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 😊

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New experiences

I went to Muji and Uniqlo today, the former to get some more storage ideas, and the latter to get some additional cold weather gear. People have said that it doesn’t get much colder than what it currently is at the moment (around 15Β°C / 59Β°F), so maybe I just need to buy one or two cardigans or jumpers, and I think I’ll be right. It’s not very windy here, surprisingly, so you don’t need a coat or jacket to protect you against any potentially biting winds, which is what killed me/us in Melbourne. So I think I’ll be able to survive the HK winter! πŸ‘

N’s brother flew in to HK this afternoon, so we went and had dinner with him and his mate. His mate now lives in HK too, but they used to be flatmates back in Sydney for over eight years, and they still remain quite tight, which is pretty cool.

Oh and we got a little Christmas tree! It’s 30cm and looks really cute sitting on our dining table, and it’s REAL! Our first real Christmas tree! It’s also our first Christmas that we’re celebrating in winter. I am so excited πŸ˜† New experiences this year for Christmas πŸŽ„

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 😊

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…

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₯°

Excited!

Our furniture arrived today!! They arrived at around 10:15am, and pretty much as soon as they got there, the guy handed me a checklist and asked me to tick off each box as he brings them in, to make sure that we receive all 59 boxes. I still can’t believe we have that much crap 😳 But anyway, moving right along… πŸ˜‚

They were concerned that the bedframe wouldn’t fit into the lift in the building. And when they tried to put it in, it actually didn’t fit. So they had to get N to come down and give them the go ahead to take it out of the box and try to fit it in to the lift just on its own. And can you believe it: it actually just fit, with literally one inch to spare 😲 How insane is that! If it wouldn’t fit, they would’ve had to carry it up the stairs, and we were told that lovely service would cost around HK$200 (S$35) per floor. And we’re on a pretty high floor, so if it didn’t fit in the lift, it would’ve cost over HK$5,000 – or almost S$1,000 – to carry it up 😲

Our mattress is apparently slightly larger – and thicker – than the bedframe, but at least it’s more flexible, so they could actually squeeze it into the lift πŸ˜… Gosh, that would’ve been even more painful to carry up the stairs! So if we had to get them to carry up both the mattress and the bedframe via the stairs, it would’ve cost almost S$2,000 for the privilege. O-M-G. Sooo lucky we got both pieces up! πŸ™

So all our stuff is in HK now! πŸ‘ Despite having 59 boxes, it actually doesn’t look like too much stuff, once everything is out of the boxes. Plus we still have to cull a bit, as we didn’t really finish that in SG. We also have to sort out where everything goes in the new apartment, and put things in their rightful place – or at least, in the correct room, to start off with. And then after the sorting and culling, we can figure out what storage units we’ll need. But despite all this stuff that we need to do, it’s just sooo nice to have all our stuff in the apartment! It feels more like home now, and as a result, both of us are much more excited about this move πŸ‘ Even Kitty seems to feel more at home too, which is great.

And then tonight, we went out for dinner with a few of N’s workmates. That was fun, and it was good to meet a few new people in this city too. One of the guys likes to go hiking, which is perfect, as we were thinking of doing more hiking here, as apparently HK has a few good trails. So we may have a new hiking buddy! 😊

So overall, I think today, more than any other day so far, we were both excited about this move to HK. Here’s to new adventures in this city! πŸ₯‚

Still trying to settle in

I went back to IKEA again today. Gosh, how long will it take us to decide on a work desk and chair?!? πŸ˜‚ It’s not just the colour now, but also the depth of the desk. Because rooms in HK are tiny as, if I get too big a desk, then it may just:

1) Overpower the room and look like it’s too big in the small space that we have for it; and

2) We won’t have much space to put anything else in there! πŸ˜’

But at the same time, I want to be comfortable working on the desk, I don’t want to feel too cramped working on something that is too narrow πŸ˜” So I think I just have to get over the fact that the desk may overpower the room, and I just have to learn to deal with it. Welcome to HK! πŸ˜‚

I spent the afternoon with Kitty again, much like I have been every single day since she arrived in HK. I had to leave to go meet a friend for dinner, but every time I got up from our little spot on the floor, she’d get up too and follow me to wherever I was in the apartment. Poor little one πŸ˜” She’s going to be all stressed out again tomorrow too when the removalists come. But hopefully after that, things will start to feel like normal again, and she can return to her usual grumpy, aloof self. As much as I like her being all sooky and wanting my attention, it also makes me feel bad every time I leave the apartment and leaving her there all by herself. At least when she’s her usual self, I know that she’s ok to be by herself in the house when we’re not there. But she’s not quite there yet, unfortunately πŸ˜”

We went and had dinner with a friend from Melbourne, who’s in HK today just for a stopover. She’s on a girls’ trip, and three of her five friends that were on the trip with her came along for dinner as well. They’re all very friendly and chatty, so that made it really easy for a quiet person like me! I just let them take turns talking and telling stories the entire evening, which was great πŸ˜†

I have to get up early tomorrow to get to our apartment by 9am. Gas people are coming sometime between 9am-5pm to check the gas meter, isn’t that a lovely window. The whole freaking day πŸ˜’ But the removalists are coming around 10am, so I want to mop the floors before they get there anyway, just so that the place is clean when they lay the furniture, as no doubt the floors underneath the furniture won’t be touched again for at least another 1-2 years while we are still leasing the apartment! πŸ˜‚