No routine yet

My friend visiting from Sydney texted me saying that her and another friend were walking up The Peak today, and they were meeting up at 10am. I’ve been wanting to walk up too, but the only problem was, I got up at about 11am today πŸ˜‚ So I missed out today πŸ˜” I’ll have to do the walk up another time. Apparently the walk is relatively easy, and takes about half an hour from Conduit Road, the highest point that the mid-level escalators take you. Easy or not, I’d still like to do the walk during the colder season – ie now. I reckon the temperature at the moment is a really nice time to do hikes in this city, so I’d like to do a few over the next few months, especially while we are not quite in a regular daily routine yet, before dancing, karate and Chinese classes eventually become a significant part of our daily lives once again.

Instead, we went and had yum cha with N’s brother at Dim Sum Square in Sheung Wan. This place is really popular: even though we got there at around 3pm, well after what could be considered lunchtime, we still had to queue for about 15min before we got a table. But it was worth the wait, the food was awesome! πŸ‘ And cheap as: we paid HK$224 (S$40) for the three of us! That’s pretty damn good. It’s cash only, but you’re paying so little that this isn’t too much of an issue. At those prices, I could go for lunch every day! πŸ˜‚

We then wandered around Central and Sheung Wan before heading back home and watching a few more episodes of Legion. The lead actor in Legion was also in Downton Abbey!! We totally did not recognise him. He looks completely different in the photos on IMDb from the two shows. He’s a good actor. I really enjoyed watching him on Downton, and now he’s playing this complex character on Legion really well too. I’m only four episodes in, but it’s a good series so far, very bizarre and unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time. Looking forward to finishing season one, which only has eight episodes. So I’m halfway through already 😊


Being more of a tourist

A friend from Sydney is in town for a few days, and I caught up with her for a late lunch today. I haven’t seen her in over twelve years, I reckon, but she’s one of those people who I can just pick up from where I left off as if I just saw her yesterday, even if it was years and years ago since we last spoke. She sorta reminds me of my mum: very friendly and chatty, who can just jibber jabber for ages, having no idea where she’s walking, expecting me to know exactly where we’re supposed to go πŸ˜‚

After lunch, we made our way up the Mid-Level escalators. I know they’re a tourist attraction and all, and they are pretty cool, but I caught them so often when we were checking out the neighbourhood that the escalators serve that I’m sorta over catching them now πŸ˜‚ Plus I still use them to go to various shops and restaurants in the area too, so they’re no longer a tourist attraction for me but rather an actual means of transport! πŸ˜‚ I’ve been here for only three odd weeks and the novelty of the escalators is already starting to wane. That’s a bit sad! Although, even though we’ve technically been only living in HK for about 3-4 weeks, I have been catching these escalators and sussing out the neighbourhood for more like the last 3-4 months πŸ˜‚

Afterwards, we made our way to the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok, which is sorta like a Paddy’s Market in Sydney. I was looking for a pair of tracksuit pants and jumper, since there’s no Kmart or Target discount store type place here that I know of. I might come back another time, make sure I look as povo as possible, and maybe come with someone who can speak Cantonese, so I don’t get charged tourist prices πŸ˜‚ Or come with my actual mum who can go head to head with any of these sellers without even batting an eyelid 🀣

Since we were already over on the Kowloon side, we decided to just make our way to the Avenue of Stars, and wait for the 8pm Symphony of Lights, which is this pretty cool light show on Victoria Harbour that’s on every night! Unfortunately, though, the Avenue of Stars is closed for renovation until early 2019! So we didn’t get to walk through it, !or did we hear the accompanying music and narration to the light show, which you can apparently hear on the Avenue πŸ˜” So I’ll definitely have to go back. The light show on its own was quite impressive, and perhaps even more so at the moment because they have a lot of lights up specifically for Christmas. Not that you can see that in my photos below. Maybe I’ll bring a better camera next time too 😊

Weird sh*t coming out of my mouth

In complete contrast to yesterday, today I was full of energy. No idea how that happened! I was like the Energizer Bunny today, constantly on the go go go! I wish I was pumped with energy like this every day. Must be how kids feel all the time without needing caffeine πŸ˜‚

Ah caffeine. I think that’s what gave me all my energy! I remember now: I had a large cup of tea from Heeretea, this bubble tea shop here in HK. I wonder how many non-Chinese speaking people actually walk in there, because the guy who served me today looked nervous as hell having to converse with me in English πŸ˜‚ Welcome to my world, dude! You’re probably feeling what I’m feeling whenever I have to pull out my limited Mandarin! 🀣 I ordered in English, and he had to look over at the menu to check that he had entered my order correctly. I probably could’ve said my order in Chinese because I could actually read it for once, but instead “this one” in Mandarin came out of my mouth πŸ˜† It’s so hilarious how the weirdest stuff comes out of my mouth when it comes to Chinese. I don’t have the same problem with Japanese. That language comes much more easily to me in comparison! But I’ve known the basics of that language for a lot longer than Chinese, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

We got our shower curtain shortened at an alteration place, and I picked it up today. The woman gave me a nice plastic bag, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m used to carrying my own shopping bag now, so I didn’t need theirs. Plus I figured they would re-use it much more than I would, so it made more sense for them to keep it. So I returned it to them. But what came out of my mouth as I gave the bag back to her wasn’t quite as eloquent as that, of course: I said “not ours”. That’s it! OMG. I didn’t even construct a full sentence πŸ˜† Although complete sentences aren’t entirely necessary in Chinese conversation, so what I did say was probably ok. In any case, she did give me this bewildered look, which I didn’t quite understand. Was it because she was surprised I could speak Mandarin, even if it was broken? Or was it because I sounded so weird that she was taken aback, not having heard anyone with that weirdo accent before? Or maybe because native Chinese speakers would never actually say what I said? Was it because I greeted her with “hello” in English and then suddenly reverted to Mandarin? Was it because she herself doesn’t understand Mandarin?? Perhaps a combination of all of these things?? πŸ˜† Nonetheless, they did a nice job with the shower curtain, and it now fits perfectly in our bathroom 😊

And then I spent the evening looking at Instagram and Pinterest photos for interior design and storage ideas. They’re good sources for ideas and inspiration, since I am pretty hopeless with that sort of stuff. While I was on social media, N half watched Legion (this looks interesting!) and half slept, as he’s still quite sick πŸ€’ Bizarro world, as normally I’m the one who’s sick and he’s the one running around with all the endless energy! But Legion sounds interesting, I may have to catch up on the first few episodes that he saw tonight!

Not the best start

I felt pretty shite today, I didn’t really do much at all. I felt like I had no energy whatsoever, probably because I didn’t eat much as my stomach is still feeling rather unsettled. N made some beef and vegetable soup for dinner, so I had some heartier food in the evening, which hopefully doesn’t upset my stomach while I’m trying to go to sleep tonight…! 🀞

N has now also caught a cold. Greeeat. Coupled with our upset stomachs the past few days, this hasn’t been the best start to our move to HK… 😞

I have also realised that I have no tracksuits to just wear around the house! All my cold weather gear is for travelling, and since I don’t hang out at the hotel or Airbnb when we’re overseas, I haven’t needed one! So I will need to expand my wardrobe that little bit more again. Sighhh… None of this is working towards my minimalism goal…! Or I can just choose to be cold for the next three months 😏

More HK experiences

Today was supposed to be all about culling and continuing to get the house in order. But we were both so tired this morning that we ended up taking a nap after breakfast πŸ˜† Probably receiving a lack of nutrients due to our upset stomachs these past few days hasn’t helped πŸ˜”

N woke up to a message from one of his karate teachers in HK, asking if we wanted to go somewhere with him for a late lunch. He actually lives nearby, so he popped in to our apartment first to check it out, and then we went to a Chinese restaurant in Sheung Wan called Star of Canton (εˆ©ε―Άι–£) for some pretty decent yum cha. It was around 2:30pm when we got there, so the crowds had already died down by that time and we easily got a table. Apparently it’s pretty insane between 12-2pm, so it’s better if you go during off-peak time, like we did. The only downside though is that their signature dishes might already be sold out by then, so you have to be prepared for that possibility if you go later in the day. Or maybe another alternative is going before the lunchtime rush and rock up for brunch instead 😊

My stomach didn’t agree with yum cha, though, and about half an hour later, I needed to go to the bathroom to get it out of my system πŸ˜” I must’ve caught a bug at some point a few days ago because my stomach is still not quite right… I need to drink more fluids and try to flush out this damn beast from my system πŸ’¦ So I just stuck to my bland dinner of potatoes and tea again for a second day running. Boh-ring 😐

I finally got to play around with our new tv today. There are a ton of tv dramas available, and they are categorised into a number of categories, these were the ones that were of most interest to me:

  • Western
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • Japanese

OMG, there are so many Asian dramas that they have to be categorised by country! 😲 The only problem for me, though, is that the subtitles are all in Chinese! But dramas are such a good way to learn a foreign language, as they use everyday language, with people just generally talking to each other about life, so it’s not like you need a whole ton of “specialist” words to understand them. So if I just watch a little every day, then hopefully my reading and listening will both improve. And then I could even start working on my Japanese too! But listening to Japanese and reading Chinese subtitles is too hard, so I think I’ll only be able to do this when I get to a good enough reading level with my Chinese. Which is aaages away! So I’ll just have to work on my Chinese first 😊 In any case, it’s probably a good thing that there are no English subtitles. Otherwise I may just waste hours upon hours watching these very addictive dramas! πŸ˜‚

I swapped over my winter and summer clothes today – ie basically my entire SG wardrobe has now gone into storage πŸ˜” Boohoo… I miss my endless summers! I haven’t needed to swap seasonal clothes like this since living in Sydney! Melbourne was almost always winter gear, and SG was always summer gear πŸ˜† It seems HK weather is closer to Sydney weather, so I’m going to need to build up my winter wardrobe again. And in particular, shoes! I just don’t have many good shoes for cold weather anymore. So in the meantime, I’ve just been surviving on my cold weather gear for when we go on holidays to somewhere cold, which consists of very little items! So shopping for winter gear may be the next pressing item on my to do list…

Unsettled, and settled

N and I have had pretty unsettled stomachs these past few days, and as per usual, N’s is much worse than mine. It kept him up last night, never letting really get a proper night’s sleep. It was better today, but we tried to eat more bland foods anyway, rather than testing the limits of what our stomachs can handle.

We went grocery shopping and bought potatoes, bread, saltines, tea and apple juice. What a lovely diet for the weekend πŸ˜†

While we were at the supermarket, I remembered a few more things that I’ve noticed recently about grocery shopping in HK:

  • The supermarkets near us do not have self-service registers, so queues can be out the door at peak times. I would have expected the city to be much more efficient and streamlined;
  • They don’t hand out plastic bags automatically, which is a good initiative. And if you do need a bag, they charge you HK$0.50 (S$0.09) for it. It’s not much, but it’s enough of a deterrent for me (and hopefully others) to remember to bring my own bag;
  • They sell ready-to-eat sushi and sashimi in one of the main supermarkets here! 😲 These were only available at Meidiya in SG, so to have them readily available here is pretty damn good πŸ‘
  • There are tons of cute things everywhere, like Gudetama on bandaids!
  • And speaking of kawaii things, there are a lot more Japanese products available here compared to SG, I guess because it is closer to Japan. I wonder if there’s a larger Japanese expat population here too, and hence, more opportunity for me to resume picking up my Japanese…? 😊

We finally got our internet connected at home, woohoo! And internet also means tv! It’s all starting to come together, it’s very exciting πŸ˜„ Every little piece helps to bring the place together, making it feel more and more like home.

We applied for a HK library card today. It’s free, which is what I expected, unlike the ~S$50 fee that I paid in SG. But having said that, the ebook collection in HK is atrocious. Well, at least the English collection is, I can’t comment on the chinese collection, obviously. And that’s pretty much all I borrow! πŸ˜” So despite having paid S$50 in SG, I got to read so many more ebooks and audiobooks there than I think I’ll be able to here, simply because they’re just not available. So I’m feeling rather disappointed with that. I’m hoping that I’m just not searching properly, or accessing the wrong database or something, I’ll have a better look in the next few days… 🀞

A few observations

Here are a few more observations about HK that we’ve noticed:

  • They don’t seem to have public toilets at train stations. I’ve walked around and around a few of the even smaller stations and found nothing. And N suffered worse today πŸ˜‚ At least I could wait until my destination; he had to actually leave the station and find a bathroom elsewhere 😲 So lesson learnt: always go before you leave your current location, as you never know when you’ll find a bathroom out in public!
  • There are very few bins around, so I end up carrying my rubbish around with me, sometimes all the way home!
  • And speaking of rubbish, I don’t actually remember seeing garbage chutes in any of the apartments that we viewed when we were looking for our new place. And in our current place, you just take your rubbish out to this communal bin on the floor, and that gets emptied every day. Seems rather inefficient to me, as someone has to actually clear out all these communal bins in the building. And there are two communal bin areas per floor in our building of 40+ floors! 😲 So I assume this happens in most apartment buildings in HK?? Crazy stuff.
  • We got our TV installed today. There was a difference between the “delivery guy” and the “installation guy”, so we had to wait for two different people coming at two different times to get our TV set up 😐 The delivery guy literally did just that: deliver the TV. And ditto with the installation guy. Interesting that the roles were so specialised!

I’ll continue to add some more things as I spend more time in our new city 😊

We went and had dinner with a friend from SG who is here for a few days. She came here primarily to get a Latin dress designed, but then the designer cancelled on her at the last minute, as he had to fly overseas for something obviously urgent. That’s a bit annoying, as she came here specifically to get her dress sorted. However I’m sure he wouldn’t have cancelled on her if it wasn’t an urgent matter that he had to attend to. Sighhh… But I’m glad we got to catch up with her anyway. And the other people in her class were celebrating their teacher’s birthday tonight, and they actually called her to include her in the celebrations. So we got to say hi to a few familiar faces from our SG studio too, awww πŸ₯°