Books, travel and the rona

I finished reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None today. I first read this book as a kid, so this was the first time I read it as an adult. I’m surprised I even understood it as a kid 😮 Don’t underestimate children’s intelligence! Anyway, I remembered enjoying this book as a kid, so I thought I’d see if I’d enjoy it again as an adult. And I did! I guess because Agatha Christie isn’t really known for writing children’s books. Again, I’m surprised that I even read this book as a kid!

So the next book that I want to read is Murder on the Orient Express. I’ve never read that one, so I have no expectations – other than the fact that I enjoyed her previous book, so, in a way, I’m hoping that this one will be just as good! 😆🤞

It’s the last week of November, can you believe that?! Where did 2020 go?? Well, the rona sorta screwed it pretty bad 😒

I’ve been wanting to travel so badly, but I know it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Apparently the chief exec of HK, Carrie Lam, went to Beijing to see if we can have a travel bubble between mainland China and HK. Apparently she came back empty-handed and they effectively told to get her city’s act together first before they will even consider such a deal 😔 And then the HK-SG travel bubble has been delayed because of the increasing number of cases here. We had 81 cases today. That’s pretty much a whole week with cases in the high double digits. Dang. So I’m guessing these travel bubbles ain’t happening anytime soon. Sighhh…

So it’s making me not really want to go out again. We have this dinner thing on Saturday that we have already committed to, but if I had a choice, I wouldn’t go. It’s a large gathering, and large gatherings freak me out a bit these days. In fact, I’m tempted to forego the money that we’ve already paid so that I’m not exposing myself unnecessarily in this current environment.

Travel

I went to Kowloon Walled City Park today and filmed what will hopefully be my next vlog. It was overcast today, and I did feel a few raindrops every now and then, so that might have kept people away from the park. I like parks in general, though, and I had the time to read a bit more about Kowloon Walled City today in the little information building in the park.

The SG-HK travel bubble has been postponed for two weeks because cases have suddenly increased here in the past two days 😔 We were thinking of taking advantage of that bubble, but the price and all the rigmarole that you have to go through is putting me off. It’s still not as simple as what the marketers would have you believe. It’s still not quite like how it was travelling in the pre-COVID era 😑

So instead, I’m thinking of doing a staycation over Christmas and/or New Year’s. So I’ve started having a look at a few different hotels. A lot of places have staycation deals, so I’m going to see which hotel has the best deal for us 😊 I never really wanted to do a staycation when Kitty was still here, because I always felt bad for leaving her at home. But now she’s letting us go. I would still much rather have her back with us, though 😢

New things to come in the next few months, perhaps?

It was one of those good days where everything went well. These days are nice 🥰 And despite not getting enough sleep last night, I still managed to have a very productive day 👍

And this new Apple Watch is definitely making me move more. I love tracking my stats, so this watch is perfect for me. I already track a bajillion things in my bulletin journal, now my watch helps me track my health and fitness 👍 So I’m drinking more water; I’m dancing more; doing other health and fitness things (yoga, push-ups, squats, meditation etc) and I’m getting up and just moving more in general. It’s great! ☺️ I’ve only had it for a few days, so I’m sure it’s just going to continue to change my daily habits for the better 👍

There has been rumours going around that SG and HK will set up a travel bubble from November, meaning that we could go and visit SG without having to go through quarantine. Woohoo! That is sooo exciting 😁 So now I’m trying to decide which hotel I’d like to stay at. I’ve never actually stayed in a hotel in SG, so I wonder where I’d like to stay…

We haven’t really been able to travel in recent years because of Little Miss, but now she has allowed us to travel again. It’s like she timed it: she was able to spend more time with us this year because we were home much more, thanks to the rona; and now, travel looks like it may resume for us.

But if I had a choice, I would still want her back with us 😢

Video, lunch, gratitude, video

We had a video chat with friends from Melbourne today. The restrictions there are strict. I feel so sorry for them and for Melbourne / Victoria in general 😔 I can understand that they don’t want a repeat of what happened back in July when they were seeing literally hundreds of new cases every day, but they’re now back down to single digits, so I would’ve thought more easing of restrictions would’ve been allowed. Apparently the Victorian government doesn’t see it the same way 😔 It was good to see them, though. Video chat is the best we can do during these crazy times.

We then went to Sheung Wan for lunch. N felt like laksa, so we went to this Singaporean place that we’d never been to before. It was a good choice 👍 There are sooo many food choices here in HK. I’m always amazed as to how so many can stay in business. But many do, so they must get the customers!

The restaurant made me miss SG. If I had the choice, I would definitely move back to SG in a heartbeat. I loved that city 🥰 HK, not so much 😆 But still, I’m going to make the most of our time here. I still see this opportunity to live here as a privilege that not everyone gets to experience 🙏

N then went to the gym in the evening and I filmed my next YouTube video. I would’ve liked to have filmed two videos tonight, actually, but it took so long just to film just the first one that I was too tired to film a second one! 😔 Yeah, that two videos a week idea ain’t happening 🤪

Poor customer service

I ran a few errands today, and one of them was to go and visit an HSBC branch. I am almost never impressed with customer service anywhere in HK, and today was the worst I have ever received. I usually brush it off, complain to N briefly to vent, and then just go on with my life. I don’t like continuing to give out negative energy into the world 😔 (although I will be doing exactly that in today’s post! 😂)

But today, customer service was sooo bad that I actually want to write in and make a formal complaint 😡 I haven’t written the complaint yet, but I’d like to do it this weekend, otherwise I’m never going to do it. And then I’ll start forgetting all the details as well.

I know it’s important to do so, so the bank can actually improve their customer service offering to new and returning customers. Assuming that someone will actually take these complaints on board and work on improving their processes.

But given that I will be writing my complaint in English, there is the added risk that my complaint will fall on deaf ears 😔 Because despite English being an official language here, the actual level of English is quite poor. I was expecting the standard of English to be the same as that in SG, given that both cities are financial hubs in Asia, with large English-speaking expat populations. But it is far from it. English is the language that brings everyone together in SG; here, it is Cantonese’s poor cousin.

Still going strong

Kitty’s just not letting me have a good night’s sleep 😔 I should just let you know when I do have a good sleep, because they occur much less often these days!

Today she wanted more food – at 3:15am. Because what better time is there to eat than smack bang in the middle of the night?!?? 🙄 She had licked her bowl clean, so I had no choice but to give her some more food. Luckily I could get back to sleep today, though, unlike yesterday’s tossing and turning.

Anyway, have I told you about how I reframe these disruptions? I am just grateful that she is still alive to wake me up in the middle of the night 🙏 I still remember the vet three years ago now, when we were living in SG, emailing me while we were overseas, saying that our pet sitter had brought her in, and that she was weak and wasn’t eating. Her condition was pretty serious and potentially life-threatening, he said. We were in Sydney at the time, and I still remember being really upset that I might not see her alive again 😢

We went to see her as soon as we could once we got back to SG, and miraculously, she perked up as soon as she saw us, and even the vet was surprised. He really didn’t think she had much left in her.

And here she still is. I am still grateful every single day that she’s still going strong. She’s almost 90 years old in human years, and she can still attack me, so that’s pretty impressive! 😄

I’m going to go and give her a big hug now – while also being careful not to be scratched yet again! 😆🤗

Pure luck

I wasn’t feeling all that great today, so I took a bit of a nap this afternoon. Not sure why I was feeling ill. Lack of sleep? The heat? Lack of food? All of the above? But I felt better in the early evening, thankfully.

I was struggling a bit mentally, though. The Bondi Rescue episode that I watched today had a man who ended up a quadriplegic after an accident in the surf 😞 And he was a dancer too, so he was even more in tune with his body than most people. He was supposed to be performing that evening too, but he decided to go to the beach during the day because the weather was so nice that day. I thought that was a really sad story.

And one of my younger students was testing my patience today too. She bosses their helper around, and today, for whatever reason, the helper didn’t come to attend to her. So then she ended up sulking for the rest of her lesson.

This whole live-in help business is very foreign to me, but it’s very common here in Asia. Anyway, I wasn’t impressed that she started to sulk simply because the helper didn’t come to help her tie her hair up. The helper has other things to do than attend to her every whim, and I didn’t like that she was growing up in a household where she felt like she was entitled to get whatever she wanted as soon as she asked for it 😒 So I told her that she’s a big girl now and that she should be able to tie her hair up herself if she needed to, but she just continued to sulk anyway.

So it got me thinking that this may just be a common occurrence here (in Asia), and I find that really sad. Because the only difference between her and her helper is luck. Pure fking luck. Sorry for my language, but I just feel so strongly about this. How can you possibly boss someone else around like that – at five years old, at that – and just expect everything to be handed to you on a silver platter??

Coning from a western country, I am not used to this (and probably never will be), and this is one thing that I struggle with in Asia. I think a lot of other (western) expats feel the same way. Sure there are those who are more well off in Oz, but by and large, it’s a very egalitarian society. The wealth divide is nowhere near as pronounced as it is here in Asia. And like I said, it is pure luck which side of the tracks you grew up on, so you should be thankful if you did grow up on the ‘greener’ side, and I believe that you should help those on the other side as much as you can. Well for me, anyway, that’s one of my values in life.

Reaching out

I wasn’t feeling all that great today. Mentally, that is. Physically I was fine. I just wasn’t in the right headspace today 😔

I went to Causeway Bay for lunch. I went to one of my favourite cafes, which didn’t disappoint. I have to say that HK does good lunch sets 👍

I actually wanted to go to Muji, but didn’t have much time today as I still had to go to the vet to pick up more meds for Little Miss. We asked for more of the appetite stimulant because she’s been eating so well when we give her this medicine. But the vet said that we shouldn’t give it to her long-term, we should only give it to her if she doesn’t eat on her own. Awww… But she’s eating so well with it!

And then I reached out to a high school friend who has just recently moved to HK! She also lived in SG for a few years, actually. But HK is a totally different kettle of fish, despite both being usually lumped together as financial hubs in Asia. So I’d like to give her a bit of advice from a fellow expat who is still relatively new to the city!

The Peak (again!)

We woke up to rain 🌧 So our idea of heading up to The Peak didn’t look like a good idea anymore 😔 I’ve been up there when the weather hasn’t been great, and the view of Victoria Harbour is also just as blah, so I wouldn’t want to repeat that mediocre experience. Sighhh…

But wouldn’t you know it, after about half an hour, the weather actually cleared up! Wth! Not that I’m complaining, hehehe 🤭 And it stayed nice and sunny for the rest of the day. So by the time evening rolled around, we were back on our original idea 👍

Because no one is travelling at the moment, The Peak basically had no tourists. And the current restriction of takeaway only at restaurants after 6pm seemed to have extended to ‘closing’ at 6pm for almost all the shops up at The Peak. So by the time we got there at around 8pm, hardly anything was open 😔 There were others around, but it wasn’t anywhere near as vibrant and buzzing as it usually is, especially in the middle of summer. It’s all quite sad, really.

But with or without the rona, the view never disappoints. In a way, The Peak is now my new Gardens By The Bay. It doesn’t quite bring me the same level of happiness and joy as Gardens, but I think it’s the closest that I will get in HK.

View of Victoria Harbour from The Peak

Vlogs

I couldn’t have asked for a more productive day today. I have no idea where all the productivity came from, but I ain’t complaining! 😆 And it’s a Monday, so I’m even happier! 👍

Oh I don’t think I told you: the birthday girl liked the video that I put together for her of her birthday brunch last Saturday! I forgot to add the date and place somewhere in the video, though, that was a bit disappointing. But it was the first ever video I’d ever put together for someone else, so I’m just happy that I got to even do that 😊

I should definitely try and do more vlogs while we’re living here in HK. They’re so much fun to do ☺️ Plus they’ll be a really good way to remember our time here. And like SG, we don’t know how long we’ll have the privilege of living here, so I’m going to try and make the most of it 😆

So maybe I can start tomorrow 😊