come across an Australian one, which I’d heard of before, so I signed up for a demo account. And less than ten minutes later I reckon, a relationship manager gave me a call to say that he’d seen my application! Talk about customer service! And note this was at 7pm Sydney time, where the call came from, and where their head office is. So that was quite impressive. But before I sign up properly, I just want to play with their demo platform for a while and make sure I know how to use it before I actually give them real money.

I spoke to my mum for a little while after I spoke to mr broker representative guy, and then just watched a few episodes of Masterchef Australia. I feel like I’m sooo behind this year. I’ve watched most seasons of this show, and maybe I watch it even more religiously now, as it’s one of the last few remaining symbols of my life in Australia. I do miss my life in Oz, but I have also had an amazing experience living in Asia the past few years. Not always sunshine and rainbows, but definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And as I keep saying, I don’t know how long we will have the privilege of living here, so I just try and be grateful for every day that we do get to spend in this part of the world. But that doesn’t mean I won’t vent here every once in a while! πŸ˜‚

Humidity

A few people say that summers in HK can be even more brutal than in SG, which I think N agrees with, but I’m yet to feel it. As you may know, I don’t get hot very easily. My ideal temperature is in the low 30s, and only when it gets into the high 30s would I start considering it “hot” πŸ˜† Temperature-wise, it can get warmer here, but I actually felt the humidity more in SG. Actually, let me rephrase that: I don’t really understand what humidity means, as I don’t really feel it πŸ€ͺ The only way I can judge the extent of the humidity is just how drenched my back is at the end of the day πŸ˜‚ And so far, my back has barely cracked a sweat this summer. But today was the first time the weather was actually starting to rival SG’s, so maybe the proper summer is yet to come…?? I’ll find out soon enough… I’ll keep you posted πŸ˜‰

But having said that, we have a mould issue in the apartment, which is terribly annoying and apparently very common in these high humidity climates! And people’s suggestions on how to combat the problem? Leave the aircon on 24-7! 😲 I don’t think it’s a very cost effective way to solve the problem, nor is it the most environmentally friendly, which is just as frustrating as the problem itself! We didn’t have this issue in SG, but apparently it’s a big issue there too πŸ˜” Maybe because we live in an older building here, and so ventilation isn’t as great?? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ So as a compromise, I tend to turn on the aircon whenever I’m in a room, and turn it off when I leave. And I also turn the aircon on in whichever room Kitty is sleeping, so she’s a little comfortable too. I hardly ever turned on the aircon in SG, it was only ever on when N was home too. But here, I use all the aircon units on a daily basis because of the mould issue. Isn’t that just lovely πŸ˜’

Meetups

I went to a social entrepreneurship meetup today, my first meetup in HK. I went to a few in SG, mainly (only?) language meetups, which weren’t too bad. But today’s meetup was awesome, really inspiring. I want to do something in this space, but still not sure what, but today’s meetup inspired me to really spend some time on this interest and actually see if I can actually make some meaningful contribution somehow. A few different organisations were mentioned today, and that has already given me enough to research for the short term. These guys were so full of passion and ideas, I really just wanted to join in the movement and actually do something too! So watch this space, there may be something that comes out from this 😊 I’m really glad I went today. Hopefully their future meetups will be just as informative and inspiring 🀞

And speaking of language meetups, there’s a few here for Mandarin language learners as well. And given the positive experience I had today, I’m more inclined to try a few of these other meetups now too πŸ‘

Asia International Dance Championship

The Asia International Dance Championship was on today. I got to go last year, as I just happened to be in HK on one of my reconnaissance trips prior to us permanently moving here πŸ˜† I enquired about spare dinner tickets on the actual day of the comp last year, and luckily they had one, so I got to go. I was inappropriately dressed, as I was effectively on holidays then, so I wore the most dressy thing I had: a summer dress with sandals 🀣 But apart from that, I remember the standard of the comp being totally amazing. It actually felt like I was watching a comp in Europe, with all the top-level European dancers actually competing in the comp. And we also got dinner on the night too, a proper three-course dinner, which I could actually enjoy since we weren’t competing. But N couldn’t go because he had some work function on that evening, so as much as I enjoyed the dancing, I didn’t get to enjoy it with him, which was a shame.

So now that we’re actually living in HK, I figured I should go again. But can you believe it, N is in Shanghai for work for the next few days! So he missed out for a second year in a row πŸ˜” Terribly disappointing. So I went on my own again.

And once again, the standard of the competition was on a whole other level. When you have some of the world’s best competing at the comp, you know you’re in for an awesome evening. And the food there is amazing too. I don’t know how the chefs can cook such high quality food for an event as large as that. Kudos to them as well πŸ‘ It’s great to actually enjoy the dinner when you’re just at the comp as a spectator and not actually be part of the evening’s performances! πŸ˜†

It was raining tonight, so I decided to catch an Uber to the comp, despite it costing twice as much as a regular cab. But the service is a bajillion times better, and a lot of the Uber drivers can speak English unlike regular cab drivers, and their cars also don’t feel like they’re going to fall apart before we get to my destination. And you can pay by credit card through the app, unlike regular cabs, which pretty much only take cash.

But the rain had stopped by the time I was on my way home, so I decided to make up for the double cost of the earlier Uber by catching the bus home, which cost less than 10% of the Uber. I feel better now πŸ˜†

Biting the bullet

We tried to catch up with one of N’s mates from Oz today and go and have yum cha with him and his wife; they’re in HK for a few days for his wife’s work. But it didn’t quite pan out that way, so we just ended up having our usual weekend brunch on our own πŸ˜†

We were a bit adventurous today and thought we’d try a place that didn’t have an English menu 😱

Yum cha menu all in Chinese 😱

I know the Chinese for most of the dishes that we like now, so I’m relatively more comfortable walking into these places nowadays, and seeing a yum cha menu entirely in Chinese isn’t as intimidating anymore. Plus it gives me the opportunity to learn a few new dishes, so it’s all good 😊 Dinner menus, on the other hand, are a different story… But we don’t tend to do Chinese for dinner; and if we do, we would normally go with friends who can read Chinese anyway, so they end up doing the ordering πŸ˜†

We went to Muji afterwards to buy a portable essential oil diffuser. I’ve been wanting one for ages now, but the under-buyer in me continually stopped me from buying one. But for some reason, something just compelled me to go and buy it today, so I bit the bullet and just went for it. And I absolutely love it! People go on about the health benefits of essential oils, but I just love the smell of bergamot and can’t sniff enough of it, it’s like a drug for me 🀣 And if it’s a drug that’s good for me, then even better! πŸ‘ I won’t say no to the stuff *sniff sniff* hehehe

My new Muji portable aroma diffuser 😊

My first HK junk boat experience

We went on a junk boat today. And by junk boat, I don’t mean the traditional junk boats that HK is known for – ie not one of these:

We were basically on a normal yacht. But I think people here just call it junk boat anyway. What do you do on one of these junk boats, you ask? Well I’d never been on one, so I had no idea what to expect. But essentially, you’re on this yacht for like SIX HOURS. It just goes around somewhere in HK, plonks itself near one of the islands, and it just sits there for a few hours, until it’s time to head back to the starting point. Apparently junks come in all shapes and sizes: some are BYO and some are full on first class digs. Ours was somewhere in between: we had food and drinks included, as well as a sound system, so that was pretty cool.

Our β€œjunk boat” for the day

Anyway, so our junk picked us up from Central Pier, and took us all the way around HK Island down to somewhere near Stanley. The whole trip took about an hour, before we finally plonked ourselves near the island. What I didn’t realise was that we couldn’t actually walk ON to the island, as it was still quite a fair way from the boat. Even for a strong swimmer (which I’m totally not), the island was still quite far away, so no one on our boat headed over there and people just swam around near the boat. There were a few noodles and floaties that people brought along with them, so that was also pretty cool.

View of HK Island as we pulled away from Central Pier – one of the few photos I took before the motion sickness kicked in

But basically, I didn’t get a reprieve from the rocking of the boat. For six freaking hours. And I started feeling the motion sickness after just one hour in. Sighhh… So I tried to sleep off the remaining four hours on one of the beanbags on the boat. And I took my travel sickness tablets every hour, just to keep me on the same blah level, and not get any worse than what I already was. You’re supposed to take them every 2 hours as required, but I missed the first 2-hour point, and that was when I started feeling ill. I should’ve taken it 2 hours in, on the dot, before I started feeling ill. That is, when we first got on the boat. Then I might have had a chance to stave off the motion sickness! Sighhh…

Once they stopped our boat and joined the two boats together (our group had enough people for two boats! 😱) they started cooking lunch. And when you have motion sickness, your senses are heightened, and everything just becomes amplified. And as luck would have it, they were cooking lunch on our boat. So the smells from all the food was making me feel worse! And then there was the music blaring, and people walking up and down the boat, having numerous conversations around me. None of it was helping. So in the end, I didn’t get much sleep, and I didn’t even get to eat lunch. It ended up being a very expensive sleep! πŸ˜”

I wasn’t the only one, though. There were actually a handful of us on the boat just trying to sleep it off. And one guy apparently had too much to drink, and he too was trying to sleep it off πŸ˜‚

As soon as we were back at the pier, I was basically one of the first few people off that damn boat 🀣 As I am writing this, I, in fact, still feel like I am rocking, so I am going to head to bed soon to shake off this damn motion sickness once and for all. So this was my first and probably last time I go on a junk boat while we’re in HK! πŸ˜‚

Is food a compelling enough reason??

We met up with a friend from Oz who’s in HK for a few days this week. She flies back tomorrow night, actually, so I’m glad we got to catch up. We went to Man Kee Cart Noodle in Sham Shui Po, which apparently is featured in the Michelin Guide. I didn’t know this until today, which probably explains the ridiculous queue here. According to Google Maps, this place gets busier as the night goes on, so I suggested we get there early (6:30pm), as apparently it’s not too busy yet at this time. We did have to wait a little, but the queue still wasn’t too bad when we were there. Plus you have to wait outside – in the HK heat, which can be quite unpleasant for some people. So while my two companions were melting, I was happily waiting in what I could possibly describe as my ideal weather πŸ˜†

The menu here is entirely in Chinese, and there are no pictures anywhere to help you 😱 But before we suggested this place, I had to check if our friend could read Chinese, otherwise all three of us would just be happily circling random things on the menu for pot luck 🀣 Well that’s not true, as I can read some stuff, just not all of it. But luckily she can read Chinese, and so she helped us along 😊 I think one of my language goals should be to be able to read these damn menus! 😩

I should just study the above menu, as all these dishes should come up in various menus all around HK, right?? For example, I can read “chicken”, but not “wings”. And then I need to learn the different words for how chicken could be cooked; and the types of broths they can be cooked in… And the different types of noodles that are available… etc etc… Surely I’ll slowly pick these things up if I make a conscious effort to learn food words?!? πŸ˜† And if we want to have real, authentic HK food, most of them won’t have English menus, just like this place. And we won’t always have a Chinese speaking person with us to help us order. Is that a strong enough reason for me to learn these words?? πŸ€”

Great work

I decided to go to IKEA today to buy a new bath mat, one that our lame washing machine can handle, so I don’t have to go down to the laundromat each time I need to wash it. But IKEA’s current bath mats come in blah colours! I was going to just get white, but then I was undecided because the mat is actually quite small. So I hesitated. And when a non-shopper like me hesitates, it means nothing gets bought. And that’s exactly what happened today. I need to mull over this purchase now! This underbuying tendency can be so ridiculous sometimes. I can’t remember how much the bath mat was, but it’s IKEA, for crying out loud, it wouldn’t have broken the bank. Plus it cost time and money to get there, so now if I do decide to buy it, I’m going to have to spend the same amount of time and money again – and including the cost of today’s trip, perhaps with a total spend of almost the same amount as the cost of the mat itself! Ridiculous. Just ridiculous. If I had thought of this when I was at IKEA, I probably would’ve made the decision to buy the small, white bath mat then and there. Sighhh… But as it stands, I still don’t have a replacement bath mat, and the one in the bathroom is still stained with Kitty’s vomit. Lovely. Great work, 99, great work.

On a more positive note, after a good sesh at the gym, we watched the Christmas special of season two of Black Mirror. It was goood!! It’s such an awesome series. Jon Hamm was in the episode, which I didn’t expect, so that was a pleasant surprise. Lucky I’m behind with the series, so I still have a few more episodes to go before I’m fully caught up πŸ‘ It was good to watch some western tv for once πŸ˜† I’ve been stuck in my Korean drama world for ages, it’s nice to get out of my little tv bubble every now and again πŸ˜‚