The hunt for my Australia Day pav

I ticked off sooo many things on my to-do list today ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I am now so freaking exhausted as a result! ๐Ÿ˜…

Firstly, I did some research, wrote the script AND filmed my next YouTube video – all in the one day. Normally I space all of this out, but I managed to do them all today. Total amazeballs. Now I just have to do the editing tomorrow, the step that always takes the longest time for me.

I also walked heaps today: according to my watch, I took 16,500 steps and walked 10.5km. OMG. And then once I got home, I did my stretches again: today was Day 14 of my 30-day splits challenge.

It’s Australia Day today (Happy Australia Day! ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฆ˜) and I decided to revive the tradition that I started when we first moved to Asia: have a pavlova on Australia Day every year. That was fine in SG, it was relatively ok finding a pav there. Here, however, it was hard work! I went to all the possible places that I could think of that could possibly sell pavs, but each time I went there, I left disappointed. I was ready to go home when I decided to try one more thing: the Deliveroo app. I put in ‘pavlova’ in the search field, and lo and behold, one search result came up! And it was only like 200 metres away from me. Despite being so mega-tired by this point, I figured I should walk over there and just order it! I’m so glad I did. I had revived my Australia Day tradition โ˜บ๏ธ

I also filmed my hunt for my Australia Day pav, so I should have enough footage to make a blog out of my expedition today ๐Ÿ˜†

And as a result of all my hunting today, I discovered what could potentially be my favourite supermarket in HK so far: Great Food Hall at Admiralty ๐Ÿ˜† Yes, I was wowed by a supermarket ๐Ÿ˜‚ But it was seriously good! There was another supermarket out near the airport that was pretty impressive too, but that’s out in woop woop (it’s near the airport – enough said! ๐Ÿ˜†). Admiralty is way closer to home. So I think I’ll have to go visit it again soon!

Needless to say, it was a wonderful Australia Day โ˜บ๏ธ

Fleeting

We went to a friendโ€™s place today for his birthday. I ate so much, Iโ€™m so fulllll ๐Ÿ˜‹

I filmed quite a fair bit during the evening, so I hope I can turn it into a commemorative birthday video for him. Theyโ€™re going back to Oz at the end of the year after a 15+-year stint in HK ๐Ÿ˜ฑ So this will be his last birthday here. I hope I can make something half-decent for him! ๐Ÿคž

Itโ€™ll be sad when they go. I really like them. I mentioned in a previous post some friends from Oz who moved to SG when we were there. And then they moved back to Oz and we moved to HK. I still remember when they told us they were moving back. Now Iโ€™m feeling the same way again ๐Ÿ˜”

But like Iโ€™ve also mentioned before, itโ€™s the nature of expat life. Itโ€™s fleeting. Friends come and go all the time. You come and go yourself. If living overseas has taught me one thing, itโ€™s to appreciate the present and what you have now. Because you never know how long it will last.

Cycling in HK!

We went on another outdoor adventure today: we went cycling for the first time in HK! ๐Ÿ˜Š We went out to Tai Po, hired bikes, and cycled to Tai Mei Tuk! The whole ride was around 11-12km, and it probably took us around 1hr 15mins to cycle there on our crappy, rickety share bikes ๐Ÿ˜‚ We took it leisurely, we took breaks, and we also got lost. And there were a ton of other people who had the same idea as us today! So there was a fair bit of traffic on the cycling track on the way to Tai Mei Tuk.

Once we got to Tai Mei Tuk, we didn’t really do much. We just cycled along the Tai Mei Tuk family trail, along the lonnnng walkway that divided the Plover Cove reservoir from Plover Cove / Tolo Harbour, and then cycled back again to Tai Po! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I would’ve liked to have stayed and looked around the Tai Po Waterfront Park, but it was pretty dark (and cold!) by the time we got back, so hopefully we can come back another day.

Our return leg from Fai Mei Tuk to Tai Po Waterfront Park.

There was very little padding on the seat of my share bike, plus I don’t have much padding on my own a$$, so now my a$$ muscles are very sore! They feel bruised! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Maybe I sit on a jumper next time, right from the get go ๐Ÿ˜†

But overall, it was a fun ride. Cycling tracks don’t really exist in the areas where we usually frequent, so it was nice to see them today. And share bikes too. I was used to seeing share bikes everywhere in SG, but now I don’t see them at all. In fact, I didn’t even think they existed here. But apparently they’re reserved for the areas where there is actually space in HK – i.e. the outlying areas! So we’ll have to try and get out to these places more often. But obviously during the cooler months. N can’t handle being outdoors during the warmer months! ๐Ÿ˜†

Life as an expat

I had one of those relatively productive days. Although Thursdays are pretty busy days for me, it’s probably my busiest day. So having a productive day on a Thursday is sorta a default for me anyway, so I shouldn’t take the credit for it ๐Ÿคฃ

N went into the office today because he wanted to get some work done there. The work connection from home is a bit slow, and he only has one monitor at home, whereas he has two in the office. Plus with the current policy encouraging everyone to work from home while the virus is going berserk in the city, it’s also really quiet in the office. So he gets that as a bonus too.

He came back home with another colleague, one of our good friends here. He and his wife are fellow Aussies, and we all get along really well. But he just told us today that they’ll probably be moving back at the end of next year ๐Ÿ˜” This reminds me of that time when friends of ours moved back to Oz when we were all living in SG. That was quite a sad time too.

But that’s life as an expat. It’s part and parcel of being an expat. It just comes with the territory. There are a ton of expats in both cities (SG and HK), and people move in and out of the two cities all the time. It’s a very transient lifestyle, and it certainly doesn’t suit everyone. It can be quite lonely, and you never really spend that much time in any one city yourself. And with friends coming and going, it’s hard to make lasting friendships.

I remember reading an article when we first embarked on this expat journey, and I usually read it about once a year. It’s been a while since I last read it, so I’m well overdue for another read. But because it’s been so long since I last read it, I don’t know if I can find it again! ๐Ÿ˜” It’s one of the only articles that has really resonated with me, so I hope I can find it again and share it with you here too.

Oh phew, I found it ๐Ÿ˜… Here it is: https://www.elitedaily.com/life/culture/what-to-know-moving-abroad/1075004. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜„

On the promenade

N and I took the day off, and it ended up feeling like a Saturday, which was nice ๐Ÿ˜Š

We went to Kennedy Town for lunch today, and then just hung out for a few hours at the newly opened promenade there. It’s quite nice and relaxing there, even though it was all concrete and there wasn’t much grass there at all. They had a few wooden slats there for people to sit on, some with fake grass to make it a little bit more comfortable to sit on. They had a few deckchairs scattered all over, and the odd pouf as well! And they had a few stuffed toys around too, which made it quite cute and social media friendly ๐Ÿ˜œ Oh, and a pet garden at the end of the promenade where dogs could run around unleashed and chase each other around. It was really nice – and something that wouldn’t work in Oz ๐Ÿ˜’ By day three, the deckchairs and poufs would probably all be stolen or thrown into the harbour; the wooden slats broken; and the toys either stolen or shredded. That’s definitely one thing I like about HK and SG: people have some respect with public property and actually allow others to enjoy it too.

Belcher Bay Promenade

We then just went home and watched more episodes of Timeless. I also watched a few episodes of Gossip Girl while N was mindlessly scrolling through social media, so he sorta knows what’s happening on that show too ๐Ÿ˜†

It was a relaxing day off. It’s nice to have these sorts of days every once in a while ๐Ÿ˜Š

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ 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! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿคž

It’s the last week of November, can you believe that?! Where did 2020 go?? Well, the rona sorta screwed it pretty bad ๐Ÿ˜’

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 ๐Ÿ˜” 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 ๐Ÿ˜” 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 ๐Ÿ˜‘

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 Iโ€™m going to see which hotel has the best deal for us ๐Ÿ˜Š 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 sheโ€™s letting us go. I would still much rather have her back with us, though ๐Ÿ˜ข

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 ๐Ÿฅฐ And despite not getting enough sleep last night, I still managed to have a very productive day ๐Ÿ‘

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 ๐Ÿ‘ So Iโ€™m drinking more water; Iโ€™m dancing more; doing other health and fitness things (yoga, push-ups, squats, meditation etc) and Iโ€™m getting up and just moving more in general. Itโ€™s great! โ˜บ๏ธ Iโ€™ve only had it for a few days, so Iโ€™m sure itโ€™s just going to continue to change my daily habits for the better ๐Ÿ‘

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 ๐Ÿ˜ So now Iโ€™m trying to decide which hotel Iโ€™d like to stay at. Iโ€™ve never actually stayed in a hotel in SG, so I wonder where Iโ€™d like to stay…

We havenโ€™t really been able to travel in recent years because of Little Miss, but now she has allowed us to travel again. Itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜ข

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 ๐Ÿ˜” I can understand that they donโ€™t want a repeat of what happened back in July when they were seeing literally hundreds of new cases every day, but theyโ€™re now back down to single digits, so I wouldโ€™ve thought more easing of restrictions wouldโ€™ve been allowed. Apparently the Victorian government doesnโ€™t see it the same way ๐Ÿ˜” 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 weโ€™d never been to before. It was a good choice ๐Ÿ‘ There are sooo many food choices here in HK. Iโ€™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 ๐Ÿฅฐ HK, not so much ๐Ÿ˜† But still, Iโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™

N then went to the gym in the evening and I filmed my next YouTube video. I wouldโ€™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! ๐Ÿ˜” Yeah, that two videos a week idea ainโ€™t happening ๐Ÿคช

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 donโ€™t like continuing to give out negative energy into the world ๐Ÿ˜” (although I will be doing exactly that in todayโ€™s post! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

But today, customer service was sooo bad that I actually want to write in and make a formal complaint ๐Ÿ˜ก I havenโ€™t written the complaint yet, but Iโ€™d like to do it this weekend, otherwise Iโ€™m never going to do it. And then Iโ€™ll start forgetting all the details as well.

I know itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜” 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 Cantoneseโ€™s poor cousin.