My trip to Causeway Bay

The city woke up again today, with the start of a new work week. Public transport was up and running, albeit a few train stations still remained closed, as they have been so severely damaged by protesters that they are still undergoing major repairs πŸ˜”

I decided to take the opportunity to go to Causeway Bay today, a major shopping district in HK – and the site of a number of violent clashes in recent weeks. So much so that a lot of large shopping malls and departments stores in the area have remained shut over the long weekend that we just had, to avoid any more damage from all the protests. And/or perhaps it is just more cost effective for them to remain shut, given how few people are out and about at the moment πŸ˜” Either way, I was just happy that they were back open again today.

On my way to Causeway Bay, I sat next to this little boy and his mum on the bus. He was saying to her that he didn’t want to see the protesters because he was scared of them, and that he was scared of both the police and the protesters, because he didn’t want to get hurt. How sad. He was so young, maybe around 5 years old, and he already knows what protesters are πŸ˜” His mum reassured him that he will be ok if he is a good boy, but still, his comments actually brought tears to my eyes. This city is this little boy’s city, and for many other millions like him, it’s their home, and their fellow citizens are driving it to the ground. Heck, it’s our home at the moment now too. It’s such a sad state of affairs.

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Protesters on HK Island today

The protesters headed to HK Island today, and managed to shut down Central and Wan Chai MTR stations πŸ˜” For some reason, I didn’t think they’d ever be able to shut down Central. It’s one of the largest stations on the network, if not the largest, so I didn’t think it would be possible. Apparently I was proven wrong today πŸ˜”

They were at Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay (CWB) causing havoc, with police having to cordon off certain exits at CWB MTR. CWB is a major shopping district, but a lot of the stores were closed tonight because of the protests. Business is also being impacted πŸ˜” I’m glad we decided not to do anything today, otherwise we might also have gotten caught up in all of this. We have noticed how much quieter HK seems to be these days. I guess other people must feel the same way as us πŸ˜”

And of course they continued over on the Kowloon side as well, with more clashes happening at Mong Kok and Prince Edward today, as well as Whampoa. Sighhh… I don’t think this is going to end well for HK…

Looking forward to β€œnormal”

It was their last day in HK today, so we just took it easy. We went to Din Tai Fung in Causeway Bay for lunch, and then bought some Tiger Sugar and a mooncake for them to try. We somehow managed to contain Nephew, and he didn’t have a meltdown today, amazingly. He took quite a long nap when we got home, which gave his parents the chance to pack and even some time to just chillax, which was great for them.

And once they were in the taxi, I took the opportunity to head down to the supermarket and buy some wine and cheese to celebrate having peace and quiet in the house again πŸ·πŸ§€ I sorta got to see why parents would want a drink at the end of each day! πŸ˜‚

Kitty was rather stressed the entire time they were staying with us. She doesn’t like having other people in the house – in her house – so she pretty much just stayed in our bedroom for the past few days. And even when she ventured out to get some food, she didn’t really eat much. So I decided to move her food into the bathroom today, which seemed to help tremendously: she ate both her breakfast and lunch in there! And now that she has her house back to herself again, she seems a bit more relaxed and more her usual self, which is good to see πŸ˜…

And then N also flew back from Japan today. It’s nice to change things up every now and then, as you can then look forward to “normal” once again πŸ₯°

Touristy stuff in Kowloon

Nephew didn’t get much sleep last night, so his parents and I were a bit nervous about how he would be today, particularly in the current heat. And sure enough, he started losing it on the train to ICC, on our way to Sky100. He took a nap for about half an hour while we were up there, and that helped his mood a bit, thankfully. What didn’t help my mood, though, was the haze! You could barely see anything up there! It was such a shame πŸ˜”

The haze got progressively worse as the afternoon wore on πŸ˜”

They had a cafe up there, though, and we decided to have a light lunch there instead of going somewhere separately. The tables around us had ordered high tea, and I was curious as to how I could get in on some of that action, as 1) all the tables having high tea had been reserved; and 2) there was no high tea option on their menu. So I just googled it: apparently it is an online offer that they have, so that’s why it’s not on their menu there. Fair enough. So if I’m in the mood for some high tea-ing all the way up ICC one day, I shall remember this place 😊 And to do so before 2 Jan 2020 when the offer expires!

We then caught a cab to Kowloon Walled City Park, where I pulled out some more Mandarin to speak to the cab driver. I had been practising how to say “Walled”, as I can say the rest in Chinese. But the whole place name is still pretty damn long, so I was getting a bit concerned that he won’t understand my dodgy accent, as the taxi drivers in HK aren’t renowned for being very friendly. So I had its Chinese name written down just in case he gives me this puzzled/annoyed look. So in the end, I ended up saying “We would like to go to this place” and showed him the Chinese name. So I still got some speaking practice in, but I didn’t over exert myself by saying the full Chinese name of the park πŸ˜‚ The cab driver seemed to understand what I was saying, but he never said anything in reply. So maybe he can understand a little Mandarin, but he’s not able to speak it, which is also fair enough. Or maybe he just didn’t understand a word I said, and he was just guessing what I was trying to say the entire time πŸ€ͺ In any case, we got to our destination, and I got the correct change, so all was well in my Chinese speaking world πŸ˜‚

We spent a bit of time at the park, but everyone was pretty tired by now, and so tensions were a bit high by this time in the afternoon. We decided to catch a bus back home, which ended up being a fantastic decision, as it was one of the double decker buses and everyone enjoyed sitting right up the front on the upper deck. The bus was virtually empty – at least upstairs it was – so I didn’t feel too bad making a ton of noise up there! πŸ˜†

But everyone was still tired, including the little one, so tensions were still high until finally he went to sleep, and his parents could once again relax 😌

It’s their last day in HK tomorrow, so I’m thinking maybe we can just head over to Causeway Bay for yum cha, hang out there for a while, and then casually head back home so that they can get ready to leave for the airport. Not much stress, and they can also give themselves plenty of time to navigate their way through the airport, which can be a stressful ordeal at the best of tines, especially when travelling with a toddler!

Learning Japanese in a Chinese speaking city

I decided to go to Causeway Bay for brunch today. I wanted to go to this particular cafe as they apparently serve scones, and I like scones πŸ˜‹ But can you believe it, they open at 12pm! This city is sooo not for morning people πŸ˜‚ I got there earlier than I expected to, and so I just wandered around the mall that the cafe was in. A few of the stalls in the mall weren’t open either, so I guess most places in this mall don’t open until later in the afternoon. I hung around until 12:30pm before I left, that was the longest time my patience could handle waiting. Such a shame that I didn’t get to try the cafe – and I didn’t get to have scones! Boo πŸ˜’

After I found a substitute place for lunch, I decided to head over to Eslite, one of the bookstores here in HK. They have Japanese language textbooks – written for native Chinese speakers. So all the explanations are in Chinese 😲 I was sooo tempted to buy one, but looking through the textbooks, they’re actually at quite a basic level, so if anything, I wouldn’t be learning much Japanese, and if anything, more likely to be improving my Chinese, since all the explanations in the books are in Chinese! πŸ˜‚ But having said that, what I do like about the textbooks though, is that they have no English whatsoever! I will effectively be forced to think in my two target languages, even if the sentences are at quite a basic level. But that’s not a bad thing! I can see how sentences are said in both languages. Hmmm… Maybe buying one of these books may not be a bad idea after all…! πŸ˜†

A page in one of the textbooks I was flicking through at the bookstore πŸ˜†

So when I got back home, I spent some time going through my actual Japanese textbook – a textbook written for English speakers πŸ˜† None of the grammar is new to me, so I’m really just refreshing my memory of what I had learnt – omg – a quarter of a century ago 🀣 I still can’t believe how much of it I have actually retained after all these years. Now I’m just going through and trying to internalise the harder and longer sentences, and learning more vocab of course, continuing to refine my Japanese that little bit more.

And then I just spent the rest of the evening continuing to watch Masterchef Australia. I’m up to the top ten! So I’ve caught up on a ton of episodes! πŸ˜† Once I’ve caught up, my tv habits can go back to normal and I can resume watching my Asian dramas πŸ˜‚ But for now, it’s all about binge watching Masterchef 😳

This city is foodie heaven

If you’ve been reading my blog the past few days, you’ll know that I’ve been watching Masterchef Australia like a madman πŸ€ͺ OK maybe not that crazy, but I have been watching quite a lot of it. So I’ve been tempted to eat a variety of cuisines, and so I’ve been trying a few different restaurants the past few days 😊

Someone cooked a spaghetti alle vongole and so I wanted to go for Italian. So I went searching for an Italian restaurant in the two districts that I tend to go to for food: Central and Causeway Bay. These are the results that I got:

How insane is that?!? How can there be that many Italian restaurants in just these two districts?? And in Asia! And if you don’t know HK, just to give you an idea of the distances we’re talking about here, these are the distances between the circled places on each of the above pics:

Sheung Wan to Central Station in the first pic is 850m. Less than 1km!

Causeway Bay to Cookies Quartet in the second pic is less than 500m 😲

So hopefully that gives you an idea of how dense this city is – and just how many restaurants there are here! It is insane! It still makes me wonder how all these places stay in business when there are so many other competing restaurants. And these are just the Italian ones. Can you imagine just how many Chinese restaurants would come up?!? 😱 Actually, let’s do that, just for fun 😊

It turns out that “Chinese” is too broad a category! There must be so many that they had to split them up into various categories. You actually have to specify what type of Chinese food you want – eg: Sichuan; dim sum (ie yum cha); Shanghai; HK-style; Guangdong; hot pot etc etc 😲 This city is sooo gooood for foodies, especially those who like their Chinese food!

All about friends

It was all about friends today. We caught up with some old friends back from our uni days who have been living in HK for the past sixteen years. We went and had yum cha (what else, man, it’s HK πŸ˜†) in Causeway Bay and then afterwards we just wandered around a bit and did some shopping.

We then went back home and I just watched a few more episode of The Heirs, my current Korean drama, before heading out again and having dinner and drinks with one of N’s workmates. It was supposed to be with him and his wife, but she got stuck with the parental duties, so she ended up having to go home to attend to the kids. It was quite fun anyhow, but still, hopefully next time it’ll be all four of us. Both him and his wife are also from Sydney, so it was good to just speak normally and be completely understood and not feel like a bogan, like I usually do πŸ˜†

It was a good day 😊